The Three of Cups shows three people having a party, raising their cups high and dancing around each other. The card is notoriously flat in its illustration – much more so than the rest. This can only be taken to represent the superficial nature of harmless revelry and fun. There are some images of flowers and fruits, but the focus is generally on the three figures having a good time together.
This card has a less personal meaning than the Two of Cups, which is usually about a blossoming connection between two people. Any site offering free online Tarot card reading will tell you that it is about people coming together to achieve a common goal, though this is usually to have fun or complete a hobby or side project, and not a world-shattering quest. It is also about the support of friends and family, but also of a formal institution.
Appearance and Symbolism
The Three of Cups is one of the flattest cards in the Minor Arcana – there is very little detail aside from the three figures on the card. This can be taken in itself to represent the frivolity and light nature of the card.
The three figures are attired in bright colours and are dancing together, smiling and laughing. They each hold a cup, which in this case can only represent wine and the enjoyment of things that bring no profits or create anything of true value.
Despite this, there is a hint that the frivolity of the card, and all of the imagery on it, carries its own intrinsic value.
A Tarot card interpretation of the cards of the suit of Cups usually has something to do with emotions and love. The Three of Cups is a slight exception to this, as it usually means that the simple, care-free pleasures you can find in the company of others have little bearing on the rest of your life, or your romantic happiness. It could signify that simply coming together with some like-minded people for fun first, and production second, could yield some pleasant results.
It could also simply signify that it is time to let your hair down and have a little bit of fun, before getting too serious with a new project or relationship. The third person indicates that this is not a time to be pairing off in a couple and neglecting the fun you could be having in a larger group of your friends.
Inverted this card usually means that you are isolating yourself from your greater group of friends, and that it is time to come out of isolation and go out for a drink with everyone, even though you would probably rather sit at home with your significant other with a bottle of wine and a DVD. Get out there and have a party – or the next time your friends go out they might forget to invite you.