Five of Cups

Upright/Well Dignified: Like the Four of Cups, it seems that the card is pointing out that the full picture isn’t being seen. The figure in the picture is looking down at three spilled cups and dressed as a person in mourning. Rachel Pollack commented in her book 78 Degrees of Wisdom, that sorrow unites the sexes, which is why the figure in this card seems to be without gender. The person has put their focus on the three upturned cups, which represent the celebrations of the past and is seeming to ignore the two cups that remain upright and can still fulfil, should they need to. This card, known as the Lord of Loss, not only points out that loss is natural in life, but that there are things that are still there, which can help you, if you’ll let them.

The loss in this card could be for any number of reasons, but the primary one is some sort of disillusionment. Harsh words said in anger or even mild words said out of love and concern will cut in unexpected ways and possibly even cut you off from things that once gave you pleasure. That being said, this will usually be an honest expression meant to point out painful truths that you’ve hidden from, rather than a deceit designed to harm for the sake of harming.

This card can be an indicator that you’ve been lied to in the past, with the truth being the thing that hurts the most. This can be a growth experience that will ultimately heal you, but first you must be able to move past the wounds toward the reality of the situation, both bad and good. The most important thing to remember here is that history is behind you. While it’s important to learn from your personal history, repeating the lessons over and over will serve nobody. Learning from your past is pointless if you refuse to move forward.

Reversed/Ill Dignified: This can be a sign that you know that you’ve been lied to, but the lie is too comfortable to leave at this point. This can stunt your own personal growth in ways that are both unexpected and painful. Reversed, the Five of Cups can, on occasion, be a very dangerous card. Letting the lie remain can create relationships that have less basis in reality than is healthy, resulting in a relationship where further mistruths can easily perpetuate and harm those involved.

There are also more positive meanings for this reversed card. Thank god for that.

As with the upright card, the point is that you’re not seeing the whole picture, but the primary focus is on the people that you’re not seeing. These are the people that will help you get back on your feet, should you let them. Old friendships that you thought were by the wayside may make themselves appear again when you need them most, but you have to be willing to accept them.

There is also a recovery from loss pointed out here. You’ve figured out that although the past has hurt you, you’ve outlived it and are ready to move on to greener pastures. Learning from the past doesn’t mean repeating it if you’ve truly learned your lesson properly and know what to look for when it looks like the situation might want to try to recur. When this card shows up reversed, it means that there is a distinct possibility that you have either learned, or are willing to learn what you need to and are ready to move on to greener pastures.

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