In my last post, I used the Queen of Swords as a lens through which to look at some aspects of self-care that don’t bring us immediate pleasure, like keeping a schedule or breaking off toxic relationships. In this post, let’s turn to the Queen of Cups for some softer, gentler ways to take care of ourselves.
The cups suit represents water, fluidity, emotion, intuition, and love–both romantic and platonic. Here are some ideas that came out of my meditation on the Queen of Cups:
Forming and strengthening relationships. Contrary to the Queen of Swords’s propensity to push people away, the Queen of Cups beckons friends, family, and lovers closer. Did you know that isolation and loneliness are major factors in the depression epidemic? Humans are a social species, and we need companionship, community, and physical touch in order to be healthy. I myself can be a pretty solid recluse sometimes, but my own depression starts to flare up when I spend too much time alone. Do what you need to do to form bonds with other people. Maybe it’s as simple as picking up the phone. Maybe you need to find strategies to work through trauma or social anxiety. The Queen of Cups reminds us that we’re hardwired to flourish with companionship.
Staying hydrated. Yeah, this one seems obvious–until you find yourself exhausted and cranky with a pounding headache and a foggy brain. More and more work environments frown on taking time to eat a meal, and I find that our fear of nourishing ourselves often extends to water, too. Have a glass of water or a cup of tea or a bowl of soup. Remember that moisturizing counts as hydration, too! Put on some lotion. Condition your hair. It’s not frivolous or vain, it’s taking care of the marvelous construction of starstuff that is your body.
Cleansing yourself. The physical and psychological benefits of taking a bath or shower are manifold. You wash off viruses and bacteria that could infect you. Steam clears out your sinuses and pores. And feeling clean is uplifting and physically pleasurable. Often, when we’re unwell, hygiene is one of the first things to go, but the Queen of Cups implores us to do whatever it takes to get ourselves into that bathtub. Metaphorical and energetic cleansing are important, too; if you find rituals like incense smudging or making Kala helpful for clearing psychic clogs and blockages, then do them.
Cuddling or having sex. Orgasms and sensual touch help your body release oxytocin. Rub one out or get close to someone you love! If you’re not able to, do what you need to do to confront and work through sexual trauma, shame, or other inhibiting forces. Work with a professional if it’s helpful and you’re able to.
Listening to your intuition. We’re so often coerced into harmful activities that we tend to tune out the parts of our brains that tell us something is wrong. Don’t say yes to another project. Don’t get in the car with that guy. Don’t laugh at that offensive joke. These messages bubble up, but we feel forced to ignore them, and often rationalize doing so. That’d be selfish of me. I’m just being paranoid. I probably just don’t get it. Intuition is much more powerful than we give it credit for–it’s the basis of supposedly “supernatural” abilities like clairvoyance–and when we learn to listen to it, we receive more information about our environments and ourselves than we ever knew was possible.
Feeling your emotions. One of the most powerful effects of practices like mindfulness meditation or talk therapy is that they give us permission to stop suppressing our emotions. When we’re told throughout our lives to stop crying, grow up, get a thicker skin, and get over it, the message we internalize is that we must hide our emotions instead of letting them out. Don’t lash out or abuse people, but do let yourself feel and cry.
Tending to your heart. The cups suit corresponds to the circulatory system. Is your heart racing? Is your blood pressure high? Are you experiencing other problems with your blood? Tend to them. It goes without saying that tending to your heart is important on a figurative level, too.
Tending to your womb. Are you on your period? Snag some rest wherever and whenever you can. You may not have access to a red tent, but your body deserves some peace and relaxation while you menstruate.
Your turn! Meditate on the Queen of Cups using the method I described in my last post. What guidance does she give you?
Next time: the Queen of Wands, who can give us insight into self-care relating to work, muscle, and more.