International Tarot Day and the 5 of Cups

Mother Tarot - 5 of Cups - Rider-Waite - International Tarot Day
Rider-Waite Tarot

July 8, 2018 is the second International Tarot Day. To celebrate, many Tarot bloggers are writing about a card, chosen by the creator of this celebration. I was assigned the 5 of Cups.

We were each asked to comment on the following aspects of our cards;

Possible meaning of the card
Mythology or folktales attached to the assigned card
Numerology connection
Element traditionally associated with the card
Astrological association
Meaning of the symbolism found in the card
Shadow side of the card
Crystals associated with the card
Herbs, flowers or essential oils connected to the card

Possible Meaning of the Card and its Symbolism

To me,  the 5 of Cups speaks of a time when one is immersed in grief and loss. This is a time of feeling the hurt, not yet the time of moving through it toward recovery. But this card is also a whisper of that recovery to come. I have sometimes seen the 5 of Cups make a reference to a problem with drink or drugs and the paralysis that can bring to a life. But mostly, I see this card the first way I mentioned. Here is why…

I babysat a lot as a kid and the mom in one of those families had a story that touched my heart. They were a great family – Mom, Dad and two daughters. One day I asked the mom about a photo in their home of three young children, seemingly not their own. She told me the children had been her first children. They had died with their father in a car accident many years before and to my young mind, the horror of how terrible that must have been for her was beyond words. It still remains so to this day. I marveled that she was able to go on with her life, find love again and create another family. To me, she was a living tribute to the human spirit and even in my youth I was able to recognize that.

Mother Tarot - Tarot Grand Luxe - 5 of Cups - International Tarot Day
Tarot Grand Luxe

Years later, when I discovered Tarot, I saw her in the 5 of Cups card. In the traditional Rider-Waite image we see a person immersed in grief and loss for those three fallen cups (children), not knowing yet that more love was in store for her (the two standing cups behind her). At the moment shown in the card, she is frozen in her dark, impenetrable sadness. Because of her, my heart always goes out to the person represented by this card in a reading. They are facing something horrific in their life and do not yet know they will find a way to rise again and build a new life. I always want to believe they will and within the card is a subtle recognition that they can.

Mythology – Folktales – Media – Life 

The 5 of Cups represents that time in a life when things have gone wrong and are now at their hardest. We see the darkness in which the person experiencing these hard emotions is engulfed. But there is hope around her when she is ready to begin to live again, to find joy again. This is the time before the turning to re-embrace life. We see this turn in life, in literature, in tales of a hero’s path to greatness, in teen angst, fairy tales, TV shows, and movies. It is reflected all around us because it is such a part of the human experience. It speaks to us of our need to rise above our obstacles. Because we recognize and fear it, we respond so deeply to it when we see others going through it and when we are immersed in it ourselves . The human spirit always wants to rise and we cheer for those who overcome.

Numerological Connection

The number 5 energy is often associated with conflict and change, especially change that is thrust upon us unexpectedly. The number 4 energy shows us a stable situation, where a foundation has been laid. But with the arrival of the 5-energy, something new is being added that tips everything into unbalance. The new thing is making itself known and not necessarily in a positive way. It will take moving into the 6-energy for an inner and outer equilibrium to be reached, but while the influence of the 5-energy is in play, things will remain changeable and uncertain.

Element – Water

Shadowscapes Tarot - 5 of Cups - Mother Tarot - International Tarot Day
Shadowscapes Tarot

Cups are all about emotions, intuition, interpersonal relationships. Water seems a perfect symbol for such things. Our emotions and intuitions are always ever-flowing, subject to change at any given moment. Our lives can rise and fall with our emotions, if we are not able to keep them steady – or at least keep them from being chaotic. The person in this card is finding their chaotic emotions hard to handle and is most likely paralyzed into withdrawal by their grief. Now is the time to let them work their way through what they are feeling so they can swim through to the other side.

Astrological Association

Mars in Scorpio tells us a true Phoenix-like capability lies within. When this person is ready, they will have the willpower and determination to pick themself up and get back to life again. They will have come through it stronger for having persevered through their ordeal. And while they may seem wounded and fragile when in the state shown on the card image, never fear – they are made of stronger stuff. When they are ready to access it again, this capability will raise them up to a rebirth.

Associated Crystals and Stones

Through the years, I have seen a variety of crystal and stone correspondences to the 5 of Cups – usually quartz, amethyst, and emerald. It is the emerald that feels the most right to me. Emerald is green, the calming color of the heart chakra. It is also the color of growth. This seems appropriate for this card and for those going through the hard emotional times this card portends. It is for this reason I associate the 5 of Cups with the heart-healing power of the emerald.

Herbs, Flowers or Essential Oils

I confess I am completely ignorant of the plant and oil essences one would associate with this card, so I went looking online to see what I could find. Lots of info out there, some pretty suspect, but I did happen upon this gem of a blog post by Lana Camiel, a college professor, pharmacist, and herbalist. Entitled, ‘Herbs for Grief, Sadness and a Broken Heart,’ it describes how she has dealt with her own grief from the loss of a beloved pet. She utilizes rose petals, mimosa bark and hawthorn berries, leaves and flowers. The post has a ring of truth to it and if you are interested in learning more about this topic, I do recommend your heading there to give it a read.

The Shadow Side of the 5 of Cups

Mother Tarot - 5 of Cups - Morgan Greer - international Tarot Day
Morgan Greer Tarot

Self pity and wallowing in it. When one is inclined to have a never-ending personal pity party, there is no forward movement or growth. They are stuck in the quicksand of inaction, manipulating others to do for them what they could – and should – be doing for themself. There are those who choose to stay here for a long time, never facing the issues they need to, preferring, instead, to blame life and others for their situation. This is neither healthy or productive and it will create a prison for them on many different levels.

My thanks to Oephebia, of Tarot and Kitties by Oephebia, for including me in this fun International Tarot Day sharing. Be sure to click on over to her website to read what others have written about their Tarot cards!

To read a post on the very first International Tarot Day, click here.

To read a post on how Tarot reflects life experiences, click here.

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