Over a calm body of water a great and brilliant right hand emerges from a short pillar of clouds in the right of this card. Held steady in the palm is a round chalice decorated with tiny adornments around the top of the stem. An ethereal dove descends from above, bearing a small disc inscribed with an equal armed cross and seeking to add this disc to the bowl of the chalice. Five streams of water emerge from the bowl of the chalice, two on one side, three on the other, flowing up then turning above the chalice rim to descend straight down to the body of water below. Drops of water surround the flow, but the water-lilies below are undisturbed.
The Aces of a suit can be the seed or the fulfillment. The Ace of Cups then is the first drop of water into an empty reservoir, and that same reservoir now filled to the ultimate test of the dam forming it. The analogy of emotions, feelings, and intuition to the movement of bodies of water is an apt one. Just as water can trickle along in a lazy creek, or stampede through a plain as a flood, so too can emotions be scarce to detect at times, and overwhelming a person to disaster at others. The Ace of Cups represents the stored potential, and the storm in progress, as circumstances and dignities allow.
For those matters where a more simple divination is requested, or for those that would not tolerate “Get in touch with your feelings, man!” as acceptable, this card also signifies joy, contentment, and unconditional happiness. An abundance of those things that would help you to obtain or enjoy said joy, contentment, and unconditional happiness, and the even greater warmth of sharing those things with the people you care about. So overall, a very positive and very encouraging card.
Ill-dignified, all of that joy and happiness is exposed as wishful thinking, or the result of a deep delusion. The Querent is not allowing themselves to be happy as they are, but are placing impossible and dangerous conditions on their “One day I’ll be happy” list. The flow of emotions is not smooth and pleasant, but jarring and unpredictable. The Querent is risking abdicating control of their heart to someone else, that may or may not have their best interests at heart. However, the ill-dignified Ace of Cups is also a card of rebellion and revolution. The status quo is no longer pleasant and the Querent has had fucking enough of the circumstances. Since nothing will change without something breaking, break all the hearts and let’s go.