Six of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Keywords for the Six of Cups 

INNOCENCENOSTALGIA
SINCERITYCHILDHOOD
GOOD INTENTIONSYOUTH
PURE OF HEARTGENUINE AFFECTION
SIMPLICITYAPPRECIATION

In the image on this card, we see four cups standing in a row in front of us. The remaining two cups are set at different points in the card, effectively dividing the scene in two halves with important different meanings. 

On the right side of the card we see a boy who holds out a golden cup with a white lily inside of it to a very young girl, likely his sister. The two children, standing on the bare, uncultivated earth in front of a warm and welcoming cottage behind them. 

They are dressed in bright colors, vivid reds and blue and yellows, all intense primary hues which indicate the uncomplicated purity and vitality of the emotions they so freely express. 

The last and final sixth cup has been set upon a short pedestal which marks the dividing line between the two halves of the card, as well as the two main parts of our lives, childhood and adulthood. Underneath this cup we see a shield marked with an “X”, as if to warn us: once we cross this line, there is no turning back. 

Interpretation for the 6 of Cups in a Reading

When the 6 of Cups appears in a reading, it often speaks to the pure and uncomplicated feelings and emotions we experienced as children. It reminds us of the innocence we once possessed, before life imposed greater demands and expectations upon us as adults.

Beyond that, it takes us back to a time before we had known the pain of a broken heart, to a time when we were still unscarred by betrayals or disappointments we experienced as we reached maturity. 

The 6 of Cups tends to speak to an attitude of innocence and simplicity in our way of relating to others. The children pictured here give and receive affection and share resources with each other without any calculation or guile. They are able to enjoy the simple pleasures of each other’s company without any apprehension or expectation.

This is in stark contrast to the adult world of relationships that most of us experience during our later years. For too many, navigating relationships can feel like a war of subtle strategies between “lovers,” a game where score is fastidiously kept and every hurt is cataloged, and every slight, punished.

This guardedness and suspicion is represented here on the left of the card: here, we see a heavily armored man bear a spear as a weapon. In contrast to the children, he walked on a ground paved with heavy stones toward a tall fortress with only the narrowest of windows breaking its high walls. 

This represents how as adults, we tend to be more closed off to genuine feelings, often hiding our true emotions and suppressing our sincere affections. Unfortunately, most of us have built up defenses similar to this fortress, and will hardly let anyone get past the heavy armor we wear to protect our still tender hearts.

When the 6 of Cups appears in a reading, it sometimes asks us to take a moment to pause and reflect on where we might be similarly guarded. This card reminds us of the sweetness of life that could be available to us if we are able to let our guard down and risk vulnerability with another.

In a relationship reading, the 6 of Cards is typically a highly auspicious card for romance and connection. It indicates sincerity, good intentions, and a willingness to show up with the openness, honesty, and real vulnerability that true love requires.

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