Five (V) of Cups b

 Five (V) of Cups

5 of Cups Upright


Impermanence, Unhappy Change, Loss, Grief, Trauma, Bereft, Despair, Mourning, Sadness, Deep Sorrow, Heart Broken, Inconsolable, Broken Spirit, Unstable, Painful Time, Remorse, Regret, Shame, Guilt, Self-Blame, Emotional Baggage, Wallowing, Withdrawn, Focusing on Past, Focusing on Loss, Defeat, Deflated, Separation, Divorce, Goodbyes, Abandonment, Losing Out, Loneliness,  Isolation, Alienation, Exile, Readjustment, All not Lost, Support, Deep Anger, Deep Disappointment, Strong Emotions, What Ifs, If Onlys, Crying Over Spilt Milk, Inheritance, Legacy,



There is no getting away from it but The Five of Cups brings sorrow, loss, grief and suffering.  Its very presence indicates that have suffered a crushing blow on an emotional level.  Its position in the Reading dictates whether it is current or in the past.  However, if in the past and either recent or distant its ripples will still have the ability to cause emotional tremors.

Intense dark emotions govern you at present. Life has certainly turned upside down for you and your carpet has literally been ripped from under your feet.  You may feel inconsolable, and caught up in a tidal wave of emotion may very well see no hope for the future.  Indeed, the pain experienced now, can be very raw indeed. You have lost something of great emotional value to you, had it taken away or have had to let it go.   Defeated and deflated you feel may dreadfully disillusioned about life and all that you have worked towards.

Your deep sadness or loss may cause you to turn inwards in an attempt to make sense of what has happened. You may have cut yourself off from life and all you know and are familiar with. Friends and family may not be able to reach the lonely place you exist in. This is a natural process of grief and indeed trying to hurry or deny this time can result in internalising the pain which can cause chronic emotional, mental and physical problems for you in the future.  You may not understand this in your present state of mind and will certainly not appreciate being told that this dreadful time will pass and with it, the heavy pain and sadness, for all is not lost when the Five of Cups appears in your reading.

You may think that your life is over and that it will never get any better but you have more going for you than you realise.   When the mists of grief and sadness lift, you will realise this and will become aware of the blessings you do have.  These blessings, represented by the Two Standing Cups may be friends, family, a new relationship, opportunities or inner potential not yet realised.  Then, like the Figure in the card your blessings will lead you back across the bridge to stability.  You will then be able to move forward with your new life and find a new normal.  The Five of Cups often brings irrevocable change and therefore it may not be possible to go back to where you were at that place in time before the Three Cups were knocked over.  That is in the past now and you have been stuck there with it too long allowing your life and feelings to become narrowed and very limiting.  Your focus must now be on the future and the belief that you still have one worth living for.

The Five of Cups also brings remorse, guilt and self-blame.  What is it that you have done that you now terribly regret? If only you could turn back the clock, if only you hadn’t said what you said, done what you did then you could put it all back the way it was. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.  Strong emotions obviously influenced your actions and in the cold light of day you can take stock of the damage you have caused.  People may shun you, friends turn away from you and family disown you.  You may feel like a low-lifer and want to throw yourself in the river but things are not as bad as you think they are.  Remember those Two Cups.  The worst thing you can do right now is to wallow in your misery and slink away.  Face up to the upset you have caused and although you will not be able to totally right the wrong you might be able to put this sorry mess behind you. Ask for forgiveness of those you have hurt and show them you mean it.  In time this whole sorry incident may become water under the bridge.

Then again, you may be making a drama out of nothing or prolonging a drama just to get attention.  Just be aware that although friends stand by you at the moment and want to hold your hand, they will tire of this eventually and back off.  Do you really want to become the archetypal victim or martyr to those around you? Everyone has their own problems and you are not the only one suffering.  There is also no point in crying over spilt milk or locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. Acknowledge any mistakes or poor decisions you have made instead of wishing for what might have been.

If you have recently lost someone through bereavement, then the remaining standing Cups can stand for an inheritance or legacy,  as something of value has been left behind.  You may be experiencing regret on top of your grief if you have not parted on good terms, felt that you had neglected your relationship with them or took them for granted.  Arguments and angry words may have been spoken and now the opportunity to apologise will never come to be for it is too late.  You may also have been physically responsible for their death through carelessness or anger. There may be feelings of shame or self-blame and a feeling that it is all your fault.  You cannot turn back the clock so you will have to find a way to deal with it otherwise it will eat you up inside.  This card brings the depths of despair in its wake.

In a relationship spread the Five of Cups can represent the end of a relationship.  The happy couple of the Two of Cups and the Celebrations of the Three of Cups for their engagement or marriage may have turned terribly sour. The One you loved may have changed or then again you may never have really known them or preferred to view them through rose-tinted glasses.  Rose tinted glasses only have a certain shelf-life before they become crystal clear and show up all sorts of nasty things not viewed before.  There may have been deceit, infidelity or just plain old falling out of love with you. You may feel terribly betrayed and disillusioned with the one you have put all your trust in.

Then again, it may be you who has broken the link and now wants out.  Maybe you have met someone else and feel the dreadful weight of responsibility for bringing such sadness and upset to your partner or spouse.  Separation or divorce may be on the cards and possibly children involved in the sorry mess. The Five of Cups can also suggest that you have a habit of focusing on the past and what you have lost instead of looking to what you have. Your heart may still be connected to a past relationship rather than the one you are currently in.  The Two Standing Cups suggest that while you are thinking about your old flame and what might have been, you are ignoring the wonderful opportunities and blessings of your current one. He or she wants to make a new life with you on the far side of the bridge, but to do that it involves you wanting to cross it with them.

The Five of Cups represents bereavement so there may be the loss of a partner, spouse or loved one.  It may be time to say goodbye to something or someone you once held dear.   If you have been separated or bereaved, there may be the possibility of other relationships around you. However, due to the pain and loss you are unaware of them at present. In time you will raise your head and cast off the black cloak. The Two remaining Cups usually represent something of value left behind so whoever it is will wait for you and respect your time of grief.

If you are finding it hard to come to terms with a death, the this Five can suggest bereavement counselling may be beneficial for you at this time. You may find it impossible to talk to those who have not experienced a loss like yours so joining a bereavement group will bring you into contact with other people in your situation. You may feel less alone and isolated by spending time with like-minded people. However, while it is consoling and comforting to know that you are not the only one who has lost someone dear, you should not become dependent on this group and become too immersed in grief and sorrow as this will only feed your own.  You must cross that bridge back to mainstream life at some stage.

Career related, job loss or financial ruin leaves you staggering and unable to cope. If in business, it may have collapsed.  You may have suffered a crushing defeat to a competitor and feel that there is no hope and no point in continuing on.  business Partners or staff may have betrayed you or jumped ship as soon as the going got tough.  You are bound to feel very despondent and depressed if you have put your heart and soul into this project but don’t let it destroy you.  All hope is not lost as something can still be salvaged out of this apparent disaster.  You still have something you can build from.  You also have people around you who want to help so try to let them in.  Recovery might be slow, but in time, you may look back on this distressing situation as a blessing in disguise.

The Five of Cups can also suggest bereavement counselling as a career.


5 of Cups Reversed


Moving On, Re-Joining Life, Emotional Reawakening, Emotional Strength, Accepting/Seeking Support, Forgiveness, Letting Bygones be Bygones, Water Under the Bridge, Focusing on Future, Being Open to Change, Re-union, Inheritance Challenged or Worthless, Black Sheep, Prolonged Grief, Internalising Grief,  Stuck in Past/Rut, Denial, Refusing to Move On, Unable to Forgive, Victim Mentality, Deep Depression,

When the Five of Cups Reverses, it is an indication that enough time has been spent in grieving or mourning your loss.  Like the Figure in the Reversed Five of Cups, you suddenly become aware of the Two Standing Cups which stir you into emotional engagement once more. Holding a Cup in each hand to regain stability you slowly make your way to the bridge interested to see what might be on the other side of it.  It is now time to move on and you are ready to rejoin life.

The Five of Cups Reversed, is a positive indication that you have dealt with your pain and have come to some kind of acceptance or resignation.  After much time spent staring at the fallen Cups and wishing them upright once more you finally realise that that ship has sailed and no amount of wishful thinking on your part will change it.  It is time to clean up the spilt milk, wine or blood and discard of the broken Cups. They are broken beyond mend and you can look forward to replacing them with new ones.  Give much consideration when choosing your new Cups for you will want them to be made of stronger stuff than the last ones.

The Five of Cups Reversed also represents that time when it would be wise to allow friends and family to support you.  During your dark days of depression and gloom they have been there for you but felt powerless to help.  We all need someone to lean on from time to time and even though this has happened to you it does not mean that those around you have not been effected by it too.  Everyone may be hurting and all may need healing.  Try not to isolate yourself from those who love you.  If you have been exiled from the family and shunned by friends due to your words or deeds, then a thaw may have set in. Those effected may be ready to forgive or at least meet you halfway.  This may involve everyone having to put the past behind them and let bygones be bygones.

When the Five of Cups Reverses, it is time to let go the past and turn towards the future. This may involve you also having to forgive and forget. On the other hand you may be unable to or refuse to move on from your pain and sorrow, especially if you deny your loss.  With this Reversed Five comes the tendency to feel the victim or martyr as a result of your experience or experiences in life. Negativity attracts more negativity so if you see yourself as the Mother of Sorrows, then, so shall you be, and life will mimic your beliefs. Your big black cloak becomes your second skin and a dark cloud hovers above you constantly.  You are a misery to be around and leach all joy from the atmosphere. However you may be putting on a brave front to all but secretly dying inside. Wanting to protect others, especially children, from witnessing your grief or sadness, you may internalise it while maintaining a business as normal attitude.  Deep depression may be manifesting.

The Reversal of the Five of Cups can bring concerns regarding inheritances.  There may be little left to inherit or there may be others who lay claim to it. This card also deals with ancestral matters.  After the death of a loved one some interesting stories may come to light.  You may discover that you have a brother or sister you never met or that the person you always thought of as your mother or father is actually your aunt or uncle or even your older sister or brother.  If you are exploring your family history you may discover some infamous ancestors.  The Television Programme, ‘Who do You Think You are?’, always uncovers some surprises or scandal for the shocked participant.  You may feel an outsider in your family and feel you do not fit in.   If you were separated from your parents or separated from your child at birth this card reversed may indicate the search for each other or eventual reunion. The surrounding cards would have to support this theory or interpretation along with validation from the Querant otherwise it is a dangerous area to speculate about.

In relationships the time for mourning and beating yourself up is over.  Your heart has healed sufficiently for you to take a chance on life or love once more.  You are slowly becoming consciously aware of the Two Cups Standing behind you and are curious to find out more. Someone special may have been waiting in the background for you all this time.   You may be socialising once more and accepting invitations, eager to have fun and enjoy yourself.  The Black Cloak has gone and you see colour around you once more. Life beckons and you have a renewed interest in your appearance, hairstyle and clothes.

The Black Cloak of your past experiences has weighed you down for long enough and blocked your potential for happiness. The Five of Cups Reversed can indicate an emotional release or maturing as you forgive and forget the past allowing a deeper relationship to develop with an existing or new partner.

However, if you have been separated or divorced, you may not be able to move on, determined to keep the pain of abandonment fresh and raw. This can result in you becoming emotionally dysfunctional and unavailable.  Behaving like the archetypal victim or martyr, you think you are the only person that this has ever happened to. Friends slowly back off, tired of hearing the same old sob stories about what he or she did or said.  You are stuck in the past and in a rut. Your bridge is very far away indeed because you deliberately move away from it rather than towards it.  Any attempts by others to lead you to it are blocked by your refusal of acceptance. You are alone in the world only if you choose to be.  Time to get a life again and leave the past behind.  Time to forgive and let go. It’s all water under the bridge at this stage and no one but you gives a damn anymore so stop wasting your time and energy on it.  Stop dwelling on past failures and count your many blessings for you may have gained more than you lost.

In business, the initial staggering blow has worn off and you set about seeing what can be salvaged out of the situation.  Once you have allowed your emotions to settle, you may discover that things are not as bad as you first thought.  You discover that all is not lost and your business can still be viable.  On the other hand, you decide to cut your losses and move on.  Taking only what you can carry, the Two Cups, you head off to the bridge at a sprint, eager to start over with fresh ideas and plans. After shedding the weight of worries from your shoulders you feel lighter and more positive about the future.

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

3 replies »

  1. Very nice, exhaustive analysis. I enjoyed reading and discovered different aspects of the situation. Thank you for the care you put into your work.


    • Hi Rodger,

      I am glad you have enjoyed reading about the Five of Cups and the different aspects it can bring to a reading. I try my best to open the card, its imagery and elemental energy to its maximum so that better understanding can be arrived at.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.