The King of Cups represents the artistic or creative mastery, emotional subtlety or repression. Many are quick to react to the somewhat melancholy expression on this king. Water does not like to be still but prefers to flow. Water represents emotions, and the King cards signify a position of authority, mastery or responsibility, and so we find a rather unhappy figure who feels on the one hand constrained by the obligations, tight schedule, and rigid structure of his life, and on the other not quite in touch with his imagination and emotions either because of all his obligations and duties.
Emotions are spontaneous and have “a mind of their own”. We do not control them, but must in fact follow them wherever they lead. The King doesn’t have this luxury anymore, however, or at least he tells himself he does not. He has taken on too much responsibility and has to reconcile to too many different considerations to simply follow his moods and whims as they come along. On the other hand, he may be talking himself into this attitude, out of a fear of his own emotions or the more unconscious, dreamy aspects of his personality, or because he has told himself he must forego his own emotional well-being for the sake of the greater good. This may signify some one who represses emotions or ignores his own unhappiness in order to make more money, or one who puts his career ahead of his spiritual beliefs.
The King of Cups can signify an accomplished artist, healer or intuitive of some kind, who perhaps has become overly satisfied or reliant on his past accomplishments, such that he is not really emotionally present in his work anymore, nor challenging himself to go deeper. The card may indicate rigidity or numbness of the emotional faculty. It may even indicate emotional repression or neglecting the need to spontaneously create. On the more positive side, this card may show a great listener, empathetic counselor or some one who is holding himself responsible for his emotions and the careful, considerate expression of them.
The King of Cups is connected to the Sun in Pisces, as a symbol of the subtleties of feelings, intuitive knowledge, and a readiness to help others.
Card meanings upright:
The King of Cups card represents a warm, honest, generous man in your life who is kind and fair. This may mean you are mature, in control of your emotions, and are skilled in diffusing emotionally charged people or situations. You are likely very balanced between your creativity and logic, and can embrace your feminine side without loss of masculinity.
Card meanings reversed:
When the King of Cups card is reversed, it can indicate blocked expressions, feelings, and motivation. You may have a lingering fear of rejection that can cause you to seem selfish to others. During this time, you may also lack positive leadership and treat other cultures with intolerance.