Five of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Keywords for the Five of Cups 

GRIEFEMOTIONAL PAIN
LOSSSUFFERING
SADNESSLETTING GO
DEPRESSIONFINDING THE SILVER LINING
BEREAVEMENTMOVING ON

In the image on the card, we see a man draped in a long, black cloak, his head down in an apparent gesture of grief and sadness.

Three empty cups lay on the ground in front of him, their contents spilled all over the floor at his feet. The man looks down at the floor, and there is a sense of regret here, indicating that he could possibly bear some responsibility for the losses he grieves.

However, it is important to note that there are a total of five cups pictured in this card. There are full cups standing behind the man which he has yet to notice.

As a result, this card signifies not only loss, but the hope that yet remains even after experiencing failure or defeat. This hope is also indicated by the symbol of the bridge which rises in the distance. 

This bridge links the man in his current situation to the future which is still possible for him. The house we see on the left of the card tells us that when he is ready, there is still plenty of potential happiness, satisfaction and security that he can one day come home to. 

Interpretation of the 5 of Cups in a Reading

When the 5 of Cups comes up in a tarot reading, it often means that we are facing some kind of a loss in our lives. We could be in the process of grieving what we once had, but which remains no longer.

The 5 of Cups encourages us to honor our emotions: our sadness, disappointment, and grief.

However, it also challenges us to a task that is seemingly opposite: it asks us to also recognize what it is that remains.

In the image on the card, we see that the man in the black cloak is facing forward towards the three cups which have spilled their contents on the ground. He is unable to see the two full, upright cups which still stand behind him. 

However, although they remain unseen, it is interesting to notice that they are located even closer to the man than the ones he has lost. 

This is a reminder that all too often, when we focus on what we don’t have, we miss out on the very real goodness that is available to us in ourselves, that still remains to be discovered.

This is not to say that we should gloss over our pain or our loss–there is a necessity to grieve what is gone if we are to properly move forward with our lives. It is necessary, but it is only the first step. 

Once we have worked through our pain and processed our emotions, we must have the courage to lift our heads and see all that still remains for us, if we are willing to see it.