Deck: Standard Rider-Waite
Card: 5 of Cups Reversed
Card Type: Minor Arcana (the everyday mundane world of sense experience and our everyday lives)
Suit: Cups (element of water)
Element: Water (emotions, subconscious, intuition )
Number: 5 (challenge that can result in growth, struggle on a new path, chaos, breaking old habits, trial by fire, learning, movement)
Planet: Moon (reflection, instincts, intuition, unconscious/subconscious, emotions, secret dreams, divine feminine); Jupiter (expansion, growth, progress, luck, knowledge, fortune, power, status, honesty)
Zodiac Sign: Cancer (ruled by the Moon – loyalty, devotion, intuition, sensitivity, nurturing, generosity, imagination, caution, neediness, possessiveness, nostalgia, moodiness) and Sagittarius (ruled by Jupiter – philosophy, intelligence, versatility, honesty, optimism, kindness, curiosity, independence, enthusiasm, progress, unpredictability, restlessness, detachment)
Chakra: Sacral (Swadhisthana – flow, change, house of our emotions and desires)
I-Ching Hexagram: Pi (a time of stagnation and standstill, look to what is good and do not focus or pour energy into that which is troublesome)
Colors: Black (mystery, magic, power); Grey (wisdom, humility, balance); Blue (emotions, peace, sadness); Green (prosperity, growth, hope)
Keywords: picking up the pieces, ongoing suffering, wallowing in sadness
In this card we see a figure, clad in a black cloak, head down, standing against a gray background. He (or she) is mourning the loss of the contents of the three cups on the ground before him. There are two other cups left behind him, yet he pays them no mind. All he can think about is what has been lost.
This character is not living in the moment of the eternal now. Instead, the person pictured here has chosen to inhabit some other time; perhaps a moment in the past, when the cups were still full; or maybe some time in the future, when his life will surely be ruined by the spillage (his perception of the matter). Dwelling too long in either of these time-spaces is likely to induce feelings of regret, anxiety, anger, and ultimately, suffering.
The figure would do well to notice that there are still two full cups left. After he has sufficiently mourned, he should take care to focus on what remains, instead of pouring energy into his bereavement over what has been lost.
The lesson to be learnt in the Five of Cups is about learning from losses and disappointments in life and then moving forward from them. The card reversed can indicate either someone who is struggling with this lesson or someone who has finally learned it.
If you experienced a painful loss some time ago, and are still suffering, this card is encouraging you to start paying attention to what you have now and to your future goals. If you’ve been trying to get back something you’ve lost, this card is telling you to let go and focus on the good things you still have.
The Five of Cups Reversed could also appear when you’ve finally moved past a painful loss. You are ready to move on now. Though you may still experience hard feelings, the worst is over and a new beginning approaches.
Take-Away Message: It’s time to let go. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging where you are or where you have been. In fact, that is a necessary step in your physical, emotional, and spiritual evolution. However, it’s meant to be a stop-over, not a retirement spot. Stay here too long and you’ll even lose whatever there is left to salvage, and any opportunities for growth. Don’t try to push the feelings away. Acknowledge them. Honor them. Let them be. You don’t have to try to do anything about them. When you do this, you give yourself room to process and learn, which in turn enables you to move forward with greater self-awareness, wisdom, and appreciation.