Six (VI) of Cups b

Six (VI) of Cups

6 of Cups Upright


Emotional Security, Being Cared for, Giving and Receiving, Openness, Sharing, Goodwill, Kindness, Charity, Gifts, Blessings, Simple Joys, Helping, Forgiveness, Peace, Harmony, Protected, Being Guarded by another, Calm, Contentment, Sanctuary, Fortress, Security, Restricted Freedom/Movement, Predictability, The Past, Past Influences, Nostalgia, Longing, Yearning, Homesick, Familiarity, Innocence,  Trust, Childhood, Childhood Sweetheart/Friends, A Child/Baby, Young Person, Playful, Youthful, Courtship, Memories, Reminiscing, Trip down Memory Lane, The Homestead, Hometown, Old Haunts,  Old Friends, The Good old Days, The Past, Childhood Issues/Abuse, Old Age, Senility, Nursing Homes, Nurseries



When the Six of Cups appears in a Spread, it often suggests that the past is being focussed upon or that the issues surrounding the Reading are being influenced by something in your past.  By looking into your past, you may find the answer, solution or at least an explanation. Memories of the past flood in. For some reason or other, the past is significant in your life right now and you must ask why? It may be due to your current situation not bringing you the happiness you seek. If you were happy in the past, and it does not necessarily mean childhood, then you could be yearning for the old days or how things used to be.

The Six of Cups can also act as a warning that you are living in or fixated with the past.  If you are too rooted in the past it stops your forward progress and there is a danger of becoming shut down and very narrow-minded. Your memory of the past may be distorted, based more on fiction rather than fact.  If you continue to live in the past, life will pass you by and leave you behind.

If you have been through a tough time, then the Six of Cups can suggest that you are, or need to, seek support or solace from friends and family at this time.  You may feel safer and more comfortable with familiar faces and places so it is not a good time for starting new things or heading off on your own.  If you need to talk to someone about a problem then it should be someone who knows you well as he or she will better understand your situation and how it is affecting you.   There are many you know who would gladly help.  They may be standing by waiting for you to make the first move.  Perhaps, an older member of the family who you look up to and respect?  They may be only too willing to share some wise experience with you.

The Six of Cups may signify a time when you return to the family home or locations from the past to heal and restore. Feeling nervous and insecure you may hunger after safety and security.  You may feel the need, or crave, to be looked after and cared for by others. You may not feel capable of looking after yourself right now which is understandable if you are recovering from loss or trauma.  After all the insecurity the sadness and loss the Five brought, one seeks a place of sanctuary. A need to be shielded from the pain of life in the outside world encourages the retreat into the guarded fortress. Nothing is going to get at you in here. You are safe, for the moment anyway.  You need to heal and find emotional stability so accept any offers of help that come your way without feeling guilty or imposing.  You must learn how to receive graciously and thankfully.  All offers of help are genuine and sincere, so relax in the knowledge that you will do the same for them if ever the need arises.  Don’t worry about being indebted to those who help at present for you will naturally find a way of returning the compliment. You may be surprised by the goodwill and kindness that is extended to you.  Many around you are interested in your welfare and only want the best for you. Expect spontaneous acts of charity, sharing and benevolence.  Rest assured, peace and harmony will return to your life very shortly.

Giving or Receiving a beautiful Gift may be represented by The Six of Cups.  The Gift may be a present or surprise but it might also be an inherited Gift such as a talent or skill.  There may also be the Gift of Forgiveness.  You could be either the giver or recipient of this Healing Gift.  You may inherit the family home, part of it or some valuable belongings or you could be making your will.  As we see the taller Figure hand the Cup down to the Smaller one, it can symbolise that some one is entrusting into your care an item of great emotional worth and significance.  You will need to care for it as they once did. There may be a Teacher willing to share their knowledge if you are interested.  The Six of Cups brings a time for counting your blessings and enjoying the simple things in life. The Six of Cups Reversed, depending on surrounding Cards can suggest being left a wonderful gift by a parent.

Being cared for and fussed over is wonderful, and at the moment, may be just what the doctor ordered, but eventually this very security and cossetting (castle walls, building and guard) will become claustrophobic and restricting.  Staying under this influence should only be temporary otherwise there will be a risk to your personal development and growth.  Return to life and personal responsibility as soon as you can.

The Six of Cups is an extremely nostalgic card.  It speaks about childhood and reminiscing about days of yore. Generally, The Upright Six brings happy memories and fond recollections of times gone by. The Six of Cups may simply represent a time when we take a trip down memory lane just for the sake of it.  You may be sorting through old photographs, watching old movies or sharing memories with friends and family. Mostly, we rush around each day, caught up in what is happening now, what we have to do next and where we are going later.  Very occasionally when the mood is right or a memory trigger presents itself, we are suddenly spun back in time and our mind unlocks the wonderful gems of our past.  A significant song on the radio as we drive or the scent of freshly baked bread or scones can readily set us off.  As the memories floods over us, we can re-experience and remember who we were, where we came from and the significant people or pets who shared our environment.   There is however, a tendency to be selective with our memories.  We all maintain that summers were better when we were children. The sun always seemed to be shining, we were always laughing and having fun out on the street with our friends and sweets were bigger and tastier.  Ah, the Good Old Days! This can lead to you thinking about people not seen or heard of in years or even the desire to visit old haunts or previous locations.  You may get great joy out of all your reminiscing but it may also leave you feeling melancholic and emotional for a past that cannot be retrieved.

If you are middle-aged or older, then taking a trip down memory lane can be a little upsetting or destabilising. You may feel the loss of your youth, physical strength or health as a stark contrast to the fit and able-bodied young person you were many years ago.   Nostalgia connected with old age is also represented in The Six of Cups as the long-term memory kicks in and short-term memory diminishes. Senility can be represented as the adult faces regress into childlike behaviour indicated by their size and dress. Nursing homes can be represented with this SixThe Six of Cups can indicate returning to the family home to look after an ageing or ill parent as the roles of parent and child reverse.  You could also be taking them into your own home. You may find this emotionally rewarding and fulfilling but regardless of how much you love the parent involved, you are bound to feel trapped and claustrophobic at times.

Then again, you may be taking a physical trip down memory lane as childhood places are revisited and childhood friends re-discovered. You may be attending a school reunion (look for the Three of Cups) or family gathering (Four of Wands).  Funerals are one of the best times for meeting faces from the past and sharing memories.  Older relatives, cousins, friends and neighbours often travel from the four corners of the globe to pay their respects. This in itself shows strong solidarity, caring, compassion and sympathy for the bereaved.  However, it is one of those surreal times when the past and all the characters from it make a reappearance.  Much sharing of tales and reminiscing can turn what could be a very sad time into a wonderful memorable occasion.  You may learn some interesting things about people from your past at times like this.  You may promise to keep in touch or wish to re-start old friendships and connections.  It may just be “all talk” on the day or a genuine commitment.

The Six of Cups brings the Family into strong focus.  When we are growing from childhood into young adulthood, we seek freedom and wish to personally express ourselves by living our own life independent from parents, restrictions and other’s routines.  We set about making this new life outside the confines of the family and may leave long gaps between trips home or indeed phone calls made.  We can get so caught up in our present, and making big plans for our future, that there is precious little time for anything else except current friends and social scene.  However, as we get older, once we have had a happy upbringing, we are often drawn back to the home and re-establish strong contact with parents and other family members.  Rather than be embarrassed by our family, we realise that we are actually quite like them and have much in common.  We no longer see them as the spoiler of fun or disciplinarian rule-setters but rather as human beings of great worth and value.  Most of us gravitate back to the family as we get older especially when we have children of our own. It can therefore represent a time for feeling or re-connecting to your roots.

If you live far away from family for work or relationship reasons, then the Six of Cups can suggest that you are terribly homesick.  This may be only a passing phase or one that you find intolerable and depressing.  They say that you should give any new location or environment six months at the very least before making any decisions as you need this time to settle in and readjust. If you haven’t tried before, then set up a Skype Account or one similar, but make sure to get everyone else on board too so that you can all keep in visual contact.  It may help you through this difficult time. You may be realising the importance of your family for the first time.

The Six of Cups readily represents children and the innocence of childhood.  You may be thinking of having children or enjoy their company and playing with them.  You may be looking after your grandchildren while their parents work or wish you could see more of them. You may be getting great joy being a parent second time round. You may be working on your inner-child and learning how to bring fun or play into your life.

This card, because it relates so much to childhood, can suggest that childhood issues may be re-surfacing or coming back to haunt you.  If you are experiencing problems in your life they may have originated in your childhood if the Six of Cups appears so it is a good place to start from.    Life may be too harsh for you now and you may seek the comfort and support that the innocence of childhood brought. It may be a sign that you do not want to take responsibility for your self or situation. You may have a habit of letting others sort out your problems all the time instead of tackling them yourself. You may hanker after the loss of a mother or father and spend time revisiting childhood haunts trying to re-capture their essence. You may also be holding on to all their belongings, afraid to let go of the past.

In a relationship reading, The Six of Cups can represent a relationship with someone from your past or an old sweetheart.  If looking for love, then you may find it in your old home town or on a trip home. The love of your life may even be living next door or at the least not very far away.  This Six in a Relationship Reading can also highlight a Past Love or Lover interfering or causing issues in your current relationship.  They may turn up out of the blue and set you all aglow. You may not have severed the ties in an old romance or still hanker after an old love.  There may be a third person in your relationship but their presence may be either an influence from the past or an actual reality (a real person).  You may be comparing your current partner to an Old Flame you never got over.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder and you may be viewing an old relationship with Rose Tinted Glasses.  You may be very naive, innocent or idealistic when it comes to relationships or very gullible.  You may also be looking for a ‘Father Figure’  so look out for The Emperor falling close by in a Reading. The Six of Cups can represent seeking your parents approval of your current partner or fiance.  You may be travelling home to break the news of your engagement.  Look to surrounding cards for further insight.

The Six of Cups appearing in a Relationship Spread can suggest that you feel safe and secure with your partner.  There is genuine tenderness, caring and a strong sense of protection.  The relationship suggested may not be very exciting or dramatic but will be steady, stable and more than likely predictable.  It is a relationship based on routines and habits.   Generally one partner takes on the role of provider and carer while the other is happy to be looked after.  Most important decisions are made by the carer who shields his or her partner from any unpleasant business or stressful situations.  The carer may have the tendency to wrap their partner in cotton wool or treat them like a china doll.  In the Upright Six, this arrangement is harmonious and works well.  The Carer is happy to take on the bulk of responsibility and the Cared For, equally happy to relinquish it.  Each brings their own worth and value to the relationship, which strikes a content balance.  This Six often symbolises the ‘old fashioned’, ‘traditional’ style relationship.

You may be longing for someone to look after you and take care of you or vice versa.  The Six of Cups can also refer to a time of courtship or receiving a gift from the one you love. If you are in a stable relationship, you could possibly be thinking about having a family. If you have a child or children then you may be conscious of passing down the good morals and values you were reared with (the Lily in the Cup).

The Six of Cups also deals with nursing and caring for a partner who is senile or very old. There is great love and tenderness between this couple who will be there for each other in ‘sickness and in health’.

In a Career Reading, the Six of Cups often represents working with children as in Nursing or Montessori.  There is a strong focus on protecting those who are young and innocent so a career as a social worker may be the right thing for you. You may also be dealing with people who had abusive childhoods, so a position that helped people overcome early trauma such as psychotherapy or hypno-analysis may be suitable and rewarding.  You might also consider volunteering on help-lines or giving time to youth groups.  You might be providing classes or workshops to those under guard such as in prisons or reform schools or facilitating group therapy for addicts or alcoholics. Any career involving making one feeling safe and secure can be suggested such as healing, meditation or massage.  A career caring for the elderly or in a Nursing Home can also be represented by the Six of Cups.  You may be taking time out from your career to nurse an elderly parent.

The Six of Cups can sometimes highlight a career that is filled with habits, routines and patterns.  There may be a motherly figure in the work environment who looks upon her staff as her children. Your interest in an old career may be re-ignited or you might decide to develop a childhood talent or skill.  Beautifiying surroundings may also be of interest such as developing show gardens or doing up old properties. A secure comfortable position is often suggested by this Six but it may lack excitement or challenge. Depending on the surrounding Cards, this may be suitable at the moment but you are bound to get bored in the not too distant future.  It can also suggest going for the long haul in a position or with a company as in joining young and leaving old.


6 of Cups Reversed


Future, Moving On, Freedom, Release, Time to Let Go of the Past, Cutting the Ties and Bond, Freedom from Obligation, Moving On, Packing Up, Leaving Home, Coming out of Rehab/Therapy, Having a Clear out of Old things, Gifts, Genetic Inheritance,  Poor Memory, Selective Memories, Rose Tinted Glasses,  Nothing Stays the Same, Growing Up, Maturity, Becoming Self-Sufficient/Dependent, Neglect, Not Being Cared For, Boredom, Claustrophobia, Trapped, Boring Habits/Routines, Stagnation, Restricted, Dealing with Childhood Issues, Childhood Abuse, Breach of Trust, Robbing of Innocence, Secrets,

When The Six of Cups Reverses it can suggest that the focus of attention is now on the future instead of the past.  The time for focusing on the past and old memories is over. It is now time to make some new memories. You may feel like you are coming out of a time of inertia and are beginning to take stock of your life and what is going on around you.  Moving too fast from the past into the future can leave little time for the present.  You must guard against ignoring this aspect as the saying goes “life is what happens when we are making plans for the future”.  There is bound to be a transition period involved in moving forward.

You may be coming out of a period of therapy or counselling and find that you are now ready to draw a line under your past and no longer let its influence affect your life.  You may have had to do much inner-child work in order to release any ties or obligations you had to the past or certain people.  You may feel reborn and an adult for the first time.  You now have responsibility for your own life and with it comes a sense of freedom.  You can now look back on past disturbances in an objective manner and view the issues from a new perspective.  This work may have involved you having to say goodbye or letting go of a person or place.  You may also have had to forgive another or yourself in order to let healing occur.

You may be coming out of Rehab or have finally overcome alcoholism or drug addiction.  You no longer need others to look after you as you must now stand on your own two feet.  The thoughts of going it alone can be scary but you are ready.  You are being trusted to fend for yourself  and it is bound to feel liberating.  The world takes on a whole new look and you can see the colour and magic of it all.  You are ready to take your rightful place in it once more or for the first time.

The Six of Cups Reversed often suggests that you are leaving behind a safe, secure and familiar situation for one that poses challenges, excitement and spontaneous opportunities.  You had become bored and whereas nothing was wrong, nothing really had being happening in your life at all.  The outside, new environments and even new people draw you away from your old life with the promise of adventure and happiness. If surrounding Cards confirm, then you are more than ready to take your leave.  You probably have been for some time but were possibly nervous about taking such action.  Pack your bags and prepare to leave but remember to close the door and gate behind you for others may not be at your stage just yet.

If you have been cared for by others after a trauma or difficult period, The Six of Cups Reversed now brings a sense of boredom. Predictability and the presence of others and their routines begins to grate on the nerves. There may be a strong desire to free yourself if you feel sufficiently recovered.  After the healing and need for security and comfort, the draw and pull of life lures you to wander outside the castle walls and see what others are doing.  This is fine as long as all are in agreement with this but others may have got comfortable with the arrangement and are not in a hurry for it to change.

With the Six of Cups Reversed, we can go from one extreme to the other.  If you have turned to your family for help or sanctuary it may have being denied you.  You may not be able to go home for fear of criticism or worse.  You may be feeling let down or unloved and un cared for.  No one wants to know or get involved. You also may not have a family or home to run to and feel all alone in the world

The Six of Cups Reversed can simply suggest the end of a visit home.  After all the homesickness of the Upright, you have taken a trip home but now must take your leave once more.  This is bound to be very emotional for all.  You may be given a few things to take back with you that will remind you of home. You might even be given a little money to buy yourself something nice.  You are still a child in their eyes and need looking after.

When the Six of Cups appears Reversed and you have been looking after an ageing or elderly person, then it suggests that it is coming to an end.  Events will come about in due course releasing you from the need to be there all the time.  Depending on surrounding Cards, a Nursing Home may be found, the caring shared or taken over by another or it may unfortunately be due to the death of the person involved.  Regardless, things are changing and that part of your life is being released.  You may feel sad or melancholic about not being able to hold on and no doubt you tried hard to keep things as routine and normal for the person as much as you could.  You are now free to leave and should feel comforted by the knowledge that you have given of yourself, your time and your love.  You have done your best because you are a kind-hearted and compassionate person. There is no need to feel any guilt.

On the other hand, with it being a Reversed Card, you may feel resentful at having to give up your life to care for another.  You may feel trapped and terribly claustrophobic. You may have lost contact with the normal world and friends as your life becomes filled with routine, medication time and hard physical work. Then again it may be you who is no longer able to look after yourself and need to ask a son or daughter for help.  The role of parent and child reverse. You may feel this very upsetting and humiliating.

A distorted recollection of the Past is common with the Six of Cups Reversed.  If you have got rooted in your past or entertained an idealised version of it, the time is coming when you will have to accept that things may not have been as they seemed or the way you remember them.  It can involve a reluctance to grow up or mature.  You may be obsessed with a mother or father and find it difficult to cut the necessary ties in order to live independently. Stuck in an old-fashioned mode and fearful of change, you may stay close to home and spend too much time with your parents when you should be living your own life.  You desire things to stay the same way and work hard to keep it that way.  This can result in you getting old before your time and there will be a tendency to evolve into and become just like the parent you are close to.   However, sooner or later you will have to let go or will be forced to.   Letting go may come about with the death of the parent and the shock of suddenly being left on your own.  You may try to keep things the way they were by hoarding their belongings, refusing to throw anything away and pretending as if nothing has happened. You must understand that you are no longer a child and it is time to grow up.

The Six of Cups Reversed can highlight the passing down of something from one generation to the next but it may not be welcome or healthy.  Depending on surrounding Cards, you may have inherited a genetic condition, depression alcoholism or unattractive qualities or traits.  You may also be holding or guarding a family secret.

Then again, you may be returning to the family home after a funeral to help clear and sort the contents.  Going through such items will be highly emotional for you and will stir up so many memories of childhood, special occasions and times gone by. Make sure not to keep everything for yourself as there are others around who would like to have some of their belongings too. You may have bought a house that belonged to an elderly couple which is in need of modernisation.  The couple who lived there have left their loving energy behind so it should be a happy place to live.

The Six of Cups both Upright and Reversed comes with a pair of Rose Tinted Glasses for everyone in the audience.  In the Upright we can wear them to reminisce about fond memories and how things used to be. We can remember people not as they really were but as a much nicer model.  We can recall them as taller, slimmer, more beautiful, funny, kind, entertaining or adventurous.  We can remember past lovers or partners in an idealistic manner, only calling to mind their more attractive qualities.  We create a big pink shiny bubble and place them all inside.  When the Six of Cups Reverses, it can go one way or the other and we may need to add extra Cards or look to the surrounding ones to determine what is going on.  In the Reversed Six, we can wear our Rose Tinted Glasses all the time and not touch base with reality or the present at all or we can have them surgically removed or ripped off us.  Without the bubble and Rose Tinted Glasses softening the edge of all our memories they can become tatty and faded or crude and harsh.  We can then drop the pretence of our past and face the hard facts of who we are, were we came from and how we were formed.  We may feel very disillusioned or disgusted. This may involve deep personal work as our distorted recollections may be covering up something shameful in our past.  We may not want to face the truth or speak about things that happened during our childhood.  If you have had an unhappy childhood this card indicates the time or need to deal with it. You must come to terms with it and leave it behind otherwise it will negatively affect your current or future life. Perhaps you are trying to leaving the shame of your childhood behind and actively seek a new beginning.

There is a more sinister side to this card I’m afraid! On rare occasions this card can suggest childhood abuse that maybe denied or forgotten. The taller figure now takes the innocence of the smaller figure (symbolised by the white flower in the cup) that looks trustingly up to him… “Like happy family photos that hide a dysfunctional truth” (Mary K. Greer). Instead of protecting and keeping a safe environment for children, they are left exposed and vulnerable to hurt, abuse or injury. Reversed Pages, Reversed Queens or Kings along with several Sword Cards can indicate that something was wrong or dysfunctional  during childhood but don’t go jumping to any conclusions.

If you have made the time to take a trip down memory lane (literally), then you may be disappointed to discover that nothing is as you remember it and also that no one from the past remains. Your memory has possibly played tricks on you. This maybe a liberating or saddening experience for you.

In a Relationship this card may point to a safe and secure relationship but is predictable and BORING.  You may have idealised love and actively sought a partner to look after and care for you.  This was probably what you needed at the time and made you happy. However, we all change and hopefully mature.  The reality of a partner who is constantly watching and fretting over you, deciding for you and talking for you is soul-destroying.  You feel restricted and have no room to grow or personally develop. You may have moved on from your relationship and now find that it is not what you want. You may decide to leave this safe relationship in search of something more exciting.

If you have gone through a separation or divorce the appearance of the Six of Cups Reversed suggests that you are sufficiently recovered to get back out there. You have dealt with your loss and now feel ready to move on.  Then again, depending on the surrounding Cards and attitude your obsession with an ex-partner who left you turns unhealthy.  You need to accept that this relationship is over and he or she no longer loves you.  Go back to the Five and release it. Do not deny the pain or sadness its loss brings but you must try to let go and move on. You will drag too much emotional baggage into the future with you and ruin your chances of ever finding happiness.

You may meet a former childhood sweet heart you never got over only to find that they are not what you remembered them as.  The Six of Cups Reversed can suggest you look outside your own area or normal haunts to find love.  It also reminds us that love won’t come knocking on your door so you need to spread your wings a bit.

In the Upright there were thoughts of having babies or starting a family but in the Reversed, you may decide not to. You may also be thinking of adoption or fostering. If you do have children, make sure they are happy with who you leave them with and also check play areas or gardens for it might not be as secure as you think.  Then again, you may be too guarded and protective with your children.  They need to be allowed some independence if they are ever to grow into responsible adults.

A former lover or partner reappears and may cause problems in your relationship.  A love triangle with someone from the past may take up where it left off.

Childhood abuse may be tainting and destroying your current or even past relationships.  You may be finding it hard to give or receive love.  You may need some counselling or professional help. Shameful secrets kept for years may be resurfacing and causing terrible emotional unbalance. This can be a card of inner-child work but is also a time to grow up. You maybe redecorating or clearing out after the death of a partner.

In relation to Career, the Six of Cups Reversed suggests a safe secure career that has now become stifling and boring. It represents a time when you leave a position, which is steady and predictable for a more challenging environment.  Your current duties get neglected as the total focus is on the future. If you are involved in nursing or caring for the young, you may get too emotionally involved.  You need to strike a happy balance.

After working a lifetime in a certain position or company, the Six of Cups Reversed suggests that you are preparing to leave.  Those left behind will miss you and are preparing to present you with a symbol of your worth.  Accept all the praise, compliments and kind words.

Ace of Cups    Two (II)  of Cups    Three (III) of Cups   Four (IV) of Cups   Five (V) of Cups  Six (VI) of Cups  Seven (VII) of Cups  Eight (VIII) of Cups  Nine (IX) of Cups  Ten (X) of Cups

Wands  Cups Swords   Pentacles

Back to 78 Cards – Brief Page

The 78 Cards – Detailed Study Version (Card Description, Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)

The 78 Cards – Shortened Version (Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)


Copyright © 2006-2013 Vivien Ní Dhuinn

5 replies »

    • Hi Gina, I have never heard of it linked to Soulmate. In a relationship reading I would always see this card as a safe, comfortable relationship filled with sentiment, tenderness, gentle caring and harmonious living. However, I always feel it might lack excitement and could feel a tad claustrophobic at times. It is all very samey much of the time with little growth. It really depends on what people are looking for in a relationship. This could be paradise for some and awfully boring for others. That is my associations with the Six of Cups from experience but every reader forms their own.


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