Editor’s Note: If you want to experiment with tarot cards and don’t have any, we provide a free tarot spread generator using the Celtic Wings spread, which is based on the traditional Celtic Cross spread. This article explains how to use the spread. You can visit Sarah’s website here. –efc
By Sarah Taylor
This week, I selected a card (if I can refer to it as precisely as ‘selected’) on a hunch: I decided to pick the 25th card of the minor arcana in recognition of the date of December 25, and my counting brought me to the Page of Cups. Right now, I’m hard pushed to think of a more appropriate card for the occasion of the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus.
As a court card — along with the Knight, the Queen and the King — the Page will often represent a person in a reading, more often than the rest of the cards in the minor arcana, which tend to represent events, moods, traits, experiences. More specifically, the Page is associated with someone who is, if not younger, then youthful in outlook — childlike.
The Pages are also progenitors, in that they carry in them the seed of potential of their suit expressed in human form. This seed then grows through the worldly experience of the Knight, and matures when we assume responsibility in the guise of the Queen and King.
Finally, as one commenter pointed out in an earlier article that included the Page of Cups, the Page is an outsider in that his title implies that he is not strictly tied to the Queen and King as a blood descendant. He is in the royal family, but not of it. As writings about Jesus have described, from conception he was considered an outsider, and was ostracised throughout his life because of this. In this way, he developed a deep empathy for those who were cast out from society, and enraged many of those in authority for his teachings These were inclusive rather than exclusive, and served to bridge the divide between the outsider and the rest of society, between the individual and the collective.
When I look at the Page of Cups, I see someone who is youthful and energetic, simultaneously accepting and curious. He might be considered naive, but his openness means that he welcomes the strange appearance of a fish from the vessel that he is holding. Even an outsider has its place, no matter how strange we might judge it to be.
The Page’s dress is also a mix of red and blue: flesh and feeling. He is at once physical and ethereal, walking a line between both worlds. And yet his boots are brown, like the earth. He is grounded.
But I am drawn to the Page of Cups for another reason, and that is the impenetrability of the card. To me, it defies a full intellectual analysis. There is a point where intellect has to step aside and we can rather choose to plunge into the mystery that the card points us towards when we look at the water behind the Page. It doesn’t give much up. And yet it feels deep, perhaps bottomless.
If we only look at it on the surface, the Page of Cups will not give us its full story. The otherness of the fish points us in the direction of our intuition, which can carry us into lands that thinking isn’t able to navigate. To do this, we must become a page ourselves. The Page represents the openness and fearlessness that is our natural human condition, before life causes us to be cynical and jaded. When we encounter pain and resistance, we learn to wear the armour of the Knight to feel protected as we move out into the world, and the Page becomes a distant memory for many of us. Then, through life, we are given the opportunity to learn and understand that an over-reliance on armour separates us more than it protects us, and the Page is reintegrated in the adult form of Queen and King.
The Page of Cups is asking us to drop our armour and remember what it was like to include all possibilities in our sphere of experience — where nothing is immediately discarded, where emotions prevail over intellect as our guide, where we make space for the possibility of magic. Much like this season.
Therefore, following on from Emma Sunerton-Burl’s moving and thought-provoking article on the Queen of Wands last week, why not try the same method she suggests and make a journey into the Page of Cups?
- What would the Page be saying to you? What would the fish tell you?
- What does the cup represent for you?
- What do the colours make you feel?
- What do the patterns and visual textures bring up for you?
- What lies beneath the waters?
- Which element do you relate to most, and least? Both are important.
Write your journey down. You might find when you have finished that you have the makings of a map into your soul. At the very least, enjoy the experience. Think of it as a holiday season gift — to yourself.