Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ace of... Cups? (Image 10)

I'm here to talk about cups. Not this kind of cup or this kind of cup but this kind of cup:

This picture that Mrs. Q put on the document she sent us is a tarot card, specifically the Ace of Cups. I couldn't find the same one that she had but this one is pretty close and has the same key features. The version Mrs. Q gave us is different than most of the Ace of Cups cards I found using the Google. I'm not sure if she did this on purpose but I'm going to talk about both versions because the meaning of the card depends on the version. 

Most versions of the card have five streams of water issuing from the cup, which is held in the open palm of a hand, like the one pictured on the left. There are five key meanings to the card: abundance, creativity, intense relationship, satisfaction, and success. The five streams also correspond to the five senses. 

Many people think the cup pictured on the card is in fact the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail clearly makes an appearance in version of the Perceval legend that we read. There is also the whole water = baptism that is inverted/played straight in The Waste Land. The version of the Ace at left is much more reminiscent of Christian  doctrine than is the version Mrs. Q gave us. This one has a dove carrying a wafer (communion) that also has a cross on it and the cup is being carried by a hand issuing from an amorphous blob that may or may not be the  Holy Spirit. 

Thoughts? Why do you think there are such distinct differences between the two versions of the cards? Do you think the relative ages if the versions might make a difference?

1 comment:

Ross said...

One reason there might be a difference between the two cards is because Europeans eventually "Christianized" the idea of The Grail into The Holy Grail. Remember that the tale of the grail and the Fisher King has been around for a long time, like a really, really long time. There are even some references to the story in the first century BC! The cup on the card that Quinet gave us may represent the original one, while the one that you found that has a great deal of religious symbolism, may represent the Christian Holy Grail that Jesus drank from and that held his blood. Just a thought.