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Sophie-David 
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Legend: Ace of Cups, The Holy Grail


Legend's Ace of Cups is a beautiful card of mystical power, although this scan makes the imagery appear much more garish than the original. This card closely parallels the imagery of Temperance, the Cauldron of Annwn. Anna-Marie tells us in A Keeper of Words that she made this a deliberate association. The Grail and the Cauldron of Annwn are both blue vessels, trimmed with gold. Both are attended by nine Celtic priestesses in blue, and both vessels are images of healing and sustenance.

But where Temperance depicts a dynamic scene of waterly flow, and many of the priestesses are in movement, the Grail is stationary, as are the women. In fact the nine attendants of the Grail are gathered in a holy circle, as if invoking the Grail through meditative magic. The Grail itself is above their heads, perhaps not visible to them in their outer vision. Anna-Marie tells us that the Grail is supported by the tree of life, an image which roots the cup in the earth, and raises it up to the powers of heaven. She also informs us that a six winged seraph hovers above the cup - but is this angel arising from the cup or descending into it? The stem of the tree is surrounded by a ring of fire. In fact, in a deck with an abundance of watery imagery, this Ace is surprisingly lacking in the element, except in the blue colours of the Grail and its attendants.

Since the story of Camelot was in many respects the story of the Grail, the quest for this holy object giving purpose to the fellowship of knights, it is fitting that this powerful archetypal image initiates the suit of Cups. In the Grail, both pagan and Christian traditions fused into a potent symbol of transformation. Only through faith, selflessness and purity could a knight encounter this holy object, the quest being primarily an inner one, the Grail itself initiating the soul into transcendent enlightenment. In this realm, the feminine grail overcomes the perfected suitor with unitive love, raising the quester with rapture into eternal joy.

As Anna-Marie expresses beautifully of these questing knights:
Quote:
Their adventures served as catalysts, tempering, stressing, and accelerating their development until eventually they transgressed their limitations of thought, allowing the light to flood in. In this expansion and temporary dissolution of the self, one becomes immersed in the spirit of the Grail, absorbing (but not necessarily understanding) its mysteries. This is the ultimate mystical experience and communion sought by the knights and many souls of past and present.



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Know that you are - already - the Christ, the Bodhisattva. By your great love the One became Many, as with delight and joy you assumed the cloak of duality. Form is made of but three things: energy, change, and love.

Last edited by Sophie-David; 11-08-2005 at 14:55.
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WalesWoman 
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I love the imagry of this card as well, makes me think of the song, "Will the circle be unbroken..." and don't you know I think even tho' it is a churchy song, it recalls to me Appalachia and the celtic ties of those who live there.

Strength in unity, the spiritual collective, the "thing" that can be created when like minds come together and focus, much like the members on this forum.

So much we think of Ace of Cups as the beginning of love, of some new strong emotion, but when I see this card, I see what can be accomplished and created when forces join together to create something of great wonder and beauty.

Like the legend of the Grail, the collective imagining and desires that could possilble "call" a thing into being. Did the grail truly exist or was it the hoped for pallitive to help make sense in a drastically changing world, the bridge between the two different beliefs and lifestyles of pagan and Christianity, of bronze meets iron, of an island repeatedly invaded and conquered by new ideas, ways, beliefs, languages and linages?

I'm losing my train of thought trying to follow this one, maybe someone else has some thoughts to add.

Oh yeah, one more, maybe it's also when you have a group that believe in something so strongly, you can keep that thought, that feeling, that belief alive and strong and bigger than it could ever be held by individuals. But mostly the power of the collective soul.



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Sophie-David 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalesWoman
Oh yeah, one more, maybe it's also when you have a group that believe in something so strongly, you can keep that thought, that feeling, that belief alive and strong and bigger than it could ever be held by individuals. But mostly the power of the collective soul.
Yes, that's a good point I think, that this Ace evokes "the collective soul". Unlike many Aces of Cups, this one actually depicts a unified group and thus gives the whole suit an added power. After all, several of the suit of Cups are quite social in one way or another, but the Ace is very often singular. In this Ace we see the energy of Cups as rooted in the universal soul. In that respect the Grail does exist and always will.



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Know that you are - already - the Christ, the Bodhisattva. By your great love the One became Many, as with delight and joy you assumed the cloak of duality. Form is made of but three things: energy, change, and love.
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jujubee 
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I really like that - "the power of the collective soul". I see this card as a new beginning based on cultivated relationships. Your friends/family/partners all provide you with the support and base you need to form a new relationship. (Like you and your husband creating a baby is one really obvious example!)
I always see this card as one of the most hopeful cards in the deck - a reminder that you are not alone - you have your friends and loved ones supporting your dreams, hopes
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Sophie-David 
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BTW, welcome to the forums Jujubee! I hope you will enjoy your time here as much as I do!

In the Wisdom School which I have just returned from, one of the themes was kenosis, the pouring out of oneself as a love offering for others, that the earth herself was created in a great kenosis of divine love. As you imply, one of the great acts of human kenosis is in the giving of oneself in love making. In both these acts of creation we can imagine this Grail as a symbol of giving from the centre of one's eternal heart.



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Know that you are - already - the Christ, the Bodhisattva. By your great love the One became Many, as with delight and joy you assumed the cloak of duality. Form is made of but three things: energy, change, and love.
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WalesWoman 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jujubee
I always see this card as one of the most hopeful cards in the deck - a reminder that you are not alone - you have your friends and loved ones supporting your dreams, hopes
That is truly a lovely thought... welcome to the Legends study, Jujubee!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sophie-David
kenosis, the pouring out of oneself as a love offering for others, that the earth herself was created in a great kenosis of divine love.
David, this is absolutely the best description of Ace Cups I've ever heard.

The past week has seeb so much Ace Cups of every kind imaginable, I've never seen this card so visable in so many different forms and aspects. As the city, a soup bowl filled with the stormy overflow of floodwaters, outpouring of emotions of every dimension, and the support of all those doing what they can to fulfill the needs of those who need it most. This discussion has been languishing here, so it is so appropriate and right that it is revived again.



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RaaD 
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The ways the 6 winged angel is above the cup aiming to go in it makes me feel lik " Once empty heart shall be filled up again ". Just thoughts.
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