The midway point of the numbered minor cards is Five. They are the cards of disturbance, change and challenges. The previous card, the Four of Cups, hinted at depression. Now we’re at the Five of Cups, we might feel that we’ve been hit by an emotional steamroller. Our emotions are not just out of balance; they are the complete focus of our attention. It is impossible to describe the depth of feeling that this card reflects. Difficult times, indeed. However, the cards rarely show negativity without offering hope or the glimmer of a solution as well. The Five of Cups is no exception.
A figure, which could be a man or a woman, stands to look down at three toppled gold chalices. It looks like blood or wine, and water has spilled from them. We can’t see the figure properly as s/he is wrapped in a dark cloak that conceals their face. Behind the figure and, presumably unseen, disregarded or ignored are two standing chalices. In the background, we see a rushing river, an arched stone bridge and, in the distance, a sturdy church. The sky is a pale gray.
The Five of Cups indicates a loss, regret, despair, pain, deep depression, emotional conflict, and grief. It will appear when any of these emotions are uppermost in the seeker’s consciousness. It may turn up in a future position, in which case, there may be an opportunity to lessen or even change the impact of the impending event.
It is a difficult card to receive in a reading, but there is always a way through these problems. If not a satisfactory solution, then at least acceptance and adaptation is possible. The key is in the two upright cups. They indicate that all is not lost. That there are still good things in the seeker’s life, all he has to do is turn around to see them. The river shows that all things pass. Water under the bridge, so to speak, and while no-one ever comes to terms with such things as the loss of a loved one, at least we can arrive at a place of peace and acceptance. The Five of Cups says life goes on.
The reversed Five of Cups may mean that you are stuck in your sorrow when you could be taking steps forward. Alternatively, this card may well indicate that your current despair is not serious and will be short-lived.
Interpretations in Various Areas of Life
You may have lost your job or been made redundant. It’s taken the wind out of your sails because you would never have expected to feel this bad. It’s undermined your confidence and filled you with despair. You must not wallow in self-pity for longer than, oh, five minutes. You have lots to offer and other opportunities to follow up. Remember, it’s their loss. You can succeed and do even better.
Your search for a new job feels pointless; no-one wants to employ you, and you feel like a no-hoper. Wait. Perhaps you are looking in the wrong places? Perhaps you need to acknowledge that you have skills that could be put to good use. Until a job comes along, why not try some volunteer work? Learn something new? Or develop those untapped skills? What service could you offer to people who are in work? Can you write, cook or play an instrument? There’s always something you can do. The key is to do it, and then the opportunities will show up.
Your love-life hits rock bottom. Your relationship has broken down; you feel as though you will never love again. It hurts so much you can barely speak. Every time you feel a little better, despair comes back and hits you like a rock to the chest. Just take a moment to look around. There are people who love you and who are worried about you. Yes, you are in pain, but don’t ignore those who want to help.
It’s not the best time to be looking for love. You may have thought you found it, but it wasn’t to be. Your self-esteem has gone. Your confidence is so low that you wouldn’t be able to find it with the lights on. This is self-pity on steroids. Just stop it! Love can show up at any time. Turn your attention to the positive things in your life. Love will show up eventually.
Should the Five of Cups turn up in a financial reading, it will almost certainly be connected to something else, unless you have taken an almighty financial fall. If this is the case, face up to and accept your losses, shrug your shoulders and see what else you have going for you in your life. Money is not everything.
You may have received a difficult diagnosis, or been given news that has caused great sorrow. Accept the support of others, and hold onto the hope that things will get better. This card may sometimes appear when a pregnancy is not viable.
The appearance of the Five of Cups in a spiritual reading indicates a separation within. The key for you right now is to take the first step towards forgiveness. There are some wonderful books out there that can help: anything by Byron Katie, Marianne Williamson, or “A Course in Miracles” by Helen Schucman are worth your time and attention.