Alternative MethodsConventional Methods

June 2

The Enneagram and the Tarot Part 3: The Cups

Reading time 4 min.

The Breakdown

As stated in the previous articles, the Enneagram and the Tarot both allow us to put language to our self discovery. The Enneagram categorizes your fears and desires in order to help you grow and become your best self. The tarot on the other hand is a tool for inner guidance and is used to uncover and name your deepest beliefs, challenges, and motivations. Combining the two is a powerful way to elevate their individual messages.

The Tarot is complex, but the cards have three general purposes:

1)The Major Arcana help you to examine the universal truths within your situation.

2)The Minor Arcana (ace through ten) allow you to explore your actions and choices.

3)The Court Cards assist you in understanding your fears and motivations.

The Enneagram, on the other hand, is a set of nine distinct personality types defined by a person’s core fears and core motivations. All people display all nine types in some form, but we each have one core Enneagram number that drives us. By exploring the Enneagram you can deepen your understanding of your reactions to the world around you. There is a clear parallel between the language of the Enneagram and the court cards within the Tarot.

The Cups

In tarot, the cups represent emotional depth, intuition, and the unconscious. They can relate to relationships, feelings, and connection either with others or within one’s self. Fours in the Enneagram tend to focus on expression, individuality, creativity, and uniqueness. Fours appreciate the entire emotional spectrum and are known for their ability to sit in melancholy. Each cup four card displays some of the characteristics of a four. They each also have another number that they relate to individually.

The Page of Cups (4, 7)

The Page of Cups can have many of the strengths of fours and sevens in the Enneagram. They often make me think of Anne of Green Gables. Her infectious enthusiasm and creativity are powerful. But when she is hurt or upset, she is fully present in those feelings, occasionally to her own detriment. The Page is creative, optimistic, and imaginative. They are able to immerse themselves in day dreams and imagine things that are completely unique and seem impossible to others. Their inner child is bright, optimistic, and ever hopeful. The page is a young soul with a lot of feelings. They often are chasing fun, new, exciting projects or ideas without the maturity to ask themselves ‘why?’

In reverse, the Page of Cups can be stuck in their own melancholy. Often when the Page of Cups has feelings of “boredom” or “limitation,” it is a mask for emotional confusion. When they feel, they feel deeply. They often expect to feel either adored or ignored. The Page’s biggest fear is being insignificant and boring. In reverse, they have somehow gotten away from themselves- either by having their head in the clouds or by being immersed in their feelings and unable to see outside of themselves. They might feel creatively stuck, like they are unable to express their individuality or like people aren’t properly appreciating their efforts.

The Knight of Cups (4, 2)

The Knight of Cups can display some of the best characteristics of Fours and Twos on the Enneagram. They are quite the romantic and enjoy helping others, often playing the ‘white knight.’ They value emotional connection and are not afraid to access their own feelings. They are relationship oriented and tune themselves in to the emotional needs of others. They enjoy collaborating and connecting on a deeper level.

In reverse, the Knight of cups can reflect some of the more negative aspects of fours and twos. They fear that they are unlovable and without significance. They can get lost in other people’s needs and emotions as a way of trying to feel valued. In reverse, the Knight might have ulterior motives when helping others, most likely seeking appreciating, approval, and gratitude. They can become prideful and feel like people owe them for being so “giving and altruistic.” In reverse, the Knight might also be struggling with jealousy or codependency in their relationships.

The Queen of Cups (4, 9)

The Queen of Cups is caring, compassionate, nurturing, and selfless, displaying the qualities of fours and nines. She is a mother figure with strong emotional balance and control. The Queen is forgiving, helpful, and deep. She knows how to help others through their emotional depths. The Queen enjoys connection and finds fulfilment in helping others work through hard emotions, because she herself is not afraid of the discomfort of difficult feelings.

In reverse the Queen of Cups can be drained, worn out, and even numb. She may be so focused on helping others that she is ignoring her own needs. She might also be having trouble accessing her anger. The Queen of Cups biggest fears are being insignificant and being without connection with others. When she is in reverse, she might be avoiding things she thinks will cause disconnection or conflict (anger, frustration, a strong opinion about something, etc). In reverse the Queen’s biggest need is to focus inward, and ‘refill her own cup,’ so to speak.

The King of Cups (4, 8)

The King of Cups is a strong, compassionate, diplomatic leader with many strengths of fours and eights in the enneagram. When balanced, he is not afraid to express his full range of emotions and lead by example. His emotional maturity and stability allow him to face any obstacle with a level head and a calm mind. He takes emotional responsibility. He offers wise counsel regarding relationships, and emotions. A healthy 8 on the enneagram recognizes that vulnerability is an asset and important for growth. So does the King of Cups.

In reverse the King might be experiencing an overwhelming emotion that he is unable to keep in check. He might have past trauma that has been activated, throwing him out of balance. This causes him to throw up his defenses, and avoid vulnerability and emotional connection completely. When out of balance, the King is defensive and protects his vulnerability at all costs. The King might even be in denial about his emotional needs. At his worst, he might be using his strong emotional intelligence to manipulate others and push his own personal agenda.


The Enneagram is so much more complex than these explorations give it credit for. All people experience all nine types within themselves in completely unique ways. The benefit of this exploration is that it allows us to put language to those experiences in new contexts. The drawback is that it almost turns the Enneagram types into caricatures, particularly when Tarot cards are used to represent real people in our lives. Just know that the intention of these articles is to add depth to a tool already in place for self reflection and growth. It is meant to increase self awareness around our own fears and motivations, not to dilute the Enneagram or represent other people out of context. For more information on the Enneagram, I encourage you to look into the Enneagram Institute.

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