The King of Cups sits on his stone throne in the mist of the ocean – on his one side we see a fish, almost bowing in reverence, and on the other side we see a sailing ship, a testament to how far out to sea the king is. The king is lavishly adorned – his red and gold cloak is worn over his blue robe, and his shoes look akin to fish scales. On his head is a glorious crown, and around his neck is a fish pendant. In the king's left hand is a short scepter, showcasing his royal nature, and in the other hand is a cup – these two items seem to be of equal importance to him.
To start with, we'll want to disambiguate court cards. They are often the most difficult to read, due to their general nature. It is easier to remember that a court card often signifies a person or entity: the sex of the person may not match that of the court card, but the attitude and persona will seem familiar. If it's clear, however, that the court card doesn't refer to a person, remember to break it down further. First, define what the suite stands for – e.x. Cups generally refers to emotion. Then take the role of that court card and apply it to the suite – e.x. A Page of Cups would be a young juvenile in the world of emotion, just as the Page of Swords is the inexperienced lad of thought. This can help you to decide what the court card is trying to tell you.
Person: The King of Cups is the perfect mixture of the emotional strength of the Cups suite and the power and attitude of a king. His focus is on keeping peace a prosperity in his life, and this includes keeping the keep in and around those he loves and cares about. The King is the type of person who will sit you down and ask you what's wrong when you are too ashamed to express your sadness. The King of Cups welcomes everyone to his home equally, friend and stranger. He is often a teacher, or at least takes the role of teacher in his relations with others. He will always help people to clarify what they are feeling, and help them see the way they can resolve their negative emotions.
Metaphor: Emotion wisdom is a special characteristic, and it can be hard to find. Wisdom is different than intelligence: intelligence is something learned from an outside source, while wisdom is learned from person experience and empathy. This wisdom plays into other traits that the King has, and that he may be urging you to pursue. He is in control of his emotions, representing the perfect balance between feeling truthfully and indulging in over-expression. He is able to be objective in arguments and bring peace between all sides. He is peaceful and caring, never needing to be angry or melancholic due to his internal balance.
When you see the King of Cups, try asking yourself these questions. Who is there in your life whose actions mimic that of the King of Cups? What can you learn from that person? Can you work to bring peace into emotionally-charged situations? What could you do to increase your emotional wisdom? How at-peace are you with your own emotions?
The King of Cups has many positive traits to boast of, but few others cards in the Cups suite can mimic them all. The 9 of Cups shares the sort of emotional luxury that the King of Cups has – the King of Cups can undoubtedly sit happily in the midst of his stable, peaceful kingdom that he has made for himself. The Three of Cups also speaks to the communal nature that the King of Cups has. The King, after all, is nothing without his kingdom, and the Three of Cups shares that joy among friends with the King card.