Conversely, this is me on caffeine. Whee!
The Three of Cups has three young women dancing around, each holding a cup. Usually there’s a pastoral springtime background, and usually each of them is wearing a different-colored dress. Some cards give them the Charlie’s Angels triad of black/red/blonde hair.
As per the mnemonic, this is real growth in emotions. Given the image, we’re often talking about becoming a member of a community, or growing closer to one–it’s all very Golden Girls/Travelling Pants/Ya Ya Sisterhood, really. It can also mean celebration, and letting yourself have a good time.
Whenever three women show up in an image, someone is going to think of the various Three Fates or Maiden/Mother/Crone connotations. This doesn’t tend to come up for me, but if it does for you, cool–and within that framework, it could refer to a social group in which everyone has their role, like being “a Samantha” or “a Rose.”
Note: mythical groups of women tend to have three members, but those on TV have four, more often than not, and I’m not sure what’s up with that. (Little Women kind of has it both ways, where you have three actual girls and Doomed Saint Beth.) (Spoilers, I know.) There’s a bullshit MA dissertation waiting to happen here.
The Four of Cups is stasis in emotions, just as it’s stasis in material stuff for Pentacles. A dude’s sitting under a tree, staring broodingly at three cups. Our old friend Disembodied Cloud Hand makes a rare non-Ace appearance to offer him another, but he doesn’t seem to see it. (Occasionally, Disembodied Cloud Hand is nowhere in sight, and the fourth cup just shows up from the ether because what the hell, why not?)
Cups Dude is not as much of a dick as Pentacles Dude–being kind of a doofus about your emotions is not as directly harmful to others as hoarding material goods is. This card isn’t as entirely negative, either: the most obvious complex interpretation is the typical teen-movie foolishness of ignoring the best path because you’re too wrapped up in others, but it can also mean meditation and contemplation, and that taking some time to consider your options sometimes opens up an entirely new path.
You just have to, you know, turn your head and look at the damn thing.