Five of Cups

"I learn from my losses and move on."

V: Five of Cups

loss despair re-evaluation regret uncertainty repentance

This unexpected emotional experience brings disappointment, disturbance of ease, misunderstanding and contradictions. Being forced through outside circumstances to reassess one's feelings it can be a problematic relationship or a betrayal as a necessary and potentially creative experience. This provoking inevitable conflict brings sadness. Remorse and separation can occur but its not a final ending. Something remains which can be faced and worked on, take up the challenge and make the commitment to the future.
Inverse: Giving up to fate by refusing to deal with reality.



  • Acknowledging loss and moving on.
  • Focusing on how the glass remains "half-full." Finding the silver lining in a dark cloud.
  • Recognizing that loss is a natural part of life.
  • Embracing healthy grief.
  • Learning lessons from harsh consequences.
  • Shadow

    • Wallowing in unhealthy grief or self-pity.
    • Refusing to move on and let go.
    • Clinging to the past.
    • Obsessing on past lives and past loves.
    • Failing to live in the present.
    • Beating yourself up over past mistakes.
    • Allowing fear of failure to limit your efforts.
    • Symbolism

      Three Cups Down, Two Cups Up

      Tradition leads many artists to draw this card with three Cups overturned and two still standing. The outcome (three) of your emotional or spiritual effort may be disappointing, but now it's time to focus on achieving a new sense of unity (two) elsewhere.

      The Posture of Defeat

      This card often depicts a cloaked figure with slumped shoulders. How is your current mood reflected in your posture? If your demeanor changed, might your mood change along with it?

      Weighing Options

      Do you focus on loss, or on the opportunity inherent in change? Do you grieve for the way things were, or do you reassess your situation and adapt to it? How might this insight help you in your own situation?

      The Marseilles Image

      Growth continues (loss forces growth!), but the garden's getting cramped. How can you balance the need for emotional stability with the fact that time is marching on?

      Five of Cups' Advice


      • Maintaining an affair with memories of past lovers will prevent you from appreciating lovers in the here and now.
      • Burned by past friends or partners?
      • Thank them for the lesson learned and offer your heart to those who deserve your affection.


      • You can't look back.
      • The "good old days" have given way to the "here and now," and it's time to adjust your efforts accordingly.
      • If you made mistakes, admit them, pick up the pieces, and return to work with renewed effort.
      • Don't focus on losses; define new goals.


      • Your faith, at first, may seem like "cold comfort" in times of loss.
      • But if you accept that all things unfold according to a larger pattern, you must look for the role this loss plays in the grand scheme of things.
      • Three cups remain upright.
      • What do you still have to be thankful for?

      Personal Growth

      • Perspective is everything.
      • Each of us is predisposed to focus on the positive or the negative; if you tend toward the latter, condition yourself to be more optimistic by reviewing how apparently dark events of the past gave rise to greater strength or insight.

      Fortune Telling

      • A breakup looms.
      • Don't cry over spilt milk.
      • Take your lumps and get back in the saddle.


      • Between October 23rd and November 1st.

      Questions to ask

      • How do I tend to deal with loss?
      • What life lesson might I be learning now?
      • How can I shift my attention from the past to the future?

      Find Another Card

      Major Arcana

      Images of the {{ $ }} tarot deck © {{ $store.state.deck.copyright }}

      Parts of this page's description of the Five of Cups tarot card are taken from "A Guide to Tarot Card Meanings" by Mark McElroy.