The Eight of Cups is a card of letting go. Although not the most pleasant one, it illustrates an inevitable part of everyone’s life. Our lives are consisted of both gain and loss, of fortune and of uneasy times and many more. They are a wonderful complex of all kinds of situations, emotions that accompany them, decisions we have to make, choices and ideas. The destiny is not something to be changed, but followed and fulfilled.
Before we dedicate our time to the curious Eight of Cups tarot card, we will begin with a few words about divination and tarot reading as such. Divination is just another way to look into our existence, though mysterious, thrilling, a sort of magical one. Divination provide us with answer and guidance about things science could never offer us any.
In old days, science and alternative and mystical practices and paths were intertwined. Astrology and astronomy were one and the same, for instance. Our tarot cards have to do with the ancient and occult, such as astronomy and alchemy, as well. What is the secret of divination arts? What could they reveal?
Unlike popular opinion, divination neither offer us wrong and unrealistic answers nor does it provide precise, straightforward ones. Divination practices offer us an insight into the mysterious realm that lies beyond the visible world. It travels deep into the essence of our souls and offer us answers we could never calculate or predict through scientific methods.
Tarot Suits Basics
Tarot reading has been practiced since old times. In the eighteenth century, this type of divination became very popular amongst the flourishing esoteric and occult circles. The cards for tarot readings were originally playing cards.
However, they could be much more. Tarot decks are composed of two major parts, counting 78 cards in total.
The Major Arcana, related to the major, bigger, universal plan, counts 22 cards, numbered from 0 to 21. The Minor Arcana, related to the minor plan, the mundane, counts the rest 56 cards, divided into four different suits. These four suits are named after the symbols marking them: the Wands, the Cups, the Swords and the Pentacles.
These four suits are associated with essential elements, with a faculty and a class. The cards depict different scenes and people and tell about situations we find ourselves in our lives, about our state of mind and emotions, about the people who come into our lives and more. Each suit is composed of fourteen cards.
Of these fourteen, four are Court cards, representing hierarchy and people in our lives, but could also represent an aspect of our own personality.
Each card features the characteristic symbol of the suit. Our suit for today is the suit of Cups, associated with intuition, emotions, love and relationships in the first place.
Suit of Cups Major Characteristics
What is the suit of Cups about beside these? This suit is associated with the element of Water and the faculty of emotions. Cups are also about relationships, abundance, beauty, pleasure, art, compassion, empathy, the inner voice and intuition. As people, Cups would be artists, pots, florists…all those romantic creative and imaginative ones.
The element of Water represents the others side, the deep and mysterious world of intuitive thinking and emotions. For this reason, the suit of Cups is considered of passive energy.
The suit of Wands, for example, represents externalized energy, the direct communication, the struggle, as ruled by the element of Fire. The Cups are, in contrast to it, calm, quiet and patient.
Eight of Cups Tarot Card Quick Facts
The Eight of Cups might not appear as a card you would like to pull, because it is a card about leaving something behind, about abandonment, loss of some sort.
This is always followed by very powerful emotions, so we could not call this card a merry one.
However, the card could also represent an important change; some things should remain behind us.
In order to grow, we cannot drag the tails of our past all along the way and remain stuck in certain circumstances.
Alright, before we get into the core meaning of 8 Cups card, let us surf through a brief overview of its basic characteristics. Here we go, The Eight of Cups stands for these.
8 of Cups key terms: Leaving, abandonment, rejection, giving up, surrender, letting go of the past, leaving in secret, leaving causes and goals, an emotional journey, travel, sudden departure, turning away from something
Key essential element of the Eight of Cups: Water
Minor Arcana type: Number, 8
Yes/No question for The Eight of Cups card: No
Reversed 8 of Cups key terms: Stuck in the moment, indecisiveness, inability to let go off something, lethargy, inability to leave, unwillingness to move on, depressive mood, fear and anxiety, having doubts about abandoning a cause
Visual Description of The Eight of Cups Card
Quick facts about the Eight of Cups card do not appear very promising. Despair not, for this card is not in its essence a negative one, even if its answer was no.
There are no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cards, actually, just as there no positive and negative horoscopes; it is all a matter of understanding and one’s ability to process the information given and using it in a proper way. Let us look into the image.
Visual description is probably the most important part of tarot card analyses. Once you get familiar with many symbols featured on tarot cards and the often deeply allegorical composition, you will be able to understand the cards combinations and the message they send.
Okay, what is the first thing you notice on the curious Eight of Cups card?
This card depicts a scene and a very complex one, appearing almost as a painting.
The first plan is occupied by our eight characteristic cups, golden cups we could see on all Cups suit cards. They are positioned in a peculiar way; five cups make the first level, while three of them are on top of the first level. What appears a bit strange is that they are not distributed harmoniously.
There is a gap between these three cups, making us think of a missing cup; it should be there, but it is not. We will return to that.
Now, behind the cups we see a scenery composed of rocks and water, a night, clear blue sky and the moon. There is a human figure of a lonely traveler, supporting his step with a walking stick, as he was a bit tired, but heading somewhere.
The traveler’s robes are red, a striking contrast to the whole scene, while still harmonious, when it comes to matching colors overall.
Red is the color of life, strength, passion, power, which tell us that our lonely traveler is driven by some idea, regardless of his tiredness or, better, sadness. The traveler has left the cups behind, even though they are golden and valuable.
The whole imagery appears solemn, a bit sad, but not scary. The traveler leaves the cups behind, heading, perhaps on a quest to find the missing one.
The following card, the Nine of Cups represents a satisfied man surrounded by nine harmoniously positioned cups; we could even think of these cards as two consequential steps.
However, in order to achieve something, the traveler has to leave some things behind. Sometimes our quest lead us to filling the gaps from our past, in order to conclude certain things and leave them behind, but relieved of a feeling that something was incomplete.
Other times, we have to leave our comfort zone and dare head on a quest in order to gain something.
Eight of Cups Card Meaning Guide
I shall thread a new path.
Everything on this card is associated with very strong and deep emotions that are usually processed completely on the inside. The traveler is all alone; only the Moon watches over him.
The Moon is strongly associated with the element of Water, the power of imagination and intuition.
Therefore, we could say that this on the image stands for the intuition that will guide us on our solemn journey.
While the Cups suit is greatly about love, compassion and relationships, this card is about loneliness and loss, but not necessarily in a bad way.
Well, no one loves to experience loss, even though we must be aware that it is a part of our life. When 8 Cups are in question, we speak about losses that eventually lead to some sort of gain and reward.
Sad feelings always accompany a situation like this, but they have to be experienced. There is a great courage represented through this card, even if it does not appear so. We do not have a bold warrior here or a powerful, daring king.
No, we have a lonely traveler and his strength is even greater. The traveler dares to set on a journey all alone.
This is a type of a journey we all have to take, at some point of our life. this is, primarily, an inner journey. A quest of our own, one that can never be fulfilled if we were unable to leave some things behind.
Many people remain stuck in the past, which prevents them from moving on. This card tells that, even if feel insecure, scared, uneasy, we could achieve great things, as long as we believe.
8 of Cups – YES or NO
The card is a NO, because it tells about abandonment, leaving, loss. It does not encourage you to grab something and hold onto it, but to leave it behind. Of course, the answer could depend on how exactly you pose a question. Overall energy is a sad one, so the card is typically interpreted as a no answer.
When it comes to ‘yes or no’ readings, these are very practical if the questioner has a doubt or a direct question to ask.
One card is to be pulled and, depending on its overall energy and meaning, it provides you with a clear answer: yes, no and sometimes maybe.
Eight of Cups Card Upright Meaning
The Eight of Cups card in upright position tells about the importance of leaving the past behind. It is associated with emotionally very difficult decisions and situations in life, with those we know that have to be done, even though we feel uneasy about them. No one is happy when they decide to abandon something; however, sometimes it is for the greater good.
In the upright position, this card actually tells about emotional maturity, about the ability for difficult choices to be made, the ability to make a sacrifice. This is a card about wise decisions in heavy situations, decisions that would definitely make one feel sad.
However, one’s ability to move on and leave the past behind is something that could be done only with great courage and a pure heart.
Eight of Cups Card Reversed Meaning
If Eight of Cups shows up in a reversed position, it tells about a deep emotional struggle, especially if there were decisions to be made concerning abandoning something. Leaving the comfort zone is the hardest part of everyone’s life, even if the person was aware that the comfort zone itself was more harmful than good for that person. Strange, isn’t it?
People are often ready to dwell in an unchanged negative situation than to dare to do something and leave it behind. The reversed card tells exactly about this kind of fear, the paralyzing fear that prevents one from moving forward.
The Eight of Cups card in a reversed position is not a fortunate one, indeed. However, it could serve as a wakeup call.
Eight of Cups Tarot Card – Career Meaning
When it comes to career, Eight of Cups tells about abandonment and giving up. This is not a particularly lucky card concerning career and money, but a card about the important, unpleasant decisions.
For example, if you have been working in an unhealthy environment, where your efforts are not valued, maybe you should leave it for good, even if this decision will not be easy and will make your situation financially uncertain.
Eight of Cups Tarot Card – Love Meaning
Just as in other areas, The Eight of Cups card in love readings does not bring the lovely Cupid in, but makes you question your relationship or your sympathy and feelings for someone. Maybe this was not the right person for you.
Sadly, but not all relationships lead to the fairytale scenario and sometimes we have to move on. The card is about deciding to do so, but it could also be about your partner leaving you.
Eight of Cups Tarot Card – Health Meaning
When it comes to health, the card is mostly associated with matters of our mind and soul and our (in)ability to process our negative emotions, especially those related to the past events.
This card reminds us of the healing effect of leaving the past behind; we speak, of course, about the things that bother you and about which you cannot do much. Of course it is healthy and good to keep good memories, but the tormenting ones have to properly be processed.
8 of Cups Combined
Now, let us see how Eight of Cups stands in combination with other cards. Tarot combos offer us more precise guidelines and reveal many things about ourselves and our destiny.
Here are several good examples on how to interpret 8 of Cups combined.
- Eight of Cups and The Hermit: Ascetic life, visiting holy places
- 8 of Cups and Justice: Seeking truth
- Eight of Cups and The Page of Wands: Searching for inspiration
- 8 of Cups and The Five of Cups: Path of disappointment
- Eight of Cups and The Nine of Swords: Nightmares, illness
- 8 of Cups and The King of Pentacles: Quest for independence in terms of finances
Eight of Cups Message
The Eight of Cups tarot card teaches us not a sweet but an important lesson. This is a card of a solitary journey everyone has to take.
Such a journey leads to a better place and to rewards justly earned, but we have to sacrifice something, to leave the past behind and not to linger somewhere in between.
It is not about forgetting past, but about processing difficult emotions that certainly come with the mature decision of leaving something behind, for the greater good.