In this article Three of Cups Symbols, I refer to the Three of Cups card from the Rider Waite Tarot deck, also known as the Waite-Smith, or Rider-Waite-Smith, or Rider tarot deck. In the Thoth Tarot deck this card is called Abundance.
The symbolism found on this Tarot card is primarily drawn from mythology, religious text and astrology.
Three of Cups: Key Symbols
Dancing maidens, fruit, flowers, grapes, apples, blue sky
“Maidens in a garden-ground with cups uplifted, as if pledging one another.”A.E.Waite
The Original Rider Waite Pictorial Key to The Tarot
3 of Cups Imagery: metaphors, hidden symbol meanings, allegory and mythological references
What Do The Dancing Women Symbolize in The Three of Cups?
Three women dance in celebration, this could be the end of harvest because of all the fruit and flowers scattered on the ground. The image reminds one of Sandro Botticelli’s Three Graces, or Charities, the three goddesses in Greek mythology, Thaleia, Aglaia, and Euphrosyne, in whom beauty was celebrated.
The Graces main job was to bestow beauty, goodness and charm on young women and to give joy to people in general. The appearance of these dancing ‘graces’ in the Three of Cups, suggests that you have been ‘bestowed’ with a reason to celebrate. Perhaps you are even doing a little jig around the kitchen!
There is a timeless sense of grace and oneness about this card. It reflects a phase from the Sioux Lakota language: mitakuye oyasin. This phrase means ‘all my relatives,’ ‘we are all related’. It is a prayer of Oneness and harmony with all life: other people, plants, animals, and even mountains, rivers and rocks.
What is The Meaning of Fruit and Flowers in This Tarot Card?
In this card we can see grapes, apples and possibly pumpkins and tomatoes or oranges. The fruit is ripe and has been freshly harvested. There is a time to work, and there is a time to play and celebrate your harvest, and this is a time to play.
Grapes are a symbol of fertility and good luck. In ancient Egypt, it was believed if you painted grapes on your tomb, you could achieve rewards in the afterlife. While in Christianity, priests drink wine from a chalice to symbolize the blood of Christ to bring them closer to the savior.
Apples are a more complex symbol, and can represent love, sensuality, wisdom, happiness and luxury. In ancient mythology, the apple is one of the most sacred trees and symbolizes future happiness and good health. In Christianity, the apple was less favored because of its association with sensuality, and became the symbol of temptation and original sin in the Garden of Eden.
⭐Apples also appear here: Lovers Tarot card
The maidens are wearing flowers in their hair. Flowers have been surrounded by symbolism and mythology for thousands of years, influencing our emotions. Over time certain flowers became associated with particular meaning. While we cannot decipher exactly which flowers are depicted in the Three of Cups, we can assume the general meaning of flowers which is: beauty, love and affection. Flowers also represent being open to new ideas, experiences and beliefs.
⭐Flowers are found in many other cards, just a few examples: Empress, Ten of Cups and Two of Wands
The Sky is Blue and There are No Clouds. Why?
The sky is clear blue in the Three of Cups Tarot card, there is not a single cloud on the horizon. This is a wide expansive sky, which inspires feelings of freedom. It is the sort of day to daydream, to imagine more ways of bringing fun into your life. Can you find a way to keep the party going?, this card asks.
Blue is also associated with rest and vacation, because the color can cause the body to produce chemicals which induce a state of calmness.
If you notice in the Rider Waite Deck, the light blue sky primarily appears on happy cards, or cards which ask you to keep dreaming.
What Sphere Does The Three of Cups Represent in Qabalah?
In Qabalah (Kabbalah), the 3 of Cups depicts Binah in Briah. This is the third sphere of understanding, interconnectedness and interaction with others beyond our own selfish interests.
Complete List: Tarot Card Symbolism
Karina, author of Tarot in 5 Minutes.
The Ultimate Guide to Three of Cups Symbols