Five of Cups

Five of Cups

The Basic Meaning of the Card (Rider-Waite)

The Five of Cups represents loss, sorrow, and disappointment. The card shows a person staring down at three spilled cups in front of them, while two whole cups stand behind them. The person is so caught up in their grief over the spilled cups that they are not noticing the two remaining cups.

Upright Meaning

When the Five of Cups is upright, it symbolizes a period of sorrow and disappointment, usually connected to the loss of something valuable such as a relationship, dream or opportunity. The card encourages you to accept your feelings and work through your grief, but also to be aware that not all is lost. There are still positive aspects and possibilities in your life that you can focus on and build upon.

Reversed Meaning

When the Five of Cups is reversed, it may indicate that you are beginning to heal from your sorrow and disappointment and that you are on the way to accepting the loss and moving on. It may also suggest that you are too focused on the negative and need to shift your perspective to see the positive possibilities and support that surrounds you.

Example Interpretation

If the Five of Cups appears in a reading where the question is whether you should try to rekindle a past relationship, the card can indicate that it is important first to accept and work through the loss and grief from the ended relationship. The card can also encourage you to focus on the positive aspects of your life and on the possibilities and relationships that still remain. If the card is surrounded by positive cards, it may suggest that you are on the right path towards healing and finding new opportunities. If the card is surrounded by negative cards, it may indicate that you need to actively work on shifting your perspective and letting go of the past.


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