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So far in the deck of cups, the suit of feelings and an endless stream of love, we have met with cards full of happiness and romantic connection. Now we are faced with the opposite side of the spectrum. The Four of Cups Tarot card deals with feelings and emotions that are difficult to manage and cope with.
The Four of Cups Tarot card leads us to reflect upon many questions. Am I too absorbed in my own thoughts? Have I cast aside all the beautiful gifts that life has given me? Maybe it is the opposite problem. Have I taken my apparent happiness so much for granted that I have forgotten to be grateful for all the things that I love?
This card is quite deep and meaningful, and it is a great achievement of Pamella Collman-Smith in interpreting Rider-Waite’s vision. When the Four of Cups Tarot card appears upright in a spread, it can be taken as a warning. It carries the message that, even though you might have a life full of love and success, everything could go south if you don’t keep nourishing your relations and showing gratitude for all that you have gained so far.
Many people tend to worry excessively, focusing on the future, forgetting to live in the here and now. That is the main reason why they experience disappointment. How to overcome it? Eyes forward! The answer to all of your afflictions, to all of your problems, might be right in front of you.
Four of Cups Tarot Card Keywords:
Upright: Apathy, boredom, sadness, lack of motivation, disgust, weakness, fatigue, introspection, coldness, stability, lack of initiative, new relationships, new love, good news, new projects, new beginnings, dissatisfaction, stubbornness, indifference, dislike, losing good opportunities, disappointment.
Reversed: Stagnation, writer’s block, disappointments, sadness, boredom, doubts, setbacks, difficult agreements, love crisis, monotony, infidelity.
Description of the Four of Cups Tarot Card:
On this card, we can see a man resting in the shade of a tree. He stands with crossed arms, and there are three glasses lying on the floor in front of him. A mysterious hand emerging from a cloud in the sky offers him a fourth cup, but he seems uninterested in taking it. Crossing his arms and legs, the man rejects all contact with the rest of the scene, keeping his eyes down and looking into himself. With an extremely introspective attitude, he is so absorbed in his own thoughts that he seems to notice neither the hand nor the cups.
How to interpret the symbolic world of the Four of Cups:
This scene has some resemblance to the spiritual act of meditation and detachment from the material world. The man in the Four of Cups Tarot card looks deeply into his past and seems to be reorganizing his worldview. He could be seen to be ignoring everything he once knew, including his achievements and his affections.
However, this is not a card of retreat or of positive spiritual practice. This man is rejecting the things that he has already conquered, which are the three cups that are lying on the ground in front of him. Furthermore, he is also isolating himself from new opportunities. What else can the future possibly bring him that he hasn’t already enjoyed? Good news? A new love? Whatever…
He completely ignores the rest of the scene, the surrounding countryside fertility, the tree that protects him, and the godly hand right in front of him. The number four is a number of materialism and conflict. In the Four of Cups, this number manifests as the boredom that comes with a predictable life. This is a solitary man attempting to reconnect with himself.
Count your blessings… don’t take them for granted
The present is a gift. Your relationship problems are still there, waiting for you at home. The vacations you deserve and haven’t wanted to take are still there waiting for you in the Caribbean. Why have you refused to live here and now? What has happened to you that makes you focus only on past experiences and causes you to forget about living the present?
Sometimes we show a complete lack of gratitude for the gifts that life has given us. After so much love, so much celebration and joy, we find ourselves with the inevitable consequence: dissatisfaction and the emptiness of boredom. But clinging to that feeling of melancholy can trigger a depression, making you feel like you’ve lost everything you’d taken for granted. You need to remember, however, that you can also be faced with the infinitely worse scenario of actually having lost everything.
Don’t shut down. Dare to live new experiences. Don’t close yourself to love and allow yourself to be loved. Don’t be like the man portrayed in Pablo Neruda’s poem “He Dies Slowly”. In it, Neruda portrays the sadness in living in an endless routine, like those who refuse to take new opportunities day after day.
What have you done differently today?
Did you say hello to your neighbor?
Did you call your mom?
Have you rejected invitations?
Did you write that message that you were so afraid to write?
Take the initiative. The worst mistake you can make is not to try.
The upright position of the Four of Cups Tarot card:
Numerologically, the number four is related to characteristics of the Emperor Tarot card. This means that we must connect to the world of logic, order, and reason. In combination with the suit of cups, we are faced with somewhat confusing energy. We are organizing the way we feel about specific things, putting up some protective boundaries against toxic relationships, and reconnecting with our inner and most hidden aspects. Maybe you feel like you have finally reached your limits and conquered all your goals. You are still feeling a void of emptiness and deception, however. These are crucial moments of life.
When The Four of Cups tarot card appears upright, no matter what the question is, the answer will always be related to dissatisfaction or being excessively cautious with the opportunities that are knocking on your door. Even if past deceptions and disappointments have made of you a cynical skeptic, you are letting your past affect your present. The time has come to say, “enough is enough” and to keep moving forward.
The meaning of the upright Four of Cups Tarot card when it comes to:
You are in a relationship that is mostly based on sex. Although a healthy dose of sexual desire is important, real love is a balance of several factors apart from sexual chemistry. This relationship may move towards another type of dynamic, but you both need to open up and be more honest with your feelings.
Even if you refuse to accept your health professional’s recommendations, you know that it is important to make some changes in your lifestyle. Take the bull by the horns and accept the treatment or advice they give you. Ignoring the symptoms or casting diagnoses aside won’t make you feel better. On the contrary, it can actually worsen your medical condition.
Continuing to doubt whether or not to take that job opportunity or make that investment can cost you a lot. It is a good time to take a chance. Luckily, the opportunity is still open for you if you decide to take it.
Greed and ambition have led you to close yourself to the world, to those who are most in need, and to your own feelings. You are neglecting your family. Reflect on what is most important to you in the long run, because none of us know how much longer we will have the opportunity to enjoy the valuable gift of life.
The meaning of the reversed position of the Four of Cups Tarot card:
Like any card, the Four of cups minor arcana changes or accentuates the negative meanings of its upright version when it appears reversed. In this case, we find that where before there was a propensity for reflection and self-absorption, we now find fear, doubt and the possibility of losing great opportunities because of a lack of courage.
When the Four of Cups Tarot card appears reversed, it exacerbates its self-absorption features. You may be missing out on great opportunities and pleasures. You may also be letting the days go by without daring so much as to step outside or live anything new due to your fear of being hurt or risking too much. It is time to step forward and drink from the chalice of life. Remember, we only live once!
The meaning of the reversed Four of Cups Tarot card when it comes to:
You are about to meet again with a friend from the past, someone you once took for granted and who has now become quite a catch. However, the relationship will grow gradually since you are still feeling very vulnerable and doubtful.
The Four of Cups Tarot card reversed in a health-related spread indicates that now is the perfect time to make positive changes towards a healthier lifestyle. Whether they consist of changing your diet or paying a visit to your doctor, you have all the positive energy to go in that direction and achieve great improvements.
There are not too many work options currently available, but that is because you are more selective. The more effort you make to focus your talents in the direction of your true vocation, the better results you will get. Therefore, the opportunities will get better every day.
You have ignored advantageous opportunities that won’t come back or squandered your money on superficial things. Now that you have reflected on it, it’s the perfect time to go ahead and take the new opportunities that come your way.
Rider-Waite images used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT c. 1971 by U.S. Games Systems.