The Tarot of Eli, LLC: The Rider-Waite-Smith-King of cups & The Thoth Tarot-Knight of Cups

western hermetic qabalah, tantric, alchemical, astrological, and numerical Tarot Card Comparisons.

· Rider-Waite-Tarot

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rider-waite-smith, king of cups

In the Thoth Tarot the Knights are comparable to the Kings in the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck. The Thoth Knights, are shown armored, sitting astride their powerful "Spirit Force" steeds. Crowley understood the Kings to be battle Knights, active and powerful energy states of the unconsciousness world, rather than sedate throne bound medieval kings.

The Rider-Waite-Smith, King of Cups, is depicted as seated on a heavy throne that floats effortlessly on the Sea and currents of unconscious. The solar colored outer cloak, covering the blue water colored inner robe relates to the natural union of water and sun. The crown of the throne that is in the shape of a peacock's tail in full fan, and along with the garish coloration of the Kings remnants and crown, relates to the wisdom of the peacock god bestowed upon the ever-watchful king who holds both scepter and cup in his hands. In the background, the fish a leaping and the ship a sailing, depict how thought and the fiery spiritual vessel of mind are dependent on the sea of emotions, for their direction. This becomes obvious, when one understands that e-motion is energy in motion. Which in Qabalah we call, "Will to Force".

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Thoth-knight of cups

The Knight of Cups is no exception and is the personification of the force which motivates the currents of the unconscious mental world; the fiery part of water. This may sound strange to the neophyte; However, the fiery part of water is the Power of Solution.

The Knight of Cups is not unlike the fiery attack of rain or springs. He rules the Zodiac from 21st degree of Aquarius to the 20th degree of Pisces.

The Thoth Knight, is depicted in armor, adorned with bright wings, and astride the leaping white charger of wave top foam origin; all represent the most active aspects of water, with the wings of Mercury. Hence, he is also a message bearer from and to the Graäl (the Creatrix).

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The crab besides being the symbol of the sign of Cancer (Cardinal Water) which is ruled by the Moon and directs the flow of tides, represents the aggressive nature of water and it's regenerative state. This is relevant as it is known that crabs individually regenerate by shedding their hard outer shell. The Crab also relates to Isis, Stella Maris, Star of the Sea; The Great Mother Mari (Mesopotamian) and/or the "Holy Grail".

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The Knight of Cups totem is the Peacock, somewhat abstract in the waves of the sea, as the very nature of active water is it's brilliance. The Peacock is also the totem of the Peacock God Myths and symbolizes Wisdom, i.e Chokmah and is a bird whose flesh is supposedly incorruptible. The Peacock image is also related to the Phoenix, a bird which died in flames every 500 years and rose again from its own ashes. The Peacock god myth is one of interesting pedigree, as the origin of this image began with the Bird of Juno, of Roman pedigree. Juno was the Mother of the Roman gods and the peacocks iridescent tail feathers sported "eyes", symbolizing the Goddess's ever watchfulness, her many colored veils and her plumes of justice.

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Peacock feathers also were the Plumes of Justice of the Egyptian Mother Goddess Maat, against which the hearts of men were weighed. The image of which is shown on the Adjustment Card, Key 8 of the Thoth Deck.

I would recommend that the serious student get the book, WOMAN'S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MYTH AND SECRETS, by the author, Barbra G. Walker for a fast and easy study of the Peacock god, for obviously a greater amount of study is needed if you wish to understand the "Swirling Depths" of this card.

The fluorescence characteristics of the personality signified by this card are surprisingly passive, as dictated by the zodiacal attribution and the depiction of the seated king in the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck. With the qualities of Venus, he is a graceful dilettante (a weak Jupiter) . Passively amiable and quick to respond to attraction but the stimulation fades away as he is not very enduring. Due to this inherent weakness, this person may be emotionally triggered by outside influence since this person has no real material depth of character.

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The Knight of Cups, is an archetype personality shown on the chart of Signs and Houses of the Zodiac, on page 51 of Robert Wang's book-The Qabalistic Tarot and is used as Tarot significator for one who is within the birth dates depicted. This personality has an undeniable innocence and purity, that is often clouded by his ill dignified sensuality, idleness, and untruthful nature. In fact he is so superficial that it is hard to reach any depth in him, of which there is much. There is great difficulty in rightly mating water with fire, as the swift violent nature of fire (Knight of Wands) ill suits a character that is naturally as placid as water. It is a rare persona indeed that has mastered the balance, so most often we find the personality mismanaging his affairs and unless good fortune attend him, his career and life is littered with a trail of failure and disaster. Hence, there is a mental "civil war" here, when his willful fire is unbalance with his emotional water. This unbalance can lead to depressions, and/or schizophrenia. He is one minute, fiery hot, anger surges, than the other minute, all emotional and weeping. The abuse of stimulants, alcohol, and narcotics is not uncommon with such a personality. As always the case, the surrounding cards will help the Reader decide the positive or ill dignified nature of this card and often within the reading is recommended the nature of correcting the unwanted behavior of this ill dignity. All in all, a very fun bubbly, bright person to be around---as long as you show attraction, to stimulate his attention. Good fun for short visits!


When the King or Knight of Cups is thrown during a divination, it implies:

  • Issues of loyalty to family and friends.
  • That the querent is an optimist.
  • This person has attained their position of authority by action and is looking ahead into life.
  • Listening to one's conscience, being guided by instincts and intuition and trusting one's impulses.
  • The querent is releasing an emotional pattern that no longer serves them well.
  • Creativity, imagination and the ability to love.
  • A caregiver, counselor or priest.
  • A lively imagination and one who can change one's moods at will. 
  • A master of emotion who is empathetic but not manipulated by the emotions of others.
  • The querent has the quality of irresistible force, underlying a calm surface.

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