Tarot lore teaches us that the Two of Cups is the first manifestation of the elemental waters into the Universe, the energy of water in its highest form. In this card we find an expression of Divine Love because the masculine and feminine are still united, not yet having moved forward on their individual journeys of creation. The symbol is exalted harmony, perfect and radiant, joy at its source.

How is Love defined after all? Is Love dependent on the relationship, different kinds of love for different people and situations as in the case of marriage and various pleasures as the Two of Cups often represents? Or is there but One Love, expressed in the Totality of the Divine’s Creation, in all the various forms and feelings we experience from moment to moment?

Love as a state of being and Love as a practice represent two dynamics of a consciousness that is both unified as Source expressed in its Creation (human beings, the earth and all we can imagine), as well as perceived and experienced by its Creation. In other words, we are products of Divine Love and indeed we are that Divine Love itself, and at the same time, we have forgotten our true natures and have rather learned to identify as individuals among a plurality of existence; hence the practice of love through emotion and feeling and various forms of conceptualization.

To quote an ancient Tantrik scripture called the Philosophy of Revelation (Mālinīślokavārttika 1.894-5 ) written by the scholar-sage Abhinavagupta in the late 10th century (Transl. Wallis & Williams):

 “That which possesses the central Power, replete with the flood of all the feeling-states existing within; that which is beautiful with the universal joy arising from essence-nature when it is stimulated by innate desire; that which is vibrating eternally, beautiful with the nectar of complete creative emission — that is the union of Shiva and Shakti. It’s called Love.”


The seeker searches for validation, harmony, ultimately Union with the Lord, hither and thither outside themselves, engaging in this ritual or that, this practice or that, when the whole time that which is sought for has already been established in the original heart of innocence.  An awakening of the heart to the Divine Presence already established therein necessitates a radical shift in perspective to a broader view that realizes every human drama as just another aspect of the Divine play. Once this perspective has been achieved, we are truly freed to be our original natures, and the external drama which never goes away, still can hardly touch that. This is what it means to transcend.

An excerpt from another 10th century scholar, Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa, sums up the view nicely in his treatise Crest Jewel of Hymns (Stava-cintāmaṇi).

“With my eyes closed, secretly enjoying the wonder of inner love,

Saying unto You: Namah Śivāya, Homage to You, O Śiva!

I would like to worship everything,

I would like to worship everything till the last blade of grass!

Give me Your grace, o Beloved!

Then, my soul remaining forever at Your feet, I will be filled with ecstasy,

and will dissolve in an ever renewed and eternal enchantment

Crazy and overfilled with love, overwhelmed with bliss,

Your worshippers spin, vibrating with their entire being because of the ineffable touch of Your Grace

Blinded by tears of joy, with their faces blossomed open, uttering incoherent words in the cosmic dance of love

The love in the Supreme Divine,

The love in You, O Shambhu!

The overflow of love, I cry with all my soul!

May my love, burning and deep be only in You!

I would like to cry: Śiva! To cry once more, to always cry: Śiva!

I would like to laugh and cry of joy in the drunkenness of love.

In my ardent search, I went out of my soul, in full moon-shine

In my ardent search, I came to realize that God unites with God…

This whole world is You, O Śiva!

What are all these things and beings?

They are Your eyes.”

Compare with the 16th century poem Dark Night of the Soul written by St. John of the Cross. In this tale of deepest despair, John has lost his faith; his connection with the Divine seemingly shattered as he is driven into the most terrible of depressions, until that is, he is brought back to recollection and understanding of his true nature.

The Two of Cups when it is reversed both warns you against wasting your time with trivialities and capricious acts, as well as encourages you with the knowledge of where you came from. You are a product of Divine Joy, Divine Love. Act and live accordingly.