The suit of Cups is the one about emotions and the spiritual, love, romance, but also relationships of all other types. Cups are just one of the four suits of Minor Arcana.
Before we turn our whole attention to tarot readings and cards, let us first think through the mysterious term of divination alone, for tarot reading is one form of divination, using cards as an instrument.
Divination has been practiced since most ancient days, probably even before the history of civilization. It is known that during the ancient era and that of the middle ages, divination, oracles, various alternative paths, in modern terms, religion and faith, have stood shoulder to shoulder with what we would now call the official science.
It was a different world from ours, but divination has never faded away, even if it was put aside and placed amongst the pseudo, the underground, the occult in a mostly negative context. Many people think divination practices are all trickery and fraud, done only for someone’s profit. Divination is, of course, susceptible to manipulation, but everything else is.
What makes easier to manipulate with answers provided through divination is that it does not offer exact solutions and data. Divination tells about various potentials, but those that have already been determined by our fate. We cannot change it and divinatory guidelines do not conceal it, but try to reveal it.
Tarot Suits Basics
As for the tarot, it is one specific form of divination, using cards as an instrument. Tarot cards are very easy to recognize for their rich and colorful illustrations. Beside the fact that they look strangely appealing and interesting, these illustrations are deeply meaningful. No image seen on tarot cards is random or decorative; they all have meaning and are composed of symbols.
Tarot cards are allegories, personifications of archetypes, images that contain symbols of which every single one plays an important role in a reading.
Therefore, one does not only have to nurture great passion for divination art, but also has to possess great knowledge of symbolical meanings. The science of symbols, so to call it, has its own logic.
Tarot suits are composed of seventy eight cards, divided into Major and Minor Arcana. These two are uneven suits, by the number of the cards they contain. Major Arana counts only twenty two cards and they represent archetypical personifications and scenes related to the higher, major plan. The rest of the tarot deck is the Minor Arcana.
This part of the deck is composed of four smaller decks, each of fourteen cards. These even, fourteen cards suits are named after their trademark symbols, which could be found under many other names besides these: the Wands, the Cups, the Swords and the Pentacles. In each of the suits there are four face cards and ten number cards.
Suit of Cups Major Characteristics
The suit we have mentioned at the beginning is the emotional suit of Cups, otherwise known as the suit of Hearts. This suit is related to the level of sub conscious, the intuition, the imagination, the inner voice and guidance, an introverted character, artistic expression instead of the direct one. This is a passive suit, guided by intuition and emotions. Its element is Water.
The suit of Cups is that of poets, artists, romantic souls, emotional, sensible, dreamy people. These people believe in harmony, believe in ideals and the spiritual aspect of life. The suit of Cups could also present in a bad light, so to say, as being too passive, lacking motivation and self-esteem, being needy, being dependent and so on.
It is good to think of the suits in people terms, for the whole Minor Arcana speaks about the everyday situations, different stages in our lives, experiences we have gone through or are about to get into, about people that make a part of our life, people that we meet along the way, their influence over us and so many more.
Four of Cups Tarot Card Quick Facts
The Four of Cups is one of the cards that appears more promising when in reversed position, but we are about to come to that.
No tarot card is either totally ‘bad’ or completely ‘good’, just as no one’s natal chart is all lucky or all unfortunate. In life, there are rare black-and-white aspects. Tarot cards could be both good and bad, if it is easier to think in these terms.
This card is one about options in life, especially about those we cannot see or simply choose to ignore. We will carefully examine the illustration of this card, but before we do that, we will go through the most important info about the Four of Cups. Here it goes.
4 of Cups key terms: Apathy and melancholic mood, being ignorant and/or indifferent, missed opportunities, not moving forward, lacking motivation and interest into things, accepting what you have, but desiring what is out of your reach, underestimating own quality and what you have, overall inertia
Key essential element of the Four of Cups: Water
Minor Arcana type: Number, 4
Yes/No question for The Four of Cups card: Maybe
Reversed 4 of Cups key terms: Making a late response, becoming aware of the mistakes in the past and wrong decisions, feeling restless, being pessimistic, returning to the same place, another chance, feeling stuck and discontent
Visual Description of The Four of Cups Card
Now, what do we have here? The Four of Cups portrays an obviously young man sitting below a tree.
The landscape appears peaceful and nice, but the young man does not seem to pay any attention to it, just as he does not give a thing about the hand from a cloud that offers him a golden cup. Instead, he stares into the three cups in front of him.
The cups all look the same and they are characteristic symbol of the deck.
However, it seems that the fourth cup offered by that heavenly hand is not of the youth’s interest. He sits with his legs and arms crossed, as in a deep concentration.
On the other hand, this is also a gesture of defense and stubbornness. One could think that he purposefully ignores the hand from the air.
This peculiar detail, the cup with a hand in a cloud reminds of another card of this suit, the first one, the Ace of Cups, offering a fountain of life, we might say.
In both cases, the hand represent the divine intervention. In case of the Four of Cups fellow, the divine intervention is being ignored, even though its intentions could be nothing but good.
The boy looks into the three cups. What do they represent, if they were so important to him? These three represent what is visible, what is in front of us, what burdens us and worries us, what needs some solution.
It also represent what we have in life and what we judge. The young man clearly thinks about them, but he likely does not understand their value.
On the other hand, these three cups might represent those things he pays undeserving attention to, for there are clearly other, probably even worthier things to embrace.
This is also the card with the imagery representing disbelief, distrust, suspicion and stubbornness. The overall impression are apathy and stagnation.
Four of Cups Card Meaning Guide
Widen the view, to see the Divine.
This is the core of the card meaning. It represents a person whose focus is too narrow to see other options of which some are not that tangible or easily visible; he rejects the divine intervention by his stubbornness or his inability to recognize it, due to his apathy and inertia.
Such a person usually focuses on problems or tries to convince him or herself that what they have was enough.
This is a particularly unstable situation and a tricky way of thinking, because it makes us believe we are for nothing better, but, at the same time, we actually do not really value what we already have, even if we falsely try to convince ourselves it is good enough.
In all this, we see nothing around and remain stuck in our dissatisfying situation.
Even if something was offered to us, we would reject it, because we have created the stand at which we are good for nothing more. Someone else could have had such a negative influence over us; scenarios are many, but the outcome is the same.
What the card tries to point out is that there are other options, that what we have is precious and that we are worthy.
The hand in a cloud tells that the highest forces deeply care for us, whatever you decide to call it; the Universe cares about us all. The hand of the Most Divine offers you something amazing and you should not ignore it.
It is something you have to recognize, for it may come in different forms; you will know, but you have to open up your mind, heart and soul.
4 of Cups – YES or NO
The Four of Cups is a MAYBE card, similarly to the one that follows, the Seven of Cups, for it is about options and choices.
This one tells you to think carefully about all the options. Do not cast away an idea only because it appeared silly to you when you have first learned about it. Think first, why do you consider it silly?
It might be because you think you are not worthy of it or not capable of doing something. Think twice, but with an open mind; do not focus to the three cups alone. They are already there. Gove them due value, but open to the fourth one as well.
Four of Cups Card Upright Meaning
In one of the previous paragraphs, we have mentioned that the Four of Cups is one of those cards that appear ‘better’ when reversed.
True, for the upright card, in this case, does not appear quite promising. It emphasizes the uneasy state of ignorance, indifference, apathy and inertia.
Four of Cups tell about a situation in which one feels as if nothing was too important. It leads to depression and deep discontent, because the individual achieves nothing, does not grow, does not move forward.
The individual refuses any help due to pride and stubbornness, which hide the deep dissatisfaction and a great lack of self-esteem.
With the excuse of needing nothing more, a false one, the individual remains in the cage.
Four of Cups Card Reversed Meaning
The reversed card brings a ray of sunshine, for it represents the stage of waking up from this apathy and starting to change things, opening a bit for new opportunities.
The reversed card tells about becoming aware of mistakes already made and this particular moment could be amazingly tricky.
It could turn into even deeper pessimism or brighten things up.
Four of Cups Tarot Card – Career Meaning
The Four of Cups indicates a lack of enthusiasm and motivation at the workplace.
It could be because what you have been doing is actually not fitting your nature and your dreams, but you probably choose to remain there for financial reasons and those of stability.
It is okay, but if you start feeling depressed and unworthy because of it, you should think about changing your job.
On the other hand, if you are not in a situation to do so immediately, do not lose your dreams. Accept what you have, but do not determine it to be your goal. Value every moment and value your work.
By thinking so, you will definitely return at least a part of your enthusiasm, which will help you perform better, an outcome good in any of the scenarios.
Four of Cups Tarot Card – Love Meaning
The Four of Cups card does not have much to do with romantic feelings. It is rather about indifference and neglecting the partner.
It could be you who were being ignored or you are the one who neglects your loved ones.
It is something to think about, in a wider plan, concerning all types of close relationships, including romantic, family ones, friendships.
Four of Cups Tarot Card – Health Meaning
When it comes to health, this card is mostly about the emotional health, since it is related to apathy, depression and everything related to it.
It reflects such a state of mind and soul in the questioner’s real life. Sometimes a reminder is needed to take us back into reality and help us realize where we stand.
Only by bringing our negative state into awareness we could overcome it.
4 of Cups Combined
You already know that tarot cards are opened one along the other and that understanding their combinations is crucial to getting the whole message from a reading.
Each card has its own message; when two cards are being combined, they create a new one.
Let us see into meanings which come from combinations with the Four of Cups.
- Four of Cups and The Force: Lacking strength, feeling impotent
- 4 of Cups and The Hanged Man: Playing the victim role
- Four of Cups and The Seven of Wands: Being fragile, vulnerable
- 4 of Cups and The Ace of Cups: Neglecting others’ feelings
- Four of Cups and The Knight of Swords: Feeling threaten, worried
- 4 of Cups and The Two of Pentacles: Debts
Four of Cups Message
The Four Cups card illustrates a situation of stagnation due to unwillingness or inability to look into other options, ones that come through intervention from above.
It actually illustrates the phase of disbelief, into both a higher force and into oneself.
On its good side, it reminds us that there are always other options, but that what we have is valuable. We usually think what we have is not good enough, creating the illusion that we are not meant to have anything better, which, consequentially, prevents us of thinking positively about ourselves and our future opportunities.
Even if we get them, we do not believe they are meant for us. They are.
The Four of Cups is a card about an uneasy phase of life, but only a phase or circumstances and a situation that will eventually pass.