The Knight of Cups represents the principle of desire in action and the urge for romance, compassion, and beauty. It represents a strong surge of energy that motivates us to express our emotions with candor and passion and take risks toward pursuing who or what our heart desires. It is a card of fearlessly sharing one’s inner world with others and taking action based on the wisdom of the heart.

The Knight of Cups is ruled by the planet Neptune and is associated with the element of water. Its corresponding astrological zodiac sign, Pisces, speaks to the romantic and imaginative passion that are key to the Knight of Cups meaning.

Knight of Cups Keywords

Upright Keywords

Reversed Keywords

romance, courage, emotional vulnerability, passion, imagination

fear of taking action, creative blocks, emotional inhibition, overly romantic 

Description of the Knight of Cups Tarot Card

Within the suit of Cups, the Knight of Cups follows fellow court card the Page of Cups and represents the desire to take action on the dreams and ideas that were incubated in the Page. All Knight cards in the Minor Arcana represent taking action according to the element of their suit, and the Knight of Cups’ style is associated with his element of water: emotional, direct, courageous, and imaginative.

In the classic Rider Waite Smith tarot deck, the Knight of Cups rides through a mountainous landscape on horseback, extending his golden cup outwards as if to represent his emotional openness and desire to share his heart. Similar to the Knight of Pentacles (but in contrast to the Knight of Wands or the Knight of Swords), his white horse appears to be moving at a calm and steady pace, indicating that he takes a grounded approach to emotional vulnerability.

He wears a suit of armor, indicating that he’s well equipped to withstand challenges from his environment or relationships, and his helmet is adorned with a pair of wings, which is a visual reminder of the winged messenger god Hermes and links this Knight to themes of messages delivered. Over his armor, he wears a tunic adorned with fish, creatures of his element that represent the integration of his subconscious feelings with his conscious awareness. He is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve.

He rides through a mountainous landscape with a river flowing through it, which speaks to his ability to flow with his emotions. Like the river, which moves in one direction, he can channel his energy in a fixed and focused fashion in order to pursue his objectives.

Knight of Cups Upright Meaning

The Knight of Cups symbolizes a feeling of being impassioned about a matter close to your heart and the desire to share your heart openly or to pursue what you love. You possess courage in sharing your feelings with others and are unafraid to take risks to share your truth. You could feel a sense of urgency around taking action toward your desires and are unafraid to initiate a pursuit or conversation.

The upright Knight of Cups is a good sign that you feel deeply inspired and want to channel your feelings of inspiration into a beautiful thing, such as a creative project or an artistic endeavor. You are buoyed by your passion for creating beauty and your deeply felt connection to your imagination. The Knight encourages action toward the ideas and projects that stir your soul.

You take action and make decisions based on your feelings, intuition, and inner emotional compass. When you are in touch with this inner guidance system, you feel courageous and can take emotional risks. You can share your love with others freely and without strings attached, and you feel a sense of joy in doing so.

Love and Relationships (Upright Meaning)

In the upright position of a tarot spread, the Knight of Cups suggests that you feel compelled to express your love and affection for another in hopes of moving this connection forward. It is an encouragement to wear your heart on your sleeve, make romantic proposals, and take risks toward pursuing your heart’s desire. Act with confidence and communicate your deepest truths in order to form deep emotional connections.

Within the context of an existing relationship, the Knight of Cups can symbolize a renewal of passion, romance, and emotional intimacy. If you have been partnered for a long while or the spark between you has dimmed over time, the Knight of Cups symbolizes that you can rekindle the love and passion by exploring deeper layers of intimacy by being vulnerable and sharing your deepest truths.

Love/relationships upright keywords

Career/finance upright keywords

pursuing a romantic connection, sharing your heart, confidence, renewal of passion

taking action towards a career goal, creative inspiration, stepping outside of comfort zone, taking dreams seriously

Career and Finance (Upright Meaning)

The Knight of Cups upright symbolizes taking action toward a project, job, or career goal that feels creatively inspiring and emotionally fulfilling. You are motivated to pursue your dreams and feel energized by this pursuit. Your wellspring of deep feeling, your imagination, and your creative expression are all intertwined and are what motivate you to shape them into a tangible and concrete form.

The upright Knight of Cups can symbolize a feeling of confidence and self-worth around pursuing career goals. It is an encouragement to take action toward your desires and to courageously pursue your goals, which may require you to step outside of your comfort zone. It represents taking bold action toward a deeply felt desire and taking your dreams seriously enough to begin to build them into reality.

Knight of Cups Reversed Meaning

In a tarot reading, the Knight of Cups reversed speaks to a feeling of self-doubt and inner fears or anxieties around taking action toward pursuing your dreams. Whether you dream of a new relationship, a creative project, or pursuing a passion project which brings you joy, you may be questioning if you have the ability to actualize this dream.

If you have been dreaming up a new creative project or idea, you may have gotten stuck in the ideation phase and are struggling to take practical action to bring it to life. You may benefit from spending time focusing on the practical steps that you can implement in order to get the wheels moving.

The Knight of Cups reversed can also speak to a feeling of being emotionally disconnected from oneself or from love & relationships. This may be due to feeling inhibited emotionally because of a fear of speaking your truth. You may also be disconnected because your desire for romance is clouding your vision of reality. There may be a need to recalibrate your head and your heart to come back into balance emotionally.

Love and Relationships (Reversed Meaning)

In the reverse position, the love meaning of the Knight of Cups suggests that you may be holding back from expressing your true feelings and are avoiding a difficult conversation in your love life. You could be consciously or unconsciously denying your true feelings, which is creating a feeling of internal blockage or moodiness. This card is an encouragement to check in with your heart and open yourself up emotionally to your partner.

The reversed Knight of Cups can also signify that you may be feeling disillusioned by a relationship or romantic connection. You may have been approaching the situation with rose-colored glasses and are now realizing the reality of a person or situation. This may be a reminder to stay connected to your intuition and your gut feelings, even if it makes you a heartbreaker, because it will ultimately lead you in the right direction.

Love/relationships reversed keywords

Career/finance reversed keywords

holding back emotionally, denying true feelings, need for open conversation, disillusionment 

holding back on pursuing a goal, lack of self-confidence, ideation phase, taking practical action

Career and Finance (Reversed Meaning)

The reversed Knight of Cups can signify that you are holding back on taking action toward a creative project or cherished career goal. You may be struggling with a lack of self-confidence or are feeling paralyzed by worry. This card encourages you to cultivate belief in yourself and gather your inner courage to take the necessary steps toward realizing your dreams.

You may be dreaming up a new creative project or business venture and are still in the negotiator phase of ideation and brainstorming. You may need more time to incubate this idea and explore all the possibilities before committing to a plan of action. Alternatively, you may need to ground your idea by outlining the practical action steps that you can take to bring it to life.