3 of Cups – Friendship

Three women stand facing one another, each with a smile on her face and a cup in her hand. They raise the cups high in a toast. The ground around them is covered with different types of harvests. This is probably the scene of a celebration ceremony, in which the women are drinking and dancing to joy and abundance.

The 3 of Cups is a celebration of friendship. It differs from the 4 of Wands even though both cards show a willing gathering of people. While the 4 of Wands stresses the community benefits of getting along, the sentiments of this card stems from an innate and personal desire to connect with another person, without consideration of gains. This is a situation in which people connect by sharing their emotions, and not just their efforts and resources towards a common goal.

The 3 of Cups shows us the joy that friendship brings.  When we see this card, we are reminded of how nourishing a good friendship can be. In our modern world that is filled with obligations and distractions, this reminder can be much needed at times. It is so easy to say ‘we are busy’ but no matter how busy, we need to clear our schedules and make time for the friends that support us and rejuvenate our souls.

In good times, friends bring not only companionship and laughter. Through loving interaction, we also learn to develop the invaluable virtue of compassion – the source of peace and harmony. Thus, besides being pleasant company, a good friend also provides us with strength that we can draw upon on the journeys that must be traveled alone. In this way, even when our friends are not physically with us, their friendships are always in our hearts. A person who is fortunate enough to have a true friend is never truly alone.

In addition to showing us what friendship does for a person, this card also shows us how to be good friends; we need to be there for each other through the good times and the bad. It takes more than just being able to have fun together or being able to feel compassion only when a person is experiencing hard times in order to be a true friend.


Hexagram 13 – Companions

Hexagram 13 is comprised of Fire below Heaven, symbolizing clarity of heart and mind on the inside and strength on the outside. In other words, one’s strength is guided by one’s consciousness and virtues. Such is the key to gaining companions; one must begin with clear and upright intentions in order to from strong relationships.

The only yin line in this hexagram rests in the second place, representing the center of one’s inward activity. It shows us that, to find companions, we must first open up our hearts and receive others with trust and sincerity. At the same time, however, we also need to remain true to ourselves. While we are encouraged be open-minded, we should not blindly accept others but still distinguish between those we wish to invite into our lives and the ones we should keep our distances from.

Furthermore, even within a group of friends, it is important make distinctions, not for the purpose of discrimination, but to truly understand others’ strength and weakness, preferences and dislikes. Most importantly, we need to distinguish between those we trust from those we know. Strong companionships form only when we recognize each other as individuals and respect them for who they are. Otherwise, the gathering is merely a forced assimilation, whether it is forced upon us or something we force upon ourselves.

Nine on Line 1:

Companionships start by a willingness to explore outside our immediate comfort zone. It begins as a desire and curiosity to know the world. It continues with the courage to meet new people and the good will to extend one’s hospitality.

Six on Line 2:

It is foolish to align ourselves only with like people. For one, it limits our empathy and thereby, breeds mistrust. Secondly, it limits our experiences and points of view when everything we do is merely reinforced and justified by others who do the same things and think the same way.

Nine on Line 3:

It is an unfortunate situation when trust cannot be established. However, during such times, stagnation and stalemate is still preferable to aggression. Always refrain from acting out of fear, anger or confusion. Take time to understand others, even if they may seem hostile.

Nine on Line 4:

One of the best ways to gain trust is to demonstrate good will and benevolence. Superior people are the ones who choose not to fight even when they have the higher ground. They understand that violence may end a fight, but never animosity.

Nine on Line 5:

Once misunderstandings and disagreements have been overcome through effort and sincerity, people can truly rejoice together. This outcome wouldn’t have come to fruition if any party had resorted to hostility or allowed disagreements to spiral into resentment. Sometimes it takes much effort to get along but the results are well worth it.

Nine on Line 6:

Once trust is established and good will has been shown, people can come together and meet as equals. When this happens, peace is possible.



While a bond or an influence brings people together, true connections are weaved through sincerity and effort.

To be sincere is to be open, honest and giving.

To effectively connect, we need to understand that, no matter how sincere we are, we won’t always get along. In such times, each party must make an effort to meet on mutual ground and focus on the things that keep us together in order to work through our differences.

Strong connections act like a house that keep us protected from the elements so that we don’t have to brave every storm alone out in the wild. They also act like a web that catches us should we fall. In short, they are the cornerstones of our emotional well-being.