Equanimity. That is another good word for the King of Cups. In yesterday’s blog post I wrote about the King of Cups from the perspective of empathy. Equanimity, however, is another important aspect of this royal arcana. It is the ability to notice and observe the waves of emotions as they occur both in yourself and in those around you.
From an elemental perspective, the King of Cups is “air of water.” The suit of Cups represents water (feelings and emotions, femininity), the Kings represent air (reason, analysis, argument and conflict, masculinity). The King of Cups therefore is capable of observing and acknowledging the flow of emotions with calmness and composure.
Furthermore, the King of Cups does not beat himself up over the various negative emotions that occur; he acknowledges them, acknowledges that he feels them, gives himself permission to feel them, and by doing so, allows them to pass without creating havoc in his own life and the lives of those around him. In short, by observing and acknowledging the emotional content of his heart and the hearts of others, he does not give those emotions power over him.
Clearly when the King of Cups occurs twice in a row, after (21) The World, we are being called upon to immerse ourselves wholeheartedly in the “dance of life” with open eyes and in a spirit of equanimity.
While emotions can often be felt, viscerally, they as often as not manifest themselves in the thoughts that race through our minds, the “airy nothings” that can drive us into a frenzy of rage, indignation or resentment and other negative emotions.
Take last night for an example. I had had a happy and fulfilling day meeting new and returning students at a college where I teach. However, when I went to bed I found myself, immediately after I had lain down, in the middle of an argument with a creature of my imagination that had no connection with the events of the day, but had been triggered by some news or opinions I’d read on social media. When I noticed what was going on I paused, breathed deeply, chuckled at myself and let it go. Perhaps that is why the King of Cups returned today, to reinforce yesterday’s lesson!
This week, Holy Week, in the final days of Lent, let us practice what the King of Cups has repeated to us. To do so, we need to spend some time with the Lenten (9) Hermit, insulating ourselves from the racket of the world so that we can quietly concentrate on the motions of our hearts, and our posture ought to be one of radical self-acceptance, and a complete shift of perspective which is offered by the (12) Hanged Man which adds up (9 + 12) to nothing less than fully accepting the dance of Life as it is, (21) World without end. Amen.