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Five of Cups Meaning - Tarot Card Meanings

By Tina Gong


Five of Cups Keywords

Upright Keywords Reversed Keywords
loss, grief, disappointment, sadness, mourning, discontent, feeling let down acceptance, moving on, finding peace, contentment, seeing positives
Skip to Upright Meaning Skip to Reversed Meaning
Five of Cups Meaning - Original Rider Waite Tarot Depiction

Five of Cups Tarot Card Description

There are certain Tarot cards whose imagery immediately conjure up negative emotions, and the Five of Cups carries such weight. This is a card which signifies loss as well as the painful challenges which stem from that particular loss.

The card depicts a figure that is wearing a black cloak. The person hides his face in what seems to be despair. There are five cups on the ground, three of which have fallen while the other two remain standing. The person, however, seem to notice that there are two standing cups as is too busy mourning over those which are fallen. There is a powerful river which flows between him and a house or a castle in the distance, indicating that a torrent of emotions have separated him from home.

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Upright Five of Cups Meaning

The Five of Cups symbolizes disappointment, and the feelings that come when things go differently as you expected. You are feeling unhappy that a certain situation hasn’t really turned out the way you have hoped it would. Instead of moving towards a more positive perspective, this card seems to say that you are dwelling in the past, inducing feelings of self-pity and regret. The water which is actually spilled from the cups shows that you might have missed an opportunity. It also shows that the problem is mostly emotional and not material or financial.

Instead of moving towards a more positive perspective, this card seems to say that you are dwelling in the past, inducing feelings of self-pity and regret.

The meaning of the Five of Cups shows that you may have certain issues letting go of things which are in the past. What is more, it also shows that you are unwilling to learn from mistakes that you have already committed. The card is often going to reflect a person who is so caught up in his past that he is absolutely incapable of moving on. This means that he has a high chance of missing out on what new joys that the future can bring.

Upright Love Meaning Upright Career Meaning Upright Finances Meaning
grieving break up, time of tension and sadness in relationship taking a step backward in your career, job loss, business loss financial loss, still things left to salvage

Upright 5 of Cups Tarot Love Meaning

You may be going through a period of mourning right now; there is perhaps much to grieve over. You perhaps are going through a break up of some sort, or if not that, a time of tension and arguments with your partner. It is helpful however, to understand that not all is lost. The 5 of Cups tarot love meaning signals emotional loss, but also that you may be overlooking what is still salvageable, and what has survived. Oftentimes, these bring the seed of hope. Did an argument teach you about something in your relationship? Did it help foster communication that would have otherwise remained silent? Did the break up bring you freedom to explore your individuality beyond your past relationship? As much as there are things to mourn over, the 5 of Cups tarot love meaning also suggests that there are things to look forward to.

Career Meaning - Upright 5 of Cups

The five of cups signifies loss and grief. In the context of your career, this can take place in the form of a loss of a job, business, a coveted project, or partnership. Perhaps you are being forced to take a step backwards in your career. Or it may be that someone with whom you work might abandon the projects you shared, or you may choose to walk away instead. This may be a period of sadness and transformation. These changes are hard, but they offer a learning opportunity. There may be more to salvage than what you initially thought. Try to maintain positive relationships with old coworkers outside of the office. Stay connected to the best elements of what you lost. 

Finances Meaning - Upright 5 of Cups

The five of cups in a financial tarot reading can signify a lack of resources. You might be suffering a substantial economic loss. There may be lots of stress at the moment, and you may have to make sure that you are not spending wastefully in order to build up your financial security once again. It is important now more than ever to remain positive about your situation. Luckily, this card generally always suggests that there are many things that you can still salvage about this situation, so look towards what you already have, as well as your skillset to see what you can use to make up for the loss.

Five of Cups Reversal Meaning

When the card is reversed, the Five of Cups shows a significant recovery from the regret as well as proper acceptance of your past. You are beginning to realize all of the implications of your actions, and you have finally come to appreciate the lessons which can be learned from that experience.

You may even start to recognize the overall value of the painful experience you had in the larger scheme of things. You are seeing that the suffering and grief that you endured gave you strength and imbued you with resilience. You are ready to pick up the two remaining cups which are still full and go on with your life in full force.

Reversed Love Meaning Reversed Career Meaning Reversed Finances Meaning
moving on from past relationship, healing from old wounds job loss leading to better position, healing from career misstep relief from financial loss, rebuilding financial security

Reversed 5 of Cups Tarot Love Meaning

It is time to stop living in the past, when the reversed 5 of Cups appears in a love tarot reading. This really is the card of moving on, of letting go of past grief and suffering. If you’ve recently gone through a break up, this card can be a welcome sight to help motivate you to accept what has happened, and make peace with it. As this chapter closes in your life, you are making room for new love to appear, one where truly live in the present, and are not comparing current potential romances with your past. If you’re still healing, it’s only natural. Give yourself time, and be gentle; you will find happiness again. If you’re already in a relationship, you may have just gone through a tense period. Hopefully, you and your partner will have had all the discussions you needed in order to feel like you are both understood and heard. Try not to dwell on past hurts and resentments; look towards the future and what the two of you can change, instead of what you cannot.

Career Meaning - Reversed 5 of Cups

The reversed five of cups is a sign of recovery. When it comes to your career, if you’ve recently suffered a setback like a loss of a job, a layoff, or had a business go underwater, the reversed five of cups suggests that you have what you need to in order to move past these terrible times. You are able to recoup some of your losses now. Healing is on the way; you may realize that despite the suffering that you experienced, these losses allowed you to find a position that was much better suited to you. It is also likely that the stress and pain you have been experiencing as a result of these troubles will start to weigh on you less heavily. 

Finances Meaning - Reversed 5 of Cups

If you’ve recently experienced some financial loss or turmoil, the reversed five of cups can signify relief and an end to this period. You may be finding new paths to financial stability by overcoming the losses that you experienced. Maybe you salvaged the remainder of your resources to invest in something worthwhile, like a business or a side-gig that is helping you build your financial cushion. Be proud of what you have overcome.


Five of Cups Tarot Cheat Sheet

Five of Cups Meaning - Tarot Card Meanings Cheat Sheet. Art from Golden Thread Tarot.

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