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The Five of Cups - Navigating disappointment with the tarot

The Five of Cups honors the feelings of disappointment, grief, and sorrow that you inevitably encounter as you make your way through life - but it also reminds you how to start putting the pieces of yourself back together again.


To give you a bit of context whilst you reflect on your own relationship to the card, here are a few key things to know about the Five of Cups:


In the Rider Waite Smith version of this tarot card, a clocked mourner - whose face we can't see - stares down at three spilt cups. Behind them two more cups still stand upright, and in the distance, a river, a bridge, and a fortress can be seen.


Like all the fives of the tarot, this card deals with difficulty - in this case, the difficult emotions that can well up when we face loss and/or disappointment. The three spilt cups represent the things that have gone wrong, or the things we're mourning, while the standing cups can represent what we still have - things we may have lost sight of in the midst of sorrow.


The card holds space for difficult feelings - for grief, for sadness, for being let down. It acknowledges that sometimes when things go wrong, all you can do is take in the reality of your situation - confront the loss you've suffered, and do your best to protect what you've got left.


But this card also promises that you won't always be stuck here, trying to stay strong while you survey the wreckage



The river, bridge and fortress in the background of this tarot card can represent hope, forward movement, and support.


The fortress can be a metaphor for shelter, and for human connection, while crossing the bridge to go there can symbolise the first steps to recovery. And the river - my favourite element of this card, is a reminder that the spilt cups can be refilled. That suffering a loss doesn't mean you're doomed to run on empty forever.


In your tarot journal, you’re asked to reflect on what this card means to you, now, in this moment, and what actions and thoughts it inspires in you. As you journal, pay attention to what you’re personally picking up in the card, but also consider what the key themes in the card might be telling you. Where are you navigating sorrow, disappointment, and or grief in your life right now? How can you honor these difficult feelings without losing sight of what you still have, and where you could still go?


This mini tarot lesson was brought to you by me, Chelsey Pippin Mizzi, founder of Pip Cards Tarot.

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