Embracing the Page of Cups

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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.

Page of Cups - RWS Tarot deck.

The Page of Cups from the Rider-Waite Smith Tarot deck. Cups represent emotions, our feeling natures. Click on the image for a larger version.

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.

Sarah Taylor

About Sarah Taylor

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5 Responses to Embracing the Page of Cups

  1. Sarah Taylor Sarah Taylor says:

    Thank you, one and all, for your comments; luckydriver, I feel blessed to have this space too. It is a relationship that definitely works both ways.

    I am going to endeavour to journey with the spirit of the Page of Cups through this festive season and to be open to the miracles of the unexpected – and to the depths that they can take me – when I simply choose to be accepting, vulnerable, loving, and with no need or expectation attached to those.

    Blessings to you! :)

  2. Lea Burning River says:

    Dear Sarah, I echo luckydriver and hs’s feelings about your weekly posts. Thank you. Love your question, Charles. :>)
    The fish and the Page looking at one another struck me most as you called attention to the fish emerging from the cup. I am going to journey into eavesdropping in on their conversation, I think. There will surely be some laughs, but I know also there will be wisdom.
    Also, the freshness of the Page of Cups as you mentioned (youth, etc) made me think of the energy of The Fool. Oh so much, life to experience! In so many ways. (((((everyone)))))

  3. Charles says:

    Does a fish know water?

  4. Hugging Scorpio says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Yes, I’d like to thank you too for your wonderful Tarot articles! I really enjoy them so much.

    I just wanted to share until recently, when this card appeared, it represented a time when I could be unfettered and free of worry; that I would have a break from what I was going through to simply enjoy time alone to love myself. Like a blend of the Hermit and the Star. I felt like the pressure came off of me and gave me some time to be in my own world or a bit.

    But as some things are shifting for me, I am starting to see associations in other ways. And that feels good too. Like, being nudged to remove the armor and try and allow a youthful and free spirit to flow between me and someone new.

    Perhaps too, the card’s feeling of the page being on a stage also indicates not to get carried away or lost in those deep flowing waters behind, but to keep grounded as you say, and present to the magic emerging in the cup.


  5. luckydriver luckydriver says:


    As 2011 draws to a close, I just wanted to thank you for all the wonderful tarot posts you have written this past year. I wait eagerly every Wednesday and Sunday for your articles and always experience wonderful resonance with the cards and your explanations. If this series ever ends, I will be pretty devastated!!

    Before I even read today’s text, I saw the Page of Cups and immediately thought of Christmas. And even though I have seen this card so often before (it has been cropping up in my own personal readings consistently for over 6 months now), I finally recognized something else about the Page. I was raised a Roman Catholic, and although I do not practice any religion now, it is difficult to erase a history of learning about Catholic symbols!!!

    Today I suddenly read the Page’s cup as a sacred religious chalice, and once I went down that track, it struck me that the chalice contained a fish, another powerful Christian symbol. Of course, the use of the fish symbol in Catholicism stemmed from translating “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior” into Greek and then making an acronym out of the first letters of each word of the translation. The acronym, “Ichthys”, of course also means fish. So for me, the Page does indeed seem appropriate for Christmas, even if I am projecting my own Catholic history onto the card!!

    In the course of thinking about the fishes though, I came across this tidbit, which I am posting mainly because I absolutely love the last phrase:

    “The earliest literary reference to the fish as Christian symbol was made by Clement of Alexandria, who advised Christians to use a dove or fish as their seal. Tertullian wrote (in “De Baptismo”) “But we, being little fishes, as Jesus Christ is our great Fish, begin our life in the water, and only while we abide in the water are we safe and sound.”

    “…..only while we abide in the water are we safe and sound.” That’s why this water sign loves the Page of the Cups!!!!

    Thanks again, Sarah!

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