The Six of Cups – The 3 Characters
Added at 21:11 on 15 March 2023
We find three characters in the Six of Cups, and all three are frequently confused with things other than what they are.
You can read more in detail in my book Understanding Tarot which goes into detail with the card’s symbolism.
Beginning with the man walking away from the couple in the front of the card, move to the back and to the left. This is a guard. Here is another Mystical Blurb post on him – The Six of Cups – The Guard.
So, to the other two – are they children or adults?
Many believe the female to be an elderly woman, but she is a child, a toddler.
How do we know this?
The child’s hair is something to look at. A lot of people presume this due to the short, curly, fair hair; she is a mature woman as her face is not drawn as a child's would be as it lacks the chubbiness. When this image was drawn in 1909 by Pamela Colman Smith, women had long hair for the most part, yet not all the female characters have long hair; in some it is short, and in some it is not certain if it is "up" or short, as when length is given it is to show youth, as in a young woman, and colour is relevant. This character has short blonde hair; grey would show wisdom; for her to be mature, it would be dark; for her to be of a fiery disposition, it would be red, or strawberry blonde, as it is throughout the deck. Blonde symbolises youth and innocence. If she were an old woman, her hair would be grey, symbolising age and wisdom within the RWS.
The mitten is another giveaway for this being a young child. Mittens are for small children. So, this is a child. As it is white, it shows that she is ready to accept what is gifted to her with a pure heart.
The other is a boy, older, granted, but not a man, not an adult. His dress also shows us a lot about him, as he wears headwear called a chaperon.
Taken from the book Understanding Tarot "The older child is wearing an orange hat called a chaperon with the tail called a liripipes – a hat which is also a shawl. In some versions, their hats are alternate colours, with the younger child in orange and this older child in red. Whilst for keeping warm and dry, it is also a bit of frivolity, a fashion statement; the name liripipes can also be interchanged with liripoop, meaning a person who is silly."
Their ages represent innocence, and the guard provides protection for that, a place where they can be safe from the outside world, as we feel when we reminisce. The boy is gifting her what he has, and that can be what he wishes to give as a gift of love; it can be seen as passing the baton down—a right of passage; it can be fun, love, and all of those things that are set like a freeze frame in our heads when we look at the past.
More: Six of Cups