The Three of Cups signifies celebrations in all forms; baptisms, weddings, graduations, birthday parties and engagements.
The suit of cups is traditionally associated with the water element and emotions and the number 3 signifies creation. From this we can interpret that an emotional event will create something new. It is not unusual for this card to signify the birth of a relationship or the birth of a child.
As shown in the Rider Waite and other decks, three women dance gaily, rejoicing in the fruits of the autumnal harvest. These fruits inform the querent that their joy is the result of their labours bearing fruit and that they are approaching a time of emotional and material ease. The three figures also appear to dance in harmony, so this card can also represent the bonds of effortless friendship.
The women depicted bear a striking similarity to The Three Graces painted by the Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli in his piece entitled "Primavera". These Graces are the personifications of joy (Euphrosyne), radiance (Aglaia), and flowering (Thalia) and such qualities are represented by the Three of Cups. To put it quite simply, when the Three of Cups makes an appearance in a reading it is time to prepare for good news and good company.
In a love reading, this card is a boon. It foretells that you and your partner will have a lot of celebrations to look forward to in the future and that your relationship has a sense of effervescent joy. This is a card of births, marriage proposals, parties and weddings. If on the other hand you have only recently met a love interest, this card informs you that they see you as good company, that they enjoy your personality but have not yet turned their mind towards making a concrete commitment to you.
If you have been experiencing a difficult period in your relationship, the Three of Cups serves as a welcome omen that better times are to come and that you will recover the happiness in your union. More negatively this card can appear when your partner is under the influence of their friends, is prone to indulging in a party lifestyle, and quite simply is more focused on having their own fun than investing in your relationship.
In a work-related reading, the Three of Cups is quite a positive card to have appear. It can reveal that your closest relationships will help you reach success. Perhaps you have colleagues that are like family to you or good friends who are willing to offer you emotional support. This card tells you that owing to the emotional support around you, you will reach your goals and will be celebrating in due course.
If the Three of Cups appears in a negative position, this card may warn you that you are not taking your responsibilities seriously, that you are too focused on hedonistic pursuits and that it is time to adopt a more mature and serious approach to your career. It can also alert you to the fact that cliques are forming within your workplace and that you may begin to feel excluded.
Positive Aspects: births, graduations, weddings, birthdays, friendship, success
Negative Aspects: overindulgence, hedonism, cliques forming, social isolation