A seated king and his throne dominates this card. The throne is squarely facing the viewer but the man has turned himself and his attention slightly to the viewer’s right. He wears a cap of maintenance under his adorned crown. An amulet in the shape of a fish hangs from his neck and lies over an rich cloak that spills over the left side of the throne. In his left hand is a short scepter. In his right hand is a large formal chalice. Water flows around the dais emphasizing the nature of the suit. Behind the throne, on the viewer’s left is a dolphin. (Really, it’s a dolphin.) Behind on the viewer’s right is a ship with full sails. The sky above is cloudless.
This is a card with two faces. Which King of Cups is seen is dependent on the context of the query. In most matters, it refers a Man of the Arts, a person that is deeply involved in artistic and/or scientific endeavors. Do not forget that Modern Science was birthed from Alchemy, and both are a subset of the Arts. Is there inspiration? Then there is Art. And the King of Cups is one that has dedicated herself to her chosen Art. So here we can have the white-coated scientists in a room full of beakers and tools, but we also have the music composer with a hard drive full of tracks to layer and sync. We have the lawyer striving to use the system for the betterment of laymen, and we have the priest writing prose that explains how the love of her god is accessible by all. Anywhere there is dedication to creativity, where there is a striving for something better, where the Muses strike with madness inspiration, is the kingdom of the King of Cups.
When this Servant of the Muses is ill-dignified, all that creativity is turned against the target. Instead of using his skills to help, he either sabotages the works or refuses to help entirely. The scientist that allows the wrong data to be published so the target of his jealousy is harmed. The painter that sets fire to a long awaited masterpiece than allow a disliked patron to take possession of it. The lawyer that extorts personal “favors” from his client. She abuses faith and sacrifices trust.
The other face of the King of Cups is the Boy-King. Perhaps this is the younger version of the Servant of the Muses. He is in a position of power, but is still innocent of its potential for abuse. Capricious and flighty, he directs those under him as if playing a quickly forgotten game. Easily swayed, as long as he thinks the idea came from him. Really, really resents his mother parental figures. Over-emotional, slow to accept guilt, quick to blame others. It would seem he is his own worst enemy.
Until he is ill-dignified. Then he seeks to pull apart his targets as if they were his sibling’s dolls. The more creative the damage, the better. But the Boy-King is not untouchable, and his torment scorches his own lands more than his targets’. He is a game piece in someone else’s hands, and if he doesn’t mature soon, he will be overthrown and replaced as the power behind the throne seeks to minimize the collateral damage.
Most of the time, it is the Servant of the Muses that appear on the table. When the card references the Boy-King, it is direct, unambiguous, and a clear warning to the Querent.