When it comes to the Minor Arcana, Threes mean action. Aces begin the cycle of each suit, and Twos are when plans come together. When a Three appears, things really get rolling. In the suit of Cups, this is when the (often literal) party starts.
About Three of Cups
- Keywords: Celebration, parties, joyful collaboration
- Keywords (Reversed): Isolation, loneliness, reservation, overindulgence in celebrations
- Yes or No: Yes
- Yes or No (Reversed): No
- Element: Water
- Zodiac Sign: Cancer
This card is widely regarded as positive and joyful, and the artwork of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot shows it. Three women, gowned in different colors, dance in a circle with their goblets held high.
Two of their faces are visible, and their expressions are happy. There are garlands of leaves and flowers twined in their hair, and a bounty of fruits, vegetables, and flowers at their feet.
The sky above them is blue and cloudless. There are no signs of mountains, clouds, or other symbols used to signify obstacles or grief. Aside from the bountiful harvest at the women’s feet, the background is surprisingly empty. This places all of the focus on the dancers. The entire mood is one of festivities, abundance, and joy.
Three of Cups Meaning (Upright)
This card is typically read as a celebration. It symbolizes people coming together to enjoy themselves, commemorate an occasion, or focus on a positive goal.
Depending on the other cards around it, it may indicate a birth, marriage, or family reunion. It’s a very positive card with a strong social element.
Three of Cups Meaning (Reversed)
When the Three of Cups is reversed, something is getting in the way of a good party. Significant events might be postponed or cancelled, or you might be feeling isolated.
Your social life may be lacking for some reason, either due to external factors, or because of infighting within your circle of friends. This card has a lot of very social energy, so problems like gossip, jealousy, or backstabbing may be a factor here. There might be a lack of balance here, with one person attempting to lord over the others.
This card can also indicate a celebration that was ruined in some way. Maybe someone spilled an entire bottle of Merlot on the carpet, maybe someone got a little too tipsy and tried to dance on the dinner table, maybe a fight broke out. Whatever the case, an event that was supposed to be happy ended up being awkward or hurtful instead.
See also: Check out alternate Tarot decks here.
Three of Cups Meaning – Love & Relationships (Upright)
In love and relationships, this card often represents weddings, engagement parties, or housewarmings, or baby showers. You have reason to celebrate a milestone, and are supported by the loving energy of all of the people around you.
You and your partner may also be celebrating other people’s achievements. Either way, expect a lot of joy, optimism, and partying!
If you’re single, this card can signify a lost love coming back into your life. Since it features three people, you may also find that you have an overabundance of romantic attention right now. Take time to enjoy yourself and this period in your life.
Three of Cups Meaning – Love & Relationships (Reversed)
When the Three of Cups is reversed in a love reading, it’s usually not a very good omen. If you’re planning on celebrating a milestone, it’s likely that something is going to get in the way.
This may not be as dramatic as a breakup, but it can be annoying. Since this card features three people, someone around you may be trying to sabotage your relationship for their own purposes. Look at the cards surrounding this one for more context.
If you’re single, this card can represent feelings of isolation or a lack of desire to socialize. You might even feel a little resentful at celebrating other peoples’ relationship milestones.
This card can also be a very exciting relationship that doesn’t last long. If it represents a reunion with a former lover, you may find yourself recalling why you broke up in the first place.
If it’s a new lover, you may quickly discover that they aren’t a good match for you. Enjoy it while it lasts, but don’t expect it to turn into a lifelong commitment.
Three of Cups Meaning – Careers, Business & Money (Upright)
In a career and business context, this can represent team building exercises, company parties, launch parties, and reasons to celebrate with your co-workers. It may also symbolize graduations, promotions, and other skill-related reasons to celebrate.
If you have to work in a team setting, expect things to go very well. The suit of Cups is associated with the element of Water and the emotions, so this is also a card of harmony.
Financially, this card represents abundance. Chances are, you have a pretty good influx of money right now. This is reason to celebrate — just don’t splash too much of your cash on partying!
Three of Cups Meaning – Careers, Business & Money (Reversed)
The Three of Cups reversed in a career or business reading can indicate that not everyone is working well together. You might have some co-workers who are struggling privately, but trying to put on a brave face.
Others might be ready to throw you under the bus at a moment’s notice. The social nature of this card indicates that gossip may be a factor here. Even if it’s tempting, don’t take part in it. It’ll do more harm than good in the end.
In a money reading, the Three of Cups reversed indicates that the well is starting to run dry. You may find that your income isn’t what you were counting on it to be, or that your spending has gotten a little bit out of control.
Since this is the party card, it’s likely that you’ve been spending a little too much on dressing up and going out or entertaining guests. Bring things under control before it’s too late.
Three of Cups: Yes or No?
The Three of Cups is a very positive card that revolves around celebration, success, and joy. If you’re asking a “Yes or No” question, then the answer is a “Yes.” You’re likely to receive your desired outcome.
Reversed, the Three of Cups is a “No.” It’s no longer a symbol of happiness, and your outlook isn’t as optimistic. This may be because you’ve overindulged somewhere, and now lack the resources to bring about the outcome you want. It can also indicate a state of isolation that will keep you from achieving your goal.
The Three of Cups is a very nice card to see. When it’s upright, it’s all about happiness, cooperation, abundance, and joy. Reversed, it warns us of problems within our social lives.
Since its meaning can be fairly generic, pay close attention to its position and the other cards around it to gain more insight into its meaning.
See also: For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our Tarot Card Meanings category page here.
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