Upright: Fantasy, illusion, wishful thinking, choices, imagination
Reversed: Temptation, illusion, diversionary tactics
The Seven of Cups depicts an individual faced with the mysterious appearance of strange images from cups in a floating cloud. Clouds conjure ideas, dreams, thoughts, illusions, transitions and mystery. Though the character’s back is toward us, we can see from the half-raised arm-gesture that the apparitions before him are something of a surprise. The various prizes appearing from the cups are a mixture of positive and negative visions. These cups each have a single item rising from them – a snake, representing wisdom and knowledge; a shrouded figure, representing the need for illumination; a human head, representing a companion for the conjurer; a tower, representing stability and power; treasure, representing abundance and wealth; a laurel wreath, representing victory or honour, and status; and a dragon, representing supernatural forces. The character faced with these spectres is taken aback by their confusing nature. Although the seven cups appear as gifts or prizes, there is always danger hidden within one or two of them to sting anyone who ventures near. What this suggests is that sometimes you have to choose between many options, all of which may be tempting but only one of which is the best choice. At others times not all of those choices are real options at all; they are delusions of the imagination.
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The Seven of Cups indicates that the images in your mind must be dealt with not only in your dreams but in the world of reality. Be careful of wishful thinking or illusions in the choices you currently face. The character in the Seven of Cups is a dreamer who is able to see beauty and excitement as well as fearful trials and difficulties in the future. If you are constantly caught up in your own dreams, fantasies, and/or fears, we will never be able to move forward and make those dreams a reality or overcome those fears.
Therefore, the Seven of Cups indicates that although dreaming is beautiful and provides inspiration for action, you must at some point abandon your ‘castles in the sky’ and begin to build those castles in your real life. A choice must be made even though the apparent multiplicity of options seems to paralyse you with either fear or excessive anticipation. If you are unable to make a decision because of too many options, it is time to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of each option and make a thoughtful choice. You also need to be very clear about what it is you are working towards so that you can make the best choice. Make your decision with caution as all is not what it seems to be. Great opportunities may turn out to be major problems later on, while less enticing options may turn out to be golden opportunities.
With the Seven of Cups, there is a risk of illusion. You need to separate what is real from what is illusion. Protect yourself against unclear or wishful thinking and habitual day dreaming. Avoid intoxication and escapism.
Oftentimes, this card shows choices and plans that have little or no basis in reality. Such things are typical of the developed imagination, and fine if they stay in the imagination. However when you try to implement those ideas in the real world you are leaving yourself open to inevitable disappointment when you realise that your vision simply does not work.
The Seven of Cups is also a wish card. Each of the cups is filled with wishes such as wealth, beauty, success, and a nice home (the castle or tower). However, not every cup is filled with a positive result. Some cups holding a snake or a demon and thus the Seven of Cups can be a mixed blessing. Be careful what you wish as you may just get it, and at a price.
Temptation is associated with the Seven of Cups. With so many choices presented to you, it is easy to be swayed to that cup containing the snake of jealously and cunning. Since this card is from the suit of Cups, the temptation is likely to be sexual or emotional in nature – the one-night stand, the extramarital affair, and all those other things that seem innocent and pleasurable at the time they are undertaken. But in the vast majority of cases, the pleasure gained temporarily is far outweighed by the consequences that last, in most cases, for an entire lifetime.
The Seven of Cups reversed is a card of illusions, temptations, and diversionary tactics. Your views of life at this time are a bit illusory, and may tend toward fantasies that cannot actually be realised in the real world. There is an unwillingness to deal with the day-to-day reality of life, and a need to get your head out of the clouds. You may be feeling unclear about what you are really searching for in order to become fulfilled. You may also be hiding something from yourself that probably has to do with your subconscious emotions. These illusions and diversions need to be stripped away and seen for what they really are. You may find that returning to the energy of the Six of Cups and finding yourself in more familiar territory, such as the family home or the area in which you grew up, may have a calming effect.
The Seven of Cups reversed can suggest that you are refusing to examine yourself and to ask yourself what will truly fulfil you. Instead of taking a few quiet moments to reflect, you are using every waking hour to consume yourself with the active pursuits of things which may or may not satisfy you. You need to stop and give yourself some time and space to think carefully about where your best intentions lie.
On a more positive note, the reversed Seven of Cups can indicate a time when you are finally breaking through a fog of confusion and illusion to focus on your chosen goal. With resolution and purpose, you are now setting your intentions and finding solutions.