Card Meanings,  Cups,  Sacred Circle

Journey Into: Ace of Cups

Written by: Emma Sunerton-Burl

Continuing her series, Emma Sunerton-Burl looks into the cards of The Sacred Circle Tarot, by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason, published by Llewellyn:

I look at the card and I see the rose hips around the top and a shining chalice. There is a rainbow in the distance with a field of corn in the mid ground.

I walk into the card.

I feel the air is warm and I am in the shade; the rose bush goes all around me in an arch. I look to the rose bush and ask it for its meaning.

“I am in the time of my fruit – forming the seeds of the new beginnings which are to come. I am both protected and also have had my time of blossoming so I am readying for the letting go of the old phase and the beginning of new possibilities. I am cleansing in my action; my medicine is to heal. It is a time of harvesting the fruits of labour and in this card I show the meaning of the new beginning emotionally. The rose of love is my potential, but right now I am only a seed and may still reflect a bit on my past loves, but I also know I have within me the ability to love again. I am also representing the learning you gain from relationship, the consolidation of that learning; really understanding what it was all about and using it in the future.“

“Thank you rose.“ I say “That is interesting.“

“I am also the one who allows myself to be supported as I grow, I represent this too, the ability to be oneself yet also be supported. I am delicate love and a healthy heart.“

“Thank you.“

I look ahead and see the golden chalice standing before me part in the sunlight and part in the shade. There is a face on the chalice – I ask the face:

“Who are you and what do you represent?“

“I am yourself – I am the face of your loving being – I represent true love – loving of yourself with both your dark sides and your light sides; the unconditional love of all of you. I am the container for your own being as your body is a container for your spirit. Drink from me; I will rejuvenate you and refresh you. I will help you reconnect with your spirit, for this is what truly reduces the stresses of life. Knowing you are love, knowing there are no flaws in the Universal plan and connecting with that high spiritual part of yourself; you know you are safe and that nothing can harm you. As you contact this knowing you are made new again and you can reach out in the world full of trust and faith.“

“Wow – thank you!” I say. “And the faces beside you on the chalice?“

“These are the faces of the parts of you that you have expressed before. Each of us has many sides and all are represented here on this chalice. The whole of you encompasses all parts and none are left out – all is perfect within you, even if you express only a small portion to the world at a time.“
I walk to the chalice and hold it up to the light and drink of it knowing I am drinking of a deepest part of myself, the fluid within it seems to be golden and exquisitely tasting, it seems to refresh and open up every part of me it touches. I notice the most that my heart opens and fears reduces. I know I am safe and that there is nothing for me to fear. I feel I am simultaneously bathed in golden light and this light is healing me on very deep levels.

I realise I have become the chalice in a way, and that it can now reside within me as a well of support and spiritual light for me to drawn upon – so I walk forward as if through the chalice yet at the same time as if merging with it and carrying it with me onwards.

I walk into the field of corn and hear it rustle in the breeze – it feels like the most gentle music which is lulling me and comforting me, bringing peace with it and movement. I sway with it for a while.

Then I ask “ What do you represent here?“

“We are the music that heals, the sounds of nature that help you let go of energies that are not your own. We help you know you have everything within you that you need. We are also the harvest of your work – you have grown to come to this point and now you can harvest the rewards of all the difficult times in your past. It is time to start again with a new energy on a new level. You attract new people to you at this time – those more suitable for your new vibration. You are able to give to a community as you are refreshed and have the energy to give. Along with others you make a difference to the world. Go where you heart draws you… it is your destiny.“

I walk further through the field and see the tree standing tall alone – beautiful in its asymmetry.

“Hello tree – what you you have for me today?“ I ask.

“I am your strength and your grounding, I am your roots, that which you came into this life with. I am your independence and your courage to stand alone and be who you are, needing no other to validate your position. I am that I am. You are that you are too. I am flexible yet do not conform to any rules. I am my own true spirit and nature. I am timeless and unchanging yet in the seasons of the year I change continuously. You too are like this at your soul level, you are just as you are, unchanging and timeless – yet as the energies change around you with each passing moment, you respond and change – you flow, gathering energy then releasing it. Living within the cycle of life, each lifetime comes and goes, you are still you and yet you are different. As you do not judge your differences, you connect with the timeless within you and you are at peace, knowing each difference is merely an experience.“
“Thank you tree – I really can feel what you are saying here and it is useful for me to hear this at this time.“

I look up to the sky and to the rainbow.

“I am the humour, the frivolity and the joy in life,“ Says the rainbow, “transitory yet always possible. I am the time after the storm; the work and the expression of inner conflict. I am the beauty that comes from the changing person. As each of you changes yourself your process is seen by spirit as the most beautiful energy that there is – you are refining higher and higher energies. When you are working with dense energies, the release of the old and embracing of the new brings forth a cosmic rainbow. I mark the transition between the old difficulties and the new life you are now embarking upon. Use my image to bring about transformation and to embrace a deep change. Once the transition is complete I fade away as you turn to focus on the new environment in which you are to learn.“

“Celebrate joyfully the new opportunities that lie before you. I also represent the analysis of the new in the way the light is split into its components and you see another level of beauty in the rainbow. As you change there is a part of time devoted to assessing and analysing what has happened; how and what it means; what went into make things change and happen within you. As you look over the course of events you begin to see the order and the plan. The pain is over and it leaves you to celebrate the joy and the gold you have gained from situations you have faced, experienced and overcome. As you see the value of the difficulty you understand the meaning, so you come to accept and use this knowledge in future transformations knowing that the rainbow will come in time and you will know the meaning of your pathway.“

“Thank you rainbow – I love your message, I am filled with joy at your energy.“

I find myself rising into the sky and feel the warmth of the sun. I feel the sun’s self-loving and respecting energy, bathing me and helping me know this of myself. I allow myself to glide for a while in the warmth and nurturing energy. Then I ask – of all: “What is the reversed meaning then?“

“It is the avoiding of the new, the difficulty in noticing that the work is done and it is time to focus on joy. Sometimes people become stuck in the work of growth and find it hard to look up and realise how far they have come, they keep working at it when it is the time for harvesting the benefits of the work achieved. To right the card you merely have to let go of the struggle and trust spirit – knowing you will be looked after and all the new starts you have been striving for are actually available for you now, if you only look ahead and see them. But while you look down and into the shadows to the exclusion of the light you avoid the joy of just being.“

“It can also represent when someone is stuck in wanting the ‘rainbow’ to last for ever. In a relationship – the initial stages of joy and the ‘honeymoon’ move on to the period of work and being in life together, sharing each other’s pain and growth without getting lost in it. As reversed card someone is almost pretending it is all as it was in the beginning to avoid the actual new life together, the intimacy and the challenges this brings with it. It is also where someone is not recognising their own self worth out of habitual self-denigration which no longer really is rooted in self belief but only habit. Break the habit and the joy flows forward unstopping.“

“Thank you. I really appreciated the messages you have shared with me here today – you all have deep things to say and valuable lessons to share. Thank you.“

I turn and glide to the ground and walk through the rose archway and out of the card. I am given a pink wild rose as I leave and I feel this is a reminder for me to be gentle on myself and to treat myself with the loving care I am worth as I walk forward into the new future ahead of me.


Emma welcomes any comments on this article or the visualisations you do following this method. Email her on

Emma works as an intuitive psychic tarot reader and runs one to one online training courses on reading with the Thoth tarot deck using a unique blend of intuition and psychological techniques. This has now been extended to working intuitively with RWS style decks too. She also mentors other professional and non-professional tarot readers. She offers visualisation MP3 downloads for intuition development, tarot readings F2F, telephone or distance, and healing – see her website for details: 

Emma has a Bsc in Psychology and is a trained counsellor, counselling supervisor and trainer. She integrates this experience in her Tarot work, and in her self-written training courses for personal development, Tarot, and Tarot mentoring.

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