The suit of cups in the minor arcana is all about our receptive emotional selves and what is more emotional than music? To paraphrase Dumbledore, it is a magic beyond all that we do here. We’ve all heard a song and felt a deep knowing, a solid connection, an ineffable desire to dance. From sound baths to dirty pop songs, music is an undeniable source of magick.
The minor arcana makes up the majority of the tarot, a total of 56 cards. There are 4 different suits; Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Each of the four suits has it’s own qualities, characteristics, and lessons to teach. The Cups suit is associated with the element water, a receptive and emotional element. These cards teach us about love, heartbreak, and the difficult process of letting go which ultimatly leads you to true happiness.
Let’s end the preamble and get right to it, shall we?
This card is about divine, unconditional love that comes from spirituality. This is the love we feel when we are connected to a deeper rhythm of the world. This is when we remember that we are part of the web, not an insect caught in it. I think the perfect song to summaize this feeling is the Steve Winwood classic Higher Love. This cheesey 80’s pop bop makes me wanna throw my hands up in the air, and really, isn’t that what the Ac of Cups should make you want to do? The type of love he sings about, and that is outlined in this card, is a love free of conditions; it comes from a place of deep connection and freedom.
This card is all about that deep and pure friend love. You know that type of friend where you can unzip your skin and be your true reptilian alien self? Yeah that’s what the Two of Cups is all about. I thought about songs for this card for awhile and I just don’t think anything hits the nail on the head harder than the Randy Newman classic You’ve Got a Friend in Me. I mean, in it we are getting nostalgic childhood feels as well as best friend feels. These kinds of friends can come at any stage in life, but they always make you feel like a kid, like remembering that it felt like when you weren’t afraid to completely be yourself.
This is a card about celebration and socialization. This is the card that symbolizes your best friend’s wedding or your dad’s 50th birthday party. This is fun, love, and and a good dose of partying all wrapped up into one. So naturally, the Stevie Wonder Classic about the birth of a child, Isn’t She Lovely, has to be the song to represent this card. It is joy and celebration, a reminder of what is truly important in this lifetime, and that is love. Not to mention that the number 3 is all about creation, and isn’t birth the truest form of creation?
This card is about feeling stuck in the mud. Life seems stale, its potential seems uninteresting, and a general dsisatisfaction seems to loom over you if this card comes up in a personal reading. The song that this card makes me think of is Deadwater by Wet. It’s all about how her and her dude just can’t make it work and yet they can’t seem to walk away from the mess of their relationship. Sometimes we stay in the mud because we think that it’s the only way to be but, much like the lead singer of Wet knows, there is always something better on the horizon.
This card is all about the long drawn out mourning period, not necessarily for the death of a loved one, but more so for the death of a relationship. This is when we just can’t get over our ex or when we fall into depression after cutting ties with a friend or family member. I doubt I could think of a more perfect song to encapsulate this than Sinead O’Connor’s version of Nothing Compares 2 U (I’d like to take this moment to inform the unwise that Prince is the song writer and his version with Rosie Gaines is wonderful but not quite right for this card). This slow, sad version leaves long pauses filling the void with emotionality, the emptiness that truly captures the soul of this card. If this card comes up in a reading be prepared for a long grieving period, but don’t fear it. Greiving is a important step and we shouldn’t fear it just because it doesn’t feel lovely.
This is a nostalgic card about being thankful for the past, specifically for all the dark stuff in our past and how it aids us in our journey of self discovery. Remember that sasdness we just talked about in the 5 of Cups, this is the time when the tears have dried and you’re able to look back and be thankful for all that transpired. The topical song Thank You, Next by Arianna Grande is an easy choice to showcase the meaning of this card. Though it is a pop bop, Arianna speaks eloquently about how all of her past loves have helped her in her journey. This isn’t a break up song meant to hurt anyone, no it’s all about how thankful she truly is for the lessons she’s learned in life.
This card tells the tale of a fork in the road. This card is about the choices we make in our emotional lives. This card also talks of the rose tinted glasses that can influence our decision making. You have to choose between options A, B, C, maybe even D, but it’s also likely that you don’t have the ability to make this choice logically. So the song I think of with this card is Two Princes by the Spin Doctors, yes that classic 90’s tune. This song is about how this chick has two dudes vying for her love and the singer, one of two, sings about what each of her suitors has to offer. To be honest, it’s not super clear who she should choose so I get why she’s dillydallying. I mean I guess we should want her to choose the guy who wrote a song about her but I’m not really sure if he’s bringing more to the table if we’re being honest.
This is the card that helps you recognize when it’s time to walk away. This is the act of moving on and moving away from soemthing that no longer serves us. This isn’t an easy walk out of someone’s life or situation, this is all about when we have to make the choice to leave something good in hopes of something way better coming to us somewhere down the line. This is breaking up with the person you like hoping that in the future you both find someone you love. So, I’m bringing the band Wet back into the game with the first track from their most recent album, Still Run. She sings, “It’s the hardest thing/ I’ve ever done/ to love somebody and still run.” This song is a follow up to the stuck in the mud energy of Deadwater. Sometimes we have to walk away from love.
This card is all about that happy ending. It’s love and friendship and sunshine and rainbows and magick all wraped up into one gorgeous package. This is often times thought of as the best omen in the entire deck, if you pull the nine of Cups life is probably pretty good. I often times associate this card with finding our soulmates. I believe that we all have many soulmates and not all of them are romantic. I’ve met quite a few of my soulmates and none have been romantic ths far, my sister is one of them for sure. Ok but I’m bringing it back to romantic love with one of my all time favorite love songs, Chateu Lobby #4 by Father John Misty. I don’t know what else to say, other than the fact that this is my kind of love song.
This is emotional happiness in its highest form. This is friend love, family love, and romantic love all brought together to relax and enjoy this divine and yet completely human life. Where the Ace of Cups was a more spiritual love, this is earthly love, something we are all driving ourselves towards. And the song that I find tell the story of the ten of Cups best is The Clock Was Tickin’ by Brandon Flowers. It outlines the full lives of a married couple from the sweet beginnings, the struggles in the middle, and the eventual separation that death causes. This card is very much tied to family and how the people we love live on inside of us, and that’s what Brandon is singing about in this song.
To be honest, I am still on my tarot journey. I am still learning more and more about the cards. I am still exploring what they mean to me and how to speak to them. And if you’re reading this, then you are also on this journey with me. Thank you for being here, thank you for learning alongside me, and thank you just for being. Whereever you are on your journey know that it is exactly where you are meant to be.