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The Five of Cups Tarot Card Meaning Upright and Reversed

The Five of Cups Tarot Card Meaning Upright and Reversed

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When the Five of Cups Tarot card appears in a spread, it usually brings a hard lesson to learn. Nevertheless, it’s a situation that we’ve all experienced at some point: loss. This card could be indicating that a querant is going through a difficult time of their life. It could be the death of a very important person to them, or they could be grieving from a divorce or a breakup.

The presence of this card advises to the querant that the time has come to heal all of their wounds from the past in order to enjoy the present. It’s a healing stage that will allow them to leave the past behind and begin a new period in their life by accepting change. Everything happens for a reason, and this chaos also follows an order. It’s time to make the best of any situation. Although this card refers to deep pain, its presence suggests the querant is on their way to learning that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Five of Cups Tarot Card Keywords:

Upright: Evasion, indifference, loss, repentance, pessimism, fatalism, failure, crying over spilt milk, letting go, despair, pain, lamentation, sadness, intense emotion, crying, legal problems, family problems, breakup, heartbreak, disillusion, betrayal, bitterness, end of a relationship, loneliness, second thoughts, doubt, guilt complex.

Reversed: Moving on, total loss, new plans, overcoming obstacles, positive attitude, a fresh start.

Description of the Five of Cups Tarot Card:

The Five of Cups is a card that means hard times and the challenge of facing them. The figure in the card wears a black cloak which he uses to cover his face almost completely. At his feet, we find five cups, three of which have fallen in front of him and spilled their contents on the ground. The other two cups are still standing behind him. Concentrating on the spilled cups, the protagonist of the card seems to overlook the presence of the other two glasses.

In the surrounding landscape, we can also see a river, a bridge, and even a castle that could be the answer to his journey, but he remains afflicted by what he has lost.

How to interpret the symbolic world of The Five of Cups:

The central figure of the card wears a black cloak, the color usually associated with mourning, sadness, and mystery. His stooped shoulders represent a physical expression of grief, sorrow, and repentance.

Concentrated on the “accident” that he just had, the character grieves over the 3 cups whose contents have been spilled on the ground. The 2 glasses behind him continue to stand, but they do not seem to be of any interest to him… nor do the castle in the background or the bridge right next to him.

The character could also continue his journey and pay attention to the 2 full glasses, but instead, he chooses to lose himself in the melancholic stream that flows before his eyes. As you see, the man in this card is presented with several opportunities to continue his personal growth, or at least be content with the things that are still safe in his life. Instead of seizing these opportunities, he chooses to grieve and focus on what he has lost, taking an attitude of mourning and intense emotional pain.

However, we should not ignore that although the focus of the card is on loss, we can also observe that there are several symbols of progress yet to come. It is the defeated attitude of the querant that doesn’t allow things to happen.

The Five of Cups Lesson: The glass half full

In life, there are always situations that challenge our ability to adapt. Changes and circumstances that we didn’t ask for but must face, whether we like it or not. The attitude with which we face life is everything! It seems that the lesson of the Five of Cups Tarot card is that if we concentrate only on what has gone wrong, we will lose sight of the bigger picture: the opportunities, relationships, and past accomplishments.

Don’t cling to what you are lacking; hold on to what you have. Grow, develop your skills, make connections, follow your heart, and remember to honor what you feel. Don’t let yourself sink into negativity.

Are you a “glass half empty” kind of person?

Do you tend to forget or belittle your own achievements?

Are you going through a difficult emotional moment of great pain and suffering?

Remember, this too shall pass.

The upright position of the Five of Cups Tarot card:

Upright (5) Five of Cups Tarot Card Meaning – Minor Arcana
Upright (5) Five of Cups Tarot Card

The message of this card is very clear. It is possible that you are facing a moment of great pain, loss, or frustration. Prepare and anticipate! Although you cannot have everything under control, it is possible to get ahead.

Fears, frustrations, stagnation, and heartache are some of the situations that may be facing us when the Five of Cups Tarot card appears in a spread.

It is time to let go, to move on; bury the hatchet and overcome all grudges. Hold on to those moments in which you were happy, but remember to keep in mind that the past belongs in the past. For example, stop clinging to a toxic relationship in the name of “the good old days” that you once lived together.

On the other hand, it may indicate that you are going through a moment of excessive pessimism in which you focus only on seeing the glass half empty, expressed by the spilled glasses in the card. You may be leaving aside the glasses that are still standing, full of hope, just behind you.

Though this card belongs to the suit of feelings, it does not only refer to emotional or sentimental problems. Its message can also allude to other aspects of human activity. Similarly, this card may refer to the fact that the querant is not capable of objectively appreciating their own capabilities in order to build their future.

Living in a cycle of pain can trigger depressive states and pessimistic thoughts. This card often appears in a spread before a breakup or a love failure. Avoid comparisons, avoid pessimism, and avoid vengeful thoughts. You will be happier in the long run if you do.

The meaning of the upright Five of Cups card when it comes to:


When the Five of Cups Tarot card appears in a question related to love, we are facing a time of heated arguments, divorce or separation. However, changing perspectives, attending couples therapy, or simply communicating from the bottom of our hearts could open the way for a new opportunity.

For singles, if the Five of Cups Tarot card appears, you may be still recovering from a bad streak of past relationships that have left you disappointed. It is not a time to seek new romantic relationships. It is a time to heal.


Even though you might have received an unfortunate diagnosis, it is important that you keep an optimistic attitude. It is time to seek second opinions, change your lifestyle, make some adjustments to your diet, and spend more time taking care of yourself. Focus on overcoming this tough test to improve your health in the future.


Even if you have made progress in your career, you may find yourself in a dead end job, trying to balance your aspirations and your achievements. Follow your instincts, it is time to consider changes that will help you to perform professionally in a way more aligned with your true calling.


Remember that in life, everything is about balance. Living for work and money shouldn’t be the only objective of your existence. Set some monthly goals. Once you have achieved these goals, remember that there is an infinite universe of possibilities.

The meaning of the reversed position of the Five of Cups Tarot card:

Reversed (5) Five of Cups Tarot Card Meaning – Minor Arcana
Reversed (5) Five of Cups Tarot Card

There are two competing notions about the meaning of the Five of Cups when it appears upside down. On the one hand, some Tarot readers consider that the reversed card indicates that all the possibilities and opportunities represented by the two glasses that remained standing have also spilled, thereby accentuating this card’s negative augury.

On the other hand, some believe that when the Five of Cups Tarot card appears reversed, the negative effects are moderated and the message becomes: learn to grow in adversity. Hard times will inexorably come, but they will be part of a great lesson for your spiritual growth.

The meaning of the Inverted Five of Cups Arcane when it comes to:


Love crises, flings with no future, or the gossip and bad intentions of third parties are negatively influencing your relationship. Healthy and honest communication will be the only way to save the relationship.


The physical discomforts that you have been feeling are deeply related to your emotional state. As your doubts dissipate and your anxieties resolve themselves, the opportunity will open up for you to recover the balance of your body and mind, thus promising that you can recover to enjoy a healthier and happier life.


It’s time to look for creative solutions to the stagnation you’ve felt lately. Take the first steps to advance your new projects and your employees will follow you. You will attract new customers if you show a reliable and solid business image.


Practising gratitude for what you have is a way to attract energies of abundance. Enjoy and appreciate each of your achievements. It is not about self-aggrandizement; it is about giving each thing the value it deserves.

The Five of Cups Tarot Card Meaning Infographic - Minor Arcana

Rider-Waite images used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT c. 1971 by U.S. Games Systems.