Cancer 2: second decan of Cancer, Three of Cups

This was a fun image to work with. Crowley’s 777 lists the decan image as: A beautiful woman wreathed with myrtle. She holds a lyre and sings of love and gladness.

The tarot Three of Cups, Lord of Abundance, is the middle decan of Cancer, Cancer ruled by the Moon, with the decan itself ruled by Mercury (though the Vedic tradition has it as Mars – which is perhaps a hint as to why 36 Airs of the Zodiac attributes it to Hercules, who doesn’t fit well with the cards meaning unless you ponder Hercules/Herakles’ connection to Hera.)

The woman here was inspired by the goddess Saraswati, who has many Mercury-like attributes. Saraswati normally holds an instrument called a veena which is in the same family as the lyre. Here she holds a lyre as she sings “of love and gladness” and toasts with three different ornate chalices. The peacock is a bird sacred to both Saraswati and Hera.

Three of Cups, second decan or face of Cancer
Three of Cups line art © 2021-2023 M.M. Meleen

Update: You can see the color version here.

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12 thoughts on “Cancer 2: second decan of Cancer, Three of Cups

  1. I’ve seen mentions of the 36 Airs of the Zodiac several times in different places, but can’t find this text anywhere.. Could you give us a hint on where to find it? Also, I’m not able to see the images of the cards 🙁

    1. Hi Petro,
      It’s not a “book” you can find, it’s a fragmentary Hellenistic text. I have been looking into it’s sources and origins and wherein it is referenced so will write a post about it here soon, as others have asked as well. I’ve tracked down a few things that might help, but it isn’t easy to find!
      As far as images of the cards go, if you are looking back at old posts, some of them I’ve removed the images which were of the black and white line drawings, but will be adding them back soon, and also posting images of the finished color versions as I go along. It’s just difficult to find time to do the web post stuff, as I’m dead set on finishing each card in it’s proper decan period, which doesn’t give much time!

  2. I wonder if the association with Heracles comes from his battle with the Hydra? Story goes that Hera sent a crab to distract him, but he managed to crush it. Hera placed the crab in the sky as a way to honour it. So maybe Heracles is a reminder to celebrate the triumph of adversity. Or potentially a reminder from the crab that life is short and must be enjoyed while it can be. Cancer is associated with the passage of souls to/from the underworld in Babylonian star lore, so there’s always a reminder of death. Live well while you can, but don’t cling to things of the flesh for soon you will be called to the other world!

  3. Good day to you, Ms.Meleen! What is the name of your new deck? And what is it’s general concept? It looks “greek”.? Is it based on the greek mythology?
    I love all your decks so much! Genuine pieces of art and magic!

    1. Good day Evgeniy, and thank you! I have chosen a name for it, but haven’t yet released the name as there are other choices I am pondering as it evolves. The deck is based on the descriptions of the majors and the astrological decans descriptions for the minors in 777. I also consider the decan descriptions from other sources like Picatrix, Agrippa, Liber Hermetis, Giodarno Bruno, Ibn Ezra, and the Vedic for inspiration, though I default first to strictly following the 777 text. I also look at the related Egyptian and Greek god forms and the gods listed in 36 Airs of the Zodiac. For sure there is Greek influence! Thanks so much for your comment!

  4. Hello!
    How can I get the discount: 18% off orders of $ 45 or more with code HEKATE. This is only good for 9 days, so through July 22nd 2021, at

    I want to order Tabula Mundi – 79 MID SIZE 4×2.6 “COLOR

    Thank you!

    1. Just put the code into the field box marked “Coupons” that comes up during the checkout process. It comes several pages in, during the “Order Summary” review that you get before clicking the final button to pay.

  5. I am interested to learn how you will label these. (I kind of hope you mark that it is the middle decan of Cancer, for example, on the card.) Enjoying this journey, thanks!

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