so I saw you by the riverside
dipped my feet into dark waters
where everything was half-moon bright
my heart spun in your current
river deep, and knight so cold
and I spoke with words ne'er to be told
you replied to my pleas to the moon on the water
you took my hand and said it was alright
you had me make a wish, and made no promises
you led me into your reflection
and were gone, like a fish in the river
like a raindrop on the pavement
like you never were more than a whisper in my mind.
...and that is how I met the Knight of Cups and what I did to him when I found him, or vice versa, told in retrospect because it's the only way to be. Verse has jack-all to do with Conway's lovely picture - a knight armoured in shell and scale, shown in profile as he looks into his cup of dark water, which is fountaining enthusiastically all over the middle of the card. I like that it's a profile, because I for one can never see this guy straight on - I might notice him in hindsight, or get obsessed with his reflection, but in all my life he's never looked me in the eye.
Who is this guy?
He's a bit of a paradox - the torchbearer of Water, a light shining under the sea. He follows his heart, but only he can see where it leads; you're lucky if you can work it out by inference. His waters are as much for drowning as for drinking.
Unlike the Knight of Wands or Knight of Swords, he's never at full charge; his movements are calm, steady, or even hesitant. If the horse represents the knight's ego, his is well in hand - or he may be a little unsure of himself, in spite of the path he's on. I'm finding it hard to say anything concrete about this card...
Images of the Knight of Cups
The RWS (from the Universal Waite recolour), also in profile, staring at who knows what.
Amano seems to be showing the Knight of Cups in the role of a lover; his posture is taut, and I think the cup in his hands may be a gift for another. All we see of his horse is its head, with a rose held in its mouth - perhaps this knight has pushed his ego aside entirely, but on the other hand only one of Amano's knights is pictured on horseback.
Osho's knight has a different means of transport. Its title is 'trust'...something I failed to touch on above. Trusting the Knight is the only way to get anywhere with him, mentally - you can never see what he sees, so you need to put faith in what he tells and shows you. Faith I often lack.
From the Robin Wood tarot, here's a knight astride a merbeast, a seashell on his head. It's gorgeous but where's the viewer standing, eh?, that's what I want to know.
And Scapini has drawn someone suitably hideous, riding a horse that looks like it's about to die. This shows a potential for folly and delusion in the soggy path of the Knight of Cups.
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