Five of Cups – reach out


Awwww. It’s a sad kinda card is this, at first glance, with the person all hunched over, gazing sadly down at their spilled cups. They held such promise…and now? It’s all ruined. The Five of Cups suggests the querent, or someone close to them, is feeling the weight of failure, and that’s really getting them down.

I don’t mean to trivialise the effects disappointment and failure can have, but there are other cards to represent pain and suffering. And whilst the Five of Cups does point out that a person is hurting, I think the really important idea in this card is what’s in the foreground (in the Waite-Smith image at least, and in the picture above, up on the shelf): that is, two cups, upright, still full. Message: all is not lost, yo! And the two cups to me suggest the Two of Cups card – reaching out, building relationships, support and love.

Five of Cups, from the Phantomwise Tarot by Erin Morgenstern
Five of Cups, from the Phantomwise Tarot by Erin Morgenstern

The message I get from the Five is to remember your friends. No matter how sad things get. There are people who love you, who care for you, who can help you to pick yourself up and get back on your feet. You feel alone in the world, like everything’s gone to shit, someone let you down, or you failed to meet your goal? Phone a friend. Make a connection. Share the pain, and it soon won’t seem so bad.

Two of Cups, from the Phantomwise Tarot by Erin Morgenstern
Two of Cups, from the Phantomwise Tarot by Erin Morgenstern

Like this post? Please share it!


  1. Chloe says:

    Well, as you say, it doesn’t have to be new romance, but rather the seeing eye to eye with someone that can also be found in good friendships, or the love of family. Plenty of options… 🙂

  2. Becca says:

    I’m in the alternative tarot course and this was my daily draw today. Oof, it hit me as soon as I saw it! I have a hard time letting go of mistakes and in my deck (magical forest) the bunny doesn’t even seem as worried about having knocked the cups over as she seems worried that someone will see she knocked them over. She’s afraid of being judged for her shortcomings. As a newish mom, this spoke to me a lot. Sometimes I need to look at everything I’m doing right (the 2 cups still up!) and not worry about what other people are thinking. The other thing I noticed is that, at least in my deck, there doesn’t really seem to be anything irreparable done. Nothing spilled, nothing broken. If the bunny stops dwelling on the fact that she fell a little short, she can just pick the cups right back up. 🙂

    • Beth says:

      That’s such an interesting perspective Becca – the idea that it’s not necessarily sadness about something that’s happened, but also the way we focus on our own ‘shortcomings’, mistakes etc. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jo says:

    I asked why I get picked on and pulled ace of pentacles and knight of pentacles what does this mean? For clarity I pulled 5 of cups can you help Beth 🙂

Comments are closed.