Tarotelic: King of Cups

When Napoleon Bonaparte arrived in France in his early childhood, the French Revolution was in full swing. Peasants had wrestled control away from the nobility, and everyone was addressed as ‘citizen.’ The former hierarchy was no longer recognized. In fact, if former nobility referred to themselves by their noble titles such as Baron or Judge instead of merely ‘citizens’, they were sent to the guillotine. Anyone who thought themselves better than the ruling class were executed. The problem with that was that this began a sort of witch-hunt, people were being round-up and executed based on rumours and corridor-whispers, often as the result of envy or malice. This led to the execution of many innocent civilians during this period. Even Maximilien Robespierre, one of the founders of the revolution, had his head chopped off for not towing the line! In short, anarchy ruled.

Someone needed to step-up and take control of this downwardly spiralling situation. That person was Napoleon. He brought back law and order and was very charismatic, gaining a huge following in the military as well as in the civilian population.

The French Revolution was a very emotional issue for many, and Napoleon brought this back into normality, creating stability where before people were reacting from an emotional basis in their ruthless executions of so many who were perceived to consider themselves ‘better than’ the masses.

It was under Napoleon’s influence that France became a dominant world power in Europe.

The Kings in tarot are generally indicative of having achieved a certain control of the element in question. King of Cups is a solid individual who has gained control of his emotions through experience and wisdom. Today’s card therefore focuses on the realm of emotions, and prods us to examine whether we have become the ruler of our emotions yet, or whether they still rule us.

In support of this in today’s Tarotelic segment I’d like to share an important poem by Rudyard Kipling, called “If.”

IF you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:


If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:


If you can make one heap of all your winnings 

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,

if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!




Leave a Reply