The Five of Cups

The Five of Cups comes after the boredom and apathy of the four in the Suit of Cups. This card can show an individual bowing their head as if in mourning while standing over five cups. Three of these have been dumped over and there are two that have remained upright. It is not as if the individual in the image has lost everything, but there is still mourning, sadness for what was lost, as well as a sense of instability. Because this follows the firm foundations of the four, it can be doubly shocking to undergo this kind of disruption. Especially since there was supposed to be such an amazing amount of love and stability in the relationship shown in the previous Cups cards. The fives of the Minor Arcana suits imply disruption of some sort that comes about through changes made by the querent or their romantic partner since the Suit of Cups is about romance and relationships. There is definitely upsetting news and unpredictability in fives, and although change is said to be good, it is not necessarily good for all of the involved parties.

When more than one five appears in the same spread, there is more information available to the querent. Pairs of fives surface as outer forces or outside parties setting things in motion to create change that causes turmoil for those in romantic relationships while three fives  warns of loss, tragedy, or accidents that cause tremendous change for the querent and his romantic partner’s futures. Having four fives in a spread heralds bad luck and goals and guidelines falling apart, which is very appropriate if it occurs here considering the stability of the Four of Cups. The Five of Cups may show a difference in relationship goals in a partnership or bad luck in love when shown in this context.

The Five of Cups in an Upright Position

The upright Five of Cups shows complete depression for the querent or his partner during a romantic relationship. The querent or his partner may be hung up on and holding a grudge over the way he has been done wrong by his lover in the past. It is clearly time that the querent or his partner put these issues behind them in order to save what is left of the relationship. The Five of Cups can also show that someone in the partnership is making a big deal out of nothing or needs to survey the status of the relationship and where they are in their life in terms of romance and relationships. There may be help or support available through a friend, and this counsel should be sought in order to help put things in perspective. This is a time where there is a little bit more sympathy for one’s partner in a romantic relationship, and there is a tad bit more tenderness, physical intimacy outside of the bedroom, kind words, and hand holding going on at this stage. There could be a very hurtful conflict that occurs, and there may be regret shown in the Five of Cups that has been voiced in a fit of rage when it should have been kept secret. One may also have lost a friend, or be facing a situation where there is a need to put the past hurts and wrongs to bed.

The meaning of all Minor Arcana cards can be modified by the cards that surround it. Court cards from the Minor Arcana (Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings) all represent people. They have corresponding physical characteristics as well as their own astrological correspondences. The Five of Cups embodies loss, rejection, and pain in a relationship, and the court cards surrounding it will show the querent who will be there to help the querent through this time as well as who the one is that has been causing all of the unrest. Many of the other cards that surround the Five of Cups will help to sharpen the meaning to be more personal; these include Major Arcana cards like the Death card and its message that the querent’s brooding in a relationship is going to turn into bitterness that will eventually destroy their relationship. If many swords surround the Five of Cups, the troubles of this card are temporary.

The Five of Cups in a Reversed Position

The reversed position of each card of the Minor Arcana is really as it states: an inversion of the card’s meaning. In reference to a reversed Five of Cups, the reversal actually decreases the severity of the losses one feels that they are facing in the imagery provided. The two cups have spilled out, and the three cups will hold liquid where they were once overturned in the card’s upright position. The regrets of the upright Five of Cups are not as bad either, and there is a feeling that even though the querent feels as if he has made a mistake in the past, it has worked out for the best as shown in the reversal. The querent may still feel very unhappy with himself or his present situation, but there is no good reason for this when the Five of Cups is present in its reversed position. In fact, the querent should be grateful that things did not turn out worse.

If there have been arguments where words have been said that cannot be erased, there is forgiveness when the Five of Cups is shown reversed in a tarot spread. This is, again, due to the reduced severity of the card’s meaning here. However, there are some warnings still in need of attention. A supportive friend may turn out to be gathering information to use against the querent, or could reveal what is said in confidence to the querent’s partner. It is best to be wary of who one trusts with information about matters of the heart. It also seems that one may feel the need for more emotional intimacy or cuddling in a marriage or serious relationship. It may feel like the passion in the relationship is going, but again, this is still a feeling instead of a reality.

Key Terms

  • Loss
  • Regrets
  • Supportive People
  • Feeling inadequate in a romance
  • Being insecure
  • Angry words
  • Intimacy
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