~ Discovering The Wild Unknown The Mother of Cups ~
Today’s card draw in the Discovering the Wild Unknown series is the Mother of Cups.
I want to start off by providing an important notice, which will be included in all of this series. However, other things that will be included that you can skip to are:
I only include the latter as a comparison, to show how wandering down your own understanding of images and symbols can bring you to a similar meaning, though along a different path with different experiences. This is to help expand knowledge of the card.
I will not, however, be including the definitions from the guidebook, as that is not the point of this. Also, I don’t have rights to that material.
I started this series because I had read that people struggled with the deck purely because the definitions in the Little White Book were very Rider-Waite-based, and that there wasn’t much wisdom regarding the animals and symbolism chosen.
This series is to help you to decipher the meanings yourselves. I am by no means saying what I have to say about the cards are correct for anyone outside myself. However, I am providing my daily journal entries regarding the deck to act as a guide so that you can begin your own journey.
When I started tarot, I had no idea what to write in my journal, and thus didn’t. Instead I obsessively read and re-read the Little White Book belonging to the Spiral Tarot (which is why today I can completely quote the book). I didn’t trust myself to know the cards, even when I could recite the definitions. I was afraid to put the book down.
To this fear of lack of knowledge, Kim Krans, creator of The Wild Unknown, writes:
You do know enough. You’ve been a person on earth every day since you were born. You’ve experienced all the emotions and situations these cards depict. Quiet the naysayer…don’t let it prevent you from sitting down with a friend (or yourself) and using these cards to help talk about what’s going on in your life. It will be positive. It will be radical. You’ll find things start to reveal themselves through the cards that have been hidden away, covered with dust.pp. 10-11, The Wild Unknown Guidebook
The Wild Unknown Mother of Cups shows a Swan standing up. She looks as though she’s in mid-flap with her wings, having just brought them forward and is bringing them back again. Her wing is over a cup. She is facing left. The background is black with rainbow stars in seemingly no particular color pattern.
The Mother of Cups is standardly the Queen of Cups. She is Water and Water, thus the amplification of emotion, intuition, and the subconscious. As a person, she represents someone who is in their mid- to late 30’s through to their mid-50’s. They are someone who cares a lot, who has all the time in the world for those they love, and can almost be the Minor Arcana’s version of the Empress. They are the nurturing figure, the gentle guidance. However, that can be too much, and can be someone who is overly sensitive. She can sometimes represent the person who feels too much, experiences the weight of the world, and thus, their love is what causes them misery.
When I think of Swans, I think of a book I read when I was a kid, one of those first chapter books we read in school. It had something to do with trumpeter swans. In it I read that the flap of a swan’s wing is so powerful that it can break a human thigh bone.
I find the that the Mothers in this deck seem to have different ways of being protective or showing protection. The Mother of Cups has her powerful wing over the Cup.
Swans are graceful creatures, one of those beautiful things that no matter how many times you see them, you have to stop and watch them when they’re in the water. Love boats are modeled after swans because of their beauty and because they mate for life. I’m pretty certain that somewhere I heard that all the swans in the UK belong to the queen. It’s illegal to kill a swan and eat it, too.
All that grace that disguises the powerfulness of their wings, and the horrid temper they have. A mama swan is pretty aggressive when it comes to her goslings, and thus, I think this is what this card embodies. But this swan isn’t just about her goslings, she’s about the Cup. The Cups are emotion, intuition, and the subconscious. She’s protective of her emotions, she’s protective of that which she loves, and she’s protective of her intuitive self.
She also faces toward the left of the card. The left represents the subconscious, but also the past. Given the nature of the Cups, I think her direction has to do with the subconscious and intuitive aspects.
This is a card of guarding, I think. Not just those who she loves, but loving herself enough to know that there are aspects that need protecting. We need to hide part of ourselves in order for it not to be damaged by the world. As women, sometimes our internal, intuitive voice is all we have, and thus, it becomes a best-kept secret so that it remains intact. Though this in itself can become a danger. It can become so secretive that we don’t believe we even have it. Furthermore, if we don’t acknowledge or remember that we have it, then we aren’t able to help others develop it within themselves, either.
I think the Mother of Swans is about love, loving so much that she would do anything for it. But the danger in that is that she can love too much, and it can become possessive, smothering, ‘crazy’ (though I really don’t like that word), and self-smothering through neglect.
The Wild Unknown Tarot is a 2016 Harper One publication, created by Kim Krans. The deck is widely available at most bookstores who carry Tarot cards, but also on Amazon. Kim Krans always wrote The Wild Unknown Guidebook.
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