The Ace of Cups is a clear example of the Catholic nature of the Waite-Smith Tarot.
It signifies redemption and devotion in a religious sense. Waite specifically signals this image as the “intimation of that which may lie behind the lesser Arcana”, i.e. the mysteries of the Shekinah, or feminine presence of the divine, and our redemption through its holy agency.
In our book we show how Waite alludes to this mystery, and what it meant to him – we read how he clues us in by the also describing this card as “the house of the true heart”, the true heart being the ‘immaculate heart of Mary’ in Catholic teaching.
You may be surprised to know that this is the first time – here, on this page – this connection to “M” for Mary and the mysteries of the Shekinah (central to Waite and his version of the Tarot) has been clearly revealed, despite a century of people guessing about the card in hundreds of books and thousands of websites.
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We know that Waite saw the Tarot as an illustration of the soul’s ascent through the mysteries of the Shekinah because whilst it is not explicit in the Waite-Smith Tarot, he made it explicit in his second Tarot images, the Waite-Trinick Tarot, which he designed ten years later.
We reveal A. E. Waite’s astonishing second Tarot deck images in our book, Abiding in the Sanctuary (Forge Press, 2011) with full colour illustrations licensed from the British Museum.
Learn the True Intentions of the Designs of the Tarot and the secrets of the Shekinah
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Learn More about the meanings of this card in everyday readings in Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot and over at our free sister-site, My Tarot Card Meanings where you can also download a free guide to card meanings and spreads, Keys to the Tarot by Andrea Green.