by Samuel Draper

6 of Cups ~ A Tarot Recipe for Pleasure

This recipe for pleasure takes the card 6 of Cups from the minor arcana of the Tarot as its basis.  There are a number of correspondences and associations for this card which have been folded into this process implicitly, in order to offer you a direct experience of this archetypal energy.  I have chosen to work with the 6 of Cups because, in Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, it is directly labelled with the word “Pleasure”


The 6s in the minor arcana of the Tarot correspond to the Sephira of Tiphareth on the Qabbalistic Tree of Life.  Tiphareth is the Divine energy of Beauty and Truth.  In the human body, the energy of Tiphareth anchors physically in the heart (though it can be experienced in any part of the body or external world).  Astrologically, the 6 of Cups is related to the Sun in Scorpio. In the human body, the Sun corresponds to the heart.  And the sign of Scorpio corresponds to the genitals.  I have also included the anus to give more options to whomever is performing this score, as well as to give a nod to Scorpio’s planetary ward Pluto, which is sometimes associated with the anus in contemporary tropical astrology.

My singular most explicit experience of pleasure as an archetype was embodying the pericardium in a dance class with Frédéric Gies several years ago.  Not enjoyment, sensuality or even eroticism, but specifically pleasure.  The pericardium is a layer of fascial tissue which envelops the heart.  The pericardium connects the heart to the sternum and spine with ligaments in front and behind.  It also merges with the thoracic diaphragm below.  That day I discovered that my heart is connected from all sides, not simply floating in the chest cavity (as I’d always seen it depicted in diagrams).

I like to consider the pericardium as a fluid “cup” or chalice and it tickles me to observe that the word “card” is hidden in there too.

In the score, the term 6 limbs of pleasure has been used.  This can refer to left and right arms and legs as well as to the portions of the spine leading up and down out of the heart space, but they don’t have to be limited to this definition by any means.  The term 6 limbs of pleasure refers to any 6 extensions from your heart, out through your pericardium, which you are enjoying as part of your dance.  These pathways may just as easily extend to your nipples, pubic hair or armpits as they do to fingers or toes.  Use the territory of your own body as the map.  You might work with the same set of limbs for the entire dance.  You might shift which limbs you are working with or even discover new ones.  That said, the goal is not so much to be inventive as to be guided by sensation and feeling.


an image of the 6 of Cups tarot card (see above)
your heart
your genitals and/or anus
your pericardium
your 6 limbs of pleasure
music with luscious string instrumentation.


clothing, jewellery, makeup, furnishing and/or objects in rose pink, yellow, gold, salmon and amber.
coffee, kombucha, or water infused with flower essences of your choice.
topaz, yellow diamond or other yellow gemstones.
olibanum/frankincense perfume, essential oil or incense.


Open your awareness in your heart and breathe there.  As the tide of your breath comes in and goes out, feel how it moves the tissues of your body, which are fluid.  The movement of the lungs gently massage the heart, which is nestled between them.  Take as long as you need until your attention is resting in your heart.

Open your awareness in your genitals and/or anus, breathing there simultaneously.  Your genitals and/or anus are gently massaged by the rising and falling of the organs in your belly, as the movement of your lungs moves your thoracic diaphragm.  Continue until you are as equally present in your genitals and/or anus as you are in your heart.

From this state – go about the process of adorning your body and the room in a fashion that is pleasing to you.  Use the coloured and scented objects and gemstones mentioned above.  Make sure your drinks are within safe and easy reach, to imbibe and lubricate your experience at your leisure.  Allowing this state to guide you.

Taking an image of the 6 of Cups gaze at the card as if you are looking at yourself in the mirror.  Gaze at this image of yourself lovingly and experience the reflection of yourself gazing back at you.  (If you have only one copy of the card between a group of people…  Pass the image around and allow it to be imprinted on your mind’s eye.  Remembering the overall shapes and colours – close your eyes and allow the impressions to stir your inner world.)

Open your awareness to the space around the organ of your heart.  Allowing the tides of the breath to help you do so.  Inviting the sensations of the space around your heart to emerge.  (If this is challenging – ride the exhale to release tension in your muscles and bones.  Letting go.)  This is your pericardium.

Moving from sensation, initiate movement from your pericardium.  Being gentle with yourself, allow the tissues of the pericardium to establish the tone of your dance.

Treat the tissue as if it is fresh mochi, made from silken light.  Smooth, elastic and luminous.  Indulge in this feeling.

Notice how the pericardium connects to your sternum and spine – allowing this dance to move more of you.

Allow the connection to spread into your 6 limbs of pleasure.  The spontaneous unfurling of movement might surprise you.  Letting movement ripple out to your peripheries.  And letting movement ripple in towards and re-inform your heart.  Allow the layers to slide across and around each other.  (Remembering to breathe.  No holding.)

Once the dance is established, play the music you have prepared and dive into its luxury.

Offer your body to this dance.  In the same way that a plant opens and offers its flower to the sky.  An act of innocent generosity.

Stew until cooked.


A simplified diagram of the pericardium and surrounding physical structures. The pericardium also merges with the diaphragm.


Samuel Draper is a British and Swedish dancer and choreographer living in Berlin and working between Germany and Sweden.  Samuel is a tarot reader and works with the Tarot as a tool for inquiry and choreographic practice.
As a freelancer, Samuel has been engaged in collaboration and performance with Frédéric Gies, pavleheidler, Winnie Ho, Mira Mutka, TOGETHER ALONE and Weld Company – among others.
In 2018 he completed a 6 month private tarot mentorship with Jeffrey Hinshaw of Brooklyn Fools / Cosmic Cousins and he was a DanceWEB Scholarship participant in 2017.
From 2013-2017 Samuel was a dancer with the company Cullberg, where he performed and participated in the creation of works by Cristian Duarte, Trajal Harrell, Deborah Hay, Stina Nyberg and Jefta van Dinther.


Copyright: Samuel Draper (2021). The Score was commissioned within the frame of the project Scores for Pleasure by Przemek Kamiński. The Score can be accessed and used only through the website Copying and redistributing the Score in any medium or format is not permitted. Only non-commercial uses of the Score are permitted. No derivatives or adaptations of the Score are permitted.