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Five of Cups Tarot Card Meanings

Five of Cups Tarot Card Meanings Keywords

Upright: Regret, failure, disappointment, pessimism

Reversed: Personal setbacks, self-forgiveness, moving on

Five of Cups Tarot Card Meanings and Description

The Five of Cups shows a man in a long black cloak looking down on three cups that have been knocked over – symbolic of his disappointments and failures. Behind him stand two cups representing new opportunities and potential, but because he is so focused on his losses (the over-turned cups), he completely misses the opportunities that are available to him.

In the background, a bridge crosses a large, flowing river and leads to the security of the castle or home on the opposite side of the riverbank – if only he can move on from the over-turned cups. The bridge also is a message to “build a bridge and get over it!”

NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.

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Upright Five of Cups Tarot Card Meanings

The Five of Cups often appears in a Tarot reading when a situation hasn't turned out the way you expected and you feel sad, regretful, and disappointed. Instead of moving on with your life, you are choosing to wallow in your self-pity. All you can focus on right now is what went wrong and how you have failed. Sweetheart, it’s time to build a bridge and get over it! Sure, feel the feels, but set yourself a time limit for your self-pity and then pull yourself together and move on.

The Five of Cups also suggests you’re stuck in the past and can’t let go. Old wounds and bitter memories are flooding your thoughts, as you think about what happened and where it all went so wrong. You may be blaming yourself or feeling a victim of life’s circumstances. These negative thoughts and emotions are holding you back from your fullest potential and need to be released so that you can move on and create positive change.

Forgiveness is key with the Five of Cups, both of yourself and others. If you are feeling disappointed by another person’s actions, find it within your heart to forgive that person, releasing yourself from the disappointment. And if you are disappointed with yourself, know that you did the best that you could given the circumstances and you have now learned from your mistakes.

Remember, too, that hindsight is much clearer than foresight and wisdom in the present moment is gained from the mistakes of the past. Reflect on what led you to this point and understand what important lessons you can take from the experience. Even when things go pear-shaped, there is always something positive that can be gained by reflecting on the lessons learned.

The Five of Cups is showing you that even though it feels like things aren’t going your way right now, there are new opportunities and possibilities waiting for you – but only when you are ready. It’s time to shift your mindset away from what went wrong, and instead focus on what can go right from this point onwards. Be open to the brighter side of life and know that there are many blessings in disguise right now. Instead of looking at the situation from a ‘glass is half empty’ perspective, look at it as the ‘glass is half full’.

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Reversed Five of Cups Tarot Card Meanings

Five of Cups Tarot Card Meanings tarot card meaning

The reversed Five of Cups suggests that you have recently suffered a personal setback or disappointment. You are not quite ready to open up to others about what happened, instead choosing to keep your feelings to yourself. People around you may not realise how much you are hurting right now. To help you through this rough time, don't be afraid to ask for help or talk with someone you trust; you may find it lessens the emotional pain. You may also be worried that you are a 'failure' and you don't want to let others know that you've taken the wrong path. Much of this is in your own mind and you'll find that by sharing your feelings with others, you'll realise that this is just a temporary setback that can be overcome.

You may also feel guilty or ashamed about what happened, blaming yourself for the mistakes that were made. The invitation of the Five of Cups reversed is to forgive yourself and move on. Know that you did the best you could given the circumstances. This may also be the perfect opportunity for you to practice the Hawaiian forgiveness ritual, Ho’oponopono, where you say sorry, ask for forgiveness, express gratitude and feel into love.

When this card appears in a Tarot reading, you are beginning to realise the full implications of the past, and you have come to appreciate the lessons learned from the experience. You may even recognise the value of the painful experience in the broader scheme of things in preparing you for later experiences.

The Five of Cups reversed serves as a reminder that you cannot undo the past – what has happened, has happened. It is now time to finally release and let go what no longer serves you emotionally, and open up to the new opportunities available to you. You are also discovering how to be open and take risks again, especially those of the heart. If you have suffered setbacks recently, you will find that you will feel more hopeful about the future and you will start to engage with the inspiring, creative and feeling side of life again.

Five of Cups Tarot Card Meanings tarot card meaning

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