3 of Cups | Weekly Tarot Card Pt 1: Observation

Happy Monday! Last week we finished our introductions to the 3’s, with the 3 of Wands. This week we move on to the 3 of Cups.

As always, on Monday we start by developing our first impressions of the 3 of Cups. Take this time to notice what you notice in the card, and consider why it is that you notice it. For this exercise, you’ll need to take out your own deck(s) and remove the 3 of Cups.


The 3 of Cups in the Rider-Waite Tarot shows 3 women dancing in a circle. The woman in the middle has her back to the reader, wearing a dark purple dress and a red cloak, holding her cup up with her right hand. She has red hair. The brown-haired woman on the right side of the card is in an orange dress and holds her cup toward the woman on the left side of the card with her right hand. The third woman on the left side of the card wearing a grey dress with blond hair. She holds her cup in the middle and the highest in the middle of the three, and with her left hand.

The ground they stand on is yellow, and there is fruit at their feet. In the bottom right corner there is a pumpkin. The sky is blue.

Spiral Tarot

The Spiral Tarot shows three women all with cups in their hands. The woman in the middle wears a yellow, plainer-looking dress than the other two women, who wear fancy orange dresses. The woman in the middle’s right hand is around the waist of the woman to the left of the card, and she looks down in that direction. The woman to the left of the card looks to the woman to the right side of the card.

At their feet are berries and two pumpkins. The sky is blue.

Aquarian Tarot

The Aquarian 3 of Cups shows three women, one with long light hair and her back facing the reader, but to the right side of the card, another woman on the left side of the card who looks to the reader, and a third woman who looks directly at the reader but whose face is concealed by the cup she holds up. All the cups are at the same height and put in the middle.

Behind them is a giant sunflower.

Vampire Tarot

The Vampire Tarot shows three Cups with roses. The Cups are arranged so there are two closer to the reader and the third a little behind them. The latter has three roses in it while the other two Cups have one rose each, with two crossed roses between them. In the background is a closed, wooden window and mauve curtains.

Faerie Tarot

The Faerie Tarot shows a large pink flower growing in the center of the card with three faeries gather around it and looking in the center, seeming to be of varying ages: Adult, younger, and child. Three cups are suspended in the air above their heads, without notice from them.

They stand in grass which slopes up on either side of the card, and the sky above them is blue with clouds.

Thoth Tarot

The Thoth Tarot’s 3 of Cups, similar to the 2 of Cups, shows water flowing. There are three lotuses upon which fuchsia cups stand. Branches which come from another lotus provide four more flowers which overflow the cups with water. The top cup fills the net to cups.

The fountain comes out of blue water. 

Just barely seen at the top between the top two lotuses is the glyph for Mercury. Down at the bottom is the glyph for Cancer. The keyword at the bottom of the card is ‘Abundance.’

Prisma-Vision Tarot

3 ballerinas dance at the side of the water in the 3 of Cups in the Prisma-Vision Tarot. Facing the reader, all uniform, they dance with their right leg planted and their left leg raised in the air. Their right arm is forward, while their left arm is up. Their bodies face toward the left side of the card, but their heads tilt toward the right.

The sky is a-swirl with rainbow.

Impressionist Tarot

The Impressionist Tarot shows an altered scene from Claud Monet’s  Rocky Point at Port-Goulphar (1886). It shows a rocky coast with the ocean. Three cups sit on the cliff closest to the reader.

As you go through the various cards, what do you notice that is a running theme in imagery? What do you notice tends to differ? Which of the images resonates with you? Why?

Spend time considering your own tarot decks, and do your own comparison.

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Decks Used

The Aquarian Tarot in a Tin by Italian-born, American-raised David Palladini, was published originally in 1970 by U.S. Games Systems Inc, and then republished again in 2016 in a smaller size. Named after the Age of Aquarius, the Aquarian Tarot is a midieval depiction of the Rider-Waite Tarot system. The images are closer, and thus might give the impression of being more character-based rather than relying on symbolism. This intimate deck provides a stark reflection of the human condition in it’s journey through the tarot.

Faerie Tarot by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc, 2008. Hertz is a French artist, and the creator of several other beautiful tarot decks. The Faerie Tarot was ‘inspired by the flora and fauna of the French countryside,’ and ‘invites you to see the world in a delightful new way…blending fantasy, whimsy, and nature.’

Impressionist Tarot by Arturo Picca (artist) and Corrine Kenner (author), published by Lo Scarabeo in 2015. This deck takes works of classic impressionist paintings and recreates them to fit the meanings of the tarot. It pulls from works of Edonard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gough, and Paul Gauguin. A truly beautiful deck, especially for those who have interest in the art world.

Prisma Visions Tarot by James R. Eads, 3rd ed., published in 2016. The deck itself is beautiful, though perhaps not for the beginning tarot reader. The suits all fit together to create a master picture displaying the energy and progression of the suits. The figures and images flow from one card to the next, showing movement within the stationary cards.

Rider-Waite by A. E. Waite. The deck used in these photos is currently out of print. I won’t say much about this deck, as it is fairly standard and probably one of the most produced decks. It serves as a standard for many tarot readers and artists, depicting classic images relating in part to the original playing cards that tarot developed from.

The Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon. With turn-of-the-20th-century style art, this deck takes from the classic Rider-Waite deck and brings it up to the late 1800-early 1900’s, a time of industry and contemplation for the western world as it moved forward into a more technological era. I am a little biased toward this deck as it’s been my main deck for 15 years. The cards are thick with additional symbolism that can be tricky to pick out of the traditional Rider-Waite, and adds layers of Greek myth throughout the Major Arcana.

Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley (designer and author) and Lady Frieda Harris (artist), published by U. S. Games Systems, Inc., in 1978. This deck takes from most esoteric imagery, and requires the reader of the deck to have deep, initiate knowledge of the symbolism used. There is nothing within the cards that is without meaning. However, on a more surface level, the deck draws from Egyptian symbolism and from the style of the Marseille Tarot (mostly seen within the Minor Arcana). For those looking for deeper understandings of the universe, I recommend this deck. I would caution that this deck is highly advanced, and might be avoided for the budding reader.

Vampire Tarot – by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. in 2000. As mentioned above in reference to the Faerie Tarot, Hertze is a French artist who gained her notability through the publication of her tarot decks. The Vampire Tarot was a bestselling deck upon its release, and plays on more gothic symbolism, providing more jarring interpretations to allow for the accepting of negative forces within the world to compliment the positive forces. The deck brings together myths and legends in the form of vampires, which ‘gives tarot readers a macabre passport’ into the world of divination.


One Comment on “3 of Cups | Weekly Tarot Card Pt 1: Observation

  1. Pingback: 3 of Cups | Weekly Tarot Card Pt 2: Meditation - Karma Star Tarot

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