If you ever want to see two of my favorite Six of Cups cards, go to my article on Arnell Ando’s Hero’s Journey and Transformational Tarot decks. I go into great detail discussing this card and my own feelings and interpretations of it. Arnell’s two cards are quite different from each other. The Hero’s Journey approaches the concept of Pleasure with a grouping of friends gathered about a table in the middle of a beautiful garden. The Transformational Tarot Six of Cups is really the only "child-focused" version that I like. This is because the concept of nostalgia, which, if not given the proper interpretation and balance, can become something not healthy or productive. Arnell avoids this admirably with her irresistible little cherubs.
That article was a great jumping off point for me in beginning to reconcile my own interpretations of this card, but my feelings were not yet completely resolved. I loved both of Arnell’s cards for two totally different reasons. I felt they each presented very important aspects of the concept of Pleasure as it pertains to the suit of Cups. I kept wishing I could sew them together and use both. This 2:00 a.m. idea was what finally made the card go "click" for me.
All of the sixes in the tarot are about perfect harmony and balance - giving and receiving. Remembering this helped me understand how to marry the two concepts depicted in Arnell’s cards into one.
I knew that I wanted my card to be all about the giving and receiving of emotional pleasure.
Take a look at this card and the first figure you will notice is the small boy. Youthful exuberance and ecstatic happiness radiate from him as he basks in the sunlight and the water springing up at him and then cascading downward. Yes, you could say that he is definitely receiving emotional pleasure.
One can get so wrapped up in this amazing boy that the other key figure to the card can easily be overlooked. Look to the left and you will see her, holding onto another small child. She is the grandmother of these two children. It is she who has set up the hose and sprinkler for the boy. It is she who remembers what it was like to be a young child on a hot summer day; hoping for an adult to bring joy and relief in the form of a simple sprinkler hose.
Think on this card and the relationships of emotion flowing amongst the figures. The grandmother remembers something that gave her pleasure. She is experiencing a renewal of that joy, NOT by retreating into memories and fantasies, but by acting upon it. Magician-like, she draws that experience from within her and resets the stage for this joy to be experienced by a new generation.
You may look at this picture and think of the child as the receiver of pleasure and the grandmother as the giver of pleasure, but there is much more happening here. For BOTH of these figures are giving and receiving pleasure. While this small boy basks in both the physical and emotional "liquids" that are pouring over him, he, in turn is giving pleasure to his grandmother. By watching him luxuriate in the pleasure she has created for him, she is receiving pleasure in return.
Both are giving and receiving Pleasure. The emotional impacts vary…his are childlike and more elemental in nature, hers are more "grown up", more varied and complex.
But the mutual experience – that giving and receiving - defines the nature of the six of this suit.