THE ACE OF CUPS

   A white hand extending from a cloud is holding a golden cup that spouts streams of water like a fountain. A white dove is descending into the cup with a wafer in its beak. On the wafer is a black, equal-armed cross, symbol of the four elements in harmony within physical manifestation. Below the cup is a pool covered by lotus flowers, roots in the mud, stems in the water, flowers blooming in the air and sunshine. Water drops shaped like the Hebrew letter Yod, symbol of the basic impulse of life, fall all around the cup.
   On one level, the cup symbolizes spirit manifesting in matter, but the dove descending into the cup suggests another meaning as well. If the conscious mind is receptive enough, archetypal symbols appear from a level of the mind associated with the element of Water and the "mental plane." The element of Water is receptive to spiritual impulses and embodies them with archetypal form. Archetypal symbols from the mental plane ripple out through the astral realm into the physical realm of action and take on great emotional significance, revealing the interconnectedness of the different planes, which are simply different levels of being.
   The element of Water, a receptive, feminine element, is associated with emotion and the unfathomable depths of the subconscious mind, but Water is also an energy with a high “vibration.” One must dive deep into the subconscious in order to ascend to the level of archetypes, where the abstract spiritual impulses first take shape. Those symbols awaken energies and potentials within individuals that correspond to cosmic forces. A person meditating on archetypal symbols can sometimes feel that he or she has slipped from the individual mind into the collective mind, from the personal to the transpersonal, as though channeled from a stream into the ocean. At those moments, the symbols begin to take on both a unique personal meaning as well as a collective archetypal meaning.
   Spiritual traditions provide symbols from the mental plane as signposts. As in everyday reality, certain symbols and events stand out more than others for each individual. For example, one individual on the path of “The Emperor,” Trump IV, during meditation might experience falling into magma and being cleansed by fire, only to rise as an ankh or scepter, while another might encounter royal figures against a backdrop of springtime or the creation of the world. What one experiences are archetypal figures and events that represent spiritual principles--the individual must examine the symbols for their personal spiritual significance as one might examine a dream for its psychological significance.
   The intellect extends from the mental plane, but the intellect as we know it, so full of the intensity of desire and emotion, is an aspect of astral consciousness. The mental plane is actually the "archetypal world," and a symbol from the mental plane is not a representation of personal desires or emotions--it is a representation of spiritual principle and a channel for transpersonal cosmic forces. When its spiritual significance is revealed in astral consciousness and in the world of action--the physical plane--its emotional significance then begins to ripple out into manifestation. For instance, a person who envisions a golden equal-armed cross during meditation might find out that gold symbolizes the incorruptibility of spirit, and then that the cross itself corresponds to the four elements of the wise in harmonious relation to each other. The person might then discover that the cross is the basis for key rituals where the magician creates a three dimensional space in order to launch the mind into the fourth dimension of spirit. Then the individual might actually begin practicing rituals as a way to progress in the Great Work of self-transformation. The meaning of a symbol from the mental plane often takes weeks or months or even years to unfold, but a symbol can have a life-changing impact on anyone who is open and enthusiastic. And one such experience can lead to a lifetime of adventure in the “forest of symbols.”

CORRESPONDING COLOR: Pure white brilliance.

QUALITIES: Experiencing archetypes as representations of spiritual principle and channels for transpersonal cosmic forces. Associated with receptivity, deep emotion, the depths of the subconscious mind, spirit manifested in form on the level of the mental plane.

POSSIBLE ADVERSARIES: None.

Continue on the path.

RELATED PATHS:

The Two of Cups.
The King of Cups.
The Fool.
The High Priestess.
The Magician.
Go to the closest suit:
Ten of Wands.