The Five of Cups

The Tarot Card of heartbreak & loss
Number - 5
Element - Water
Planet - Mars, Pluto
Zodiac Sign - Scorpio

The imagery, symbolism and colors employed in the card conjure up sentiments of heartbreak, despair, loss, pain, sorrow, loneliness, bitterness, abandonment, regret and mourning. A black cloaked figure is in deep mourning and is dejectedly looking down at three spilt cups on his left. This man/woman is hiding his face from the world as profound grief is choking him with regret and guilt. Behind him are standing two full cups but he is so lost in the act of grieving that he is not turning back to see the full cups and stands rooted to one spot. His grief has paralyzed him and made him oblivious of his surroundings. The barren grey sky and the deserted landscape add gloom to the situation.

In front of the man is a river and a few paces away is a stone bridge which leads to a safe, castle like house in the remote background.

Cups are Tarot’s symbol of emotions and a spilled cup denotes lost love. The green and red liquid that lies spilt on the ground symbolizes a multitude of happy emotions which were once a reality but now have been tragically lost. So it is also a very sad tale of crying over spilt milk.

The man depicted in the card has suffered a colossal loss in love as the love of his life has abandoned him and he is feeling deeply betrayed and wounded and has been a witness to a catastrophic turn of events that has robbed him of all his happiness and left him completely shaken and lonely.

However, there is a strong element of guilt and shame associated with the figure which is a grim reminder of the fact that the man considers himself partially responsible for the tragedy. He feels that the unfortunate chain of events which led to the tragic loss could have been averted by him had he not committed certain blunders and not taken certain decisions which badly misfired. He is consumed with remorse and guilt on account of this and his bent head and self imposed isolation from the world indicate that he is wallowing in self pity and guilt.

The man is ruing the loss of his love, home, happiness and joy – this indicates a traumatic breakup, a devastating divorce, death of a relationship and a painful parting. He is focusing only on loss and negative emotions. The impact of the grief caused by losing his beloved is such that moving on seems impossible at the moment. He is still very deeply in love with his past sweetheart and feels lost without her.

The perfection and glory associated with past happiness and past beloved is too deeply entrenched in his mind. On account of this past entanglement, he refuses to take note of opportunities of happiness that exist in the present. He is either not dating anyone or is not open for serious relationships. His relationships if at all they exist would be casual, routine and purely for physical satisfaction. A relationship on the rebound is possible but that would further drain him emotionally as the past baggage and turmoil and emotional mess has still not been cleared.

The black cloak of mourning reflects the melancholic mood of the grieving man. His deep melancholy has a strong undercurrent of mild depression on account of past hurts and festering wounds.

The kabbalists call the Five of Cups card the ‘Lord of Loss in Pleasure’. This very aptly summarized the poignant fact that the man fell from dizzying heights of pleasure & love into an abyss of profound pain.

Astrologically, it is associated with Mars in Scorpio which indicates painful transformations.

The river in front of the man symbolizes the emotional challenge of overcoming the torrent of emotions linked to the past. The forlorn man is unable to see the opportunities of personal growth which are already transforming him. He is oblivious of the fact that the crisis has given him a powerful opportunity of utilizing his hidden reservoirs of inner strength and shine in his profession.

Despite several negative connotations implied by this card, there is a ray of hope, a silver lining as the two full cups are still upright. As soon as the man heals from within and moves on he would acquire the ability of moving away from the dreary past and would gradually step into a zone of inner peace and tranquility.

However, as the safe house/ castle exists on the periphery of the card, thereby it indicates that there would be happier times and other opportunities of finding love and joy perhaps in another place, another country and another clime – in a remote, faraway location.

Ultimately the man would resolve all dilemmas and reach the safety and comfort of the fortified tower on the hill surrounded by green, shady trees- his spiritual home.

The energy of this card is experienced at the emotional, mental, and psychological level. On the spiritual level, The Five of Cups indicates stagnation on account of pent up feelings of deep anger, frustration, and resentment. Here one is holding on to past failure and disappointment.

In a love spread if you have pulled this card then it suggests that you are stuck up in the past and cannot let go. You are caught up in a negative cycle of reliving bitter memories and experiencing the pain of old wounds.

Out of your naivety and innocence and in good faith you trusted people and situations that were not trustworthy. You did not seek pain and hurt but you ended up getting hurt.

Your guardian angels are there to comfort you and send you love and grace. The Universe loves you and cherishes you. Learn to love yourself with compassion and kindness and gradually release all hurt and pain by forgiving yourself and all concerned.

Open yourself to new possibilities of love and abundance. Stop seeking validation from sources outside yourself.

Step within your self into a zone of peace and comfort. Do not give your power to anyone else, regain your power and choose serenity over chaos; calm over turmoil.

Upright keywords: heartbreak, pain, betrayal, mourning, regret, guilt, divorce, loneliness, failure, pessimism, isolation, feeling let down, emotional baggage

Reversed keywords: healing, moving on, finding peace, self forgiveness, overcoming despair, acceptance, re- joining the world

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