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All images are scans of Tarot cards crafted by Bruce Mitchell from many sources
| Biblical Tarot - Cups
The theme is the New Testament and particularly the life and times of Jesus Christ. His teachings were essentially on and of Love, a traditional keynote of this Water suit.
Exceptions to New Testament theme: Prophet.
The nativity of Jesus. This is the birth of Jesus, messenger of God and teacher of Love. This is similar to the card's meaning: abundance, fertility, fulfilment, joy, happiness, creativity and love.
This is the brothers Simon Peter and Andrew, the fishermen of Galilee. They were summoned by Jesus to be the "fishers of men". They were his first two disciples. This card means partnership and commitment.
This is Christ's feeding of the five thousand, or multitude from five loaves and two fishes. The card means celebration and renewal.
Jesus praying in the garden and the agony in the garden. Although 'agony' here signifies suffering, it is from the Greek and used to express the fears of a contestant before combat. Jesus, knowing his final hour of trial was near, retired to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. He prayed that the cup might be taken from him. In the Old Testament, the cup is a symbol for the punitive wrath of God, a cup which the guilty must drain to the dregs. However, if the cup was not to be taken from him, then he accepted his fate with the words "not as I will, but as thou wilt".
The card means: weariness, unhappiness, stagnation, emotional re-evaluation.
The kiss of Judas. This is the betrayal of Jesus for money. This is a card of shallow or broken relationships, as well as betrayal. It also conveys 'something lost and something gained', which here could mean the loss of Jesus and the gain for the world of the result of Jesus' sacrifice (all are brought closer to God).
The Apostles (the primary disciples of Jesus) preaching the Gospel (the coming of the Kingdom of God on Earth). They were filled with the Holy Ghost that they might spread the teachings of Jesus everywhere. They had firsthand knowledge and memories to draw upon for their mission.
The card means: memories, past influences, nostalgia, happy memories.
The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. Both went into the Temple to pray. The Pharisee (a member of a Jewish sect) thanked God that he was not as other men and boasted of his virtues and strict religious observances. The Publican (a tax collector) stood humbly afar off and "smote upon his breast", saying "God be merciful to me a sinner". Jesus interpreted the latter as justified, as he was humble and not full of himself. Others might have seen it the other way round, and this gives the meaning of this card: 'all that glitters is not gold'.
The conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus. Saul was a hater and persecutor of Christians. After his conversion by divine revelation he took the name Paul and led a very active missionary life.
The card means: abandonment of previous plans, or moving away from an old (emotional) situation or relationship.
The Last Supper. This is the last meal that Jesus shared with his disciples. This card tells of a time of fulfilment and well-being, particularly at a physical level.
The Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ. He returns to the presence of God.
This card means lasting spiritual happiness.
Isaiah. Many of his prophecies are thought to refer to the coming of Christ. Thus his suitability to the suit of Cups.
Saint John, believed to be the 'beloved' disciple of Jesus. Thus he suits the suit of Cups. The special concern of his gospel is the inspiration and divine nature of Christ. John received the essence of the Initiatic Teaching from Jesus. On Patmos he received the mystical Book of Revelation.
This is a repentant Mary Magdalene. She was one of Jesus' main followers, known as the 'apostle to the apostles'. In the Middle Ages she was merged with Mary of Bethany and with an unnamed sinful woman who anointed Jesus' feet. Her popular reputation was as a promiscuous prostitute and sinner. Thus her need to be repentant.
However, apocryphally she is the closest of Jesus' disciples and the only one who truly understood his teachings. She may even have had a sexual relationship with him and married. So she - and not John - may be the 'beloved' disciple.
Saint Peter was the rock of the Church. As the first pope, he is reputedly the father of all Christians. Jesus gave him the keys of the kingdom of heaven, meaning he was given the authority to interpret what was forbidden or permitted to Christians.
Another idea for the King of Cups was Joseph, the father of Jesus or at least the head of the Holy Family.
by Bruce Mitchell
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