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Five of Cups Upright Meaning

by MoMoTarot

Turning back in pain to find new opportunities


Card Details:


The Five of Cups is a card that represents sadness, loss and disappointment. Under a gray sky, there is a man wearing a black cloak, willfully bowing his head in mourning over three tipped cups on the ground with colorful wine flowing out of them. In front of him is a river, symbolizing the stream of sorrow, representing emotion separating this man from the castle located in the distance representing stability, but over the river is a bridge symbolizing awareness and determination leading to a house in the distance.


This bridge across the river to the castle is ignored because the person is more focused on what he/she has lost and ignores this path to stability. The gray sky reflects the depressed inner world of the person in the card. It is impossible to tell if the person is a man or a woman from the picture, showing that sadness can be experienced by both men and women.


The man in black garments drawn in the Five of Cups symbolizes sadness. His head is hanging down, which is a natural gesture when one is clearing up one's feelings. Three overturned cups lie in front of him, symbolizing lost or wasted opportunities. Regardless, the river of life continues to stay. The person is isolated from the castle (emotional stability) due to the river (current events) being across, and is oblivious to current opportunities as they explore inward, or focus on their emotions.


Three cups have fallen, but two remain, and the figure in the picture has only to turn around to know that he is not isolated, not destitute, but he does not realize this at the moment. When he has mourned enough, he can pick up the two remaining cups, cross the bridge to the outside world, and go on with his life. The house in the distance also symbolized a solid and safe life, with the possible support of his loved ones inside, and the bridge was always there, so he could go back at any time.


Card Meaning Deduction:


The Five of Cups describes loss and sadness. It may be a card that represents separation or a feeling of detachment from life. During this period, things that are smooth and familiar seem to flee from you. You must go through this period of loss or isolation before new opportunities present themselves.


This is a card of loss, grief and regret because of a change in circumstances. This person is dealing with these emotions by withdrawing. The "five" of the Tarot represents a state of narrow-mindedness, and this card is characterized by sadness. In the midst of sadness, joy avoids us because we are focusing on the source of our pain.


When you experience a loss, grief is a natural process, and experiencing grief also involves cutting you off from the flow of life. There comes a time when your sense of life changes, distorted by your inner feelings or experiences. As you come to terms with this loss, you are empowered to recognize the parts that are still left behind. As the pain or grief subsides, the man wrapped in the coat will come to recognize the two cups (or opportunities) that are still standing and the bridge that can lead him back to the castle (the smooth state). The two standing cups represent support from friends or, as represented in Grail II, the imminent arrival of a new relationship between the sexes. However, you are not allowed to take into account the other cards appearing on the deck until you have determined a clear meaning.


The Long Coat in the Five of Cups is reminiscent of the Hermit (a Major Arcana card), who is learning how to be alone without feeling lonely and needs to look within to find the cause and effect of past actions.


The Five of Cups indicates taking emotional responsibility, and although friends support you in your time of grief, you often cut off contact with them and try to find support only from within yourself. And doing so narrows the focus of your inward exploration and causes you to lose some of your objectivity. But when that sense of loss or sadness subsides, you'll slowly notice others again.


This card is quite similar to the Three of Swords in that both represent a degree of sadness and loss, but the Five of Cups is after all the Holy Grail, and even if the cups fall over, they don't cause as much damage as the Swords do, so while the Five of Cups may cause a degree of loss, it doesn't have the same piercing pain as the Three of Swords.


Nine times out of ten, life doesn't turn out the way you want it to. No one can guarantee that they will always do what they want, and there will inevitably be times of disappointment. When we're down, it's only natural to take a moment to feel sorry for ourselves. However, what the Fifth of Cups brings us is to not look at what we have lost, but to appreciate what we have, whether it be material things, or friends and family who give you care. After a period of mourning, don't forget to pick up hope and live life with fervor.


The card indicates disappointment, regret, sadness and loss of things, often alluding to the end of a friendship or divorce. This scenario leads the querent into a life of pessimism and grayness. To forget the pain is to cherish what is still there.


In practical terms, the Five of Cups can also represent delay.


Monetarily, the Fifth of Cups shows a loss of money. He points out that you are not attending to financial needs because you are too preoccupied with the world of relationships. If you are answering to a business or a financial investment, this card alludes to the fact that its results are disappointing. Sometimes, when you're ending a long relationship, you're too distracted to take care of financial matters. One risk here is that the more level-headed your partner is, the more likely it is that he or she will take most of your assets, leaving you needing to go to court or seek financial advice.


In a life sense, the Fifth of Cups could be hinting at problems in your life caused by emotional loss or grief. Intense or prolonged emotional distress may lead to depression or other life concerns, and in Western society, true grief is only briefly tolerated. Conversely, if you return to work the day after you have buried the deceased and your heart, then you will be appreciated. Take some time now to organize your loss or grief, then your life will also improve.


In the analysis of gender relationships, the Fifth of Cups describes a state of separation, as well as looking back at the past and comparing what you have now with what you had in the past; it can also represent the inability to release yourself from a certain emotional state in the past.


As an example, Justin reveals that he has only been in a real relationship once, and it was several years ago. It was when he was traveling by train from Italy to Paris, France. A blonde woman got on at the French border and sat across from him. Their eyes met. "I was bathed in love at that very moment." Justin mused.


For the rest of the journey, they were the only two left in the compartment, facing each other without taking their eyes off each other for a moment, yet neither said a word. Justin's whole body was filled with love, and his eyes were glazed with tears. Tears were in her eyes, too, but she remained silent. They got off at the Lyon station in Paris and embraced each other briefly on the platform. When he comes back to his senses, he finds himself alone in a crowded car on his way to love someone else.


The Five of Cups reveals that Justin is unable to see the opportunity before him and is still haunted by the past. When this card is analyzed in the context of gender relationships, it could be saying that you are still focusing on past relationships rather than caring more about the ones you currently have.

Core Tip

When the Fifth of Cups appears, you should know why you are grieving and give yourself a period of mourning, but don't forget that you still have two more cups yet to be tipped, so please consider accepting the care and support of the next person, and don't forget that there are other people or things that deserve your attention.
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Knowledge Expansion

The Five of Cups and the Three of Swords have similar meanings, but while the Five of Cups emphasizes "loss", the Three of Swords focuses on "hurt" and "pain", which are more destructive.
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Card Meaning Extension

The Five of Cups can also represent legacy, as the figure mourns the loss of a loved one (three emptied cups) while receiving their belongings (two cups that are not poured).
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