Five of Cups Tarot Card Meaning - Upright, Reversed & More

Five of Cups upright

Five of Cups At A Glance

Keywords: Heartbreak, recovery, sadness, grief, loss, healing, overcoming trauma, acceptance, moving on, feeling let down, disappointment
Season: Winter
Element: Water (emotions)

Five of Cups Tarot Card Description

The Five of Cups is 5th card of cups which is one of 4 suits that make up the minor arcana of tarot. In the traditional card from the Rider Waite Smith deck the Five of Cup’s artwork depicts a lone figure stood in a black cape. Their face is turned away and they are mostly hidden so their gender is ambiguous. They hang their head and appear to weep over the 3 cups in front of them.

The cups have been upturned spilling the liquid. In their grief the person doesn’t notice the 2 full cups behind them. The background is gray and a thin stream of water meanders into the distance around sparse surroundings. Water is a vital commodity in a climate like this so spilling any is a big loss. The mourning actions of this person are clearly justifies.

Five of Cups Upright Meaning

There are some cards in tarot which are more negative than others. The Five of Cups is one of these. Tarot includes cards which honor the highs and lows of all aspects of our life.

We need to see these less than happy times represented so that when these times come along we have a card and therefore a space to discuss and process these feelings. Though a completely positive only tarot deck may sound nice on the surface it wouldn’t help us very much when we are sad.

We’d pull a card that wouldn’t resonate with our current circumstances and it would be like gaslighting ourselves that things are fine when they clearly aren’t. ‘Sad cards’ in tarot don’t predict fresh doom and gloom so they shouldn’t be feared. These cards offer comfort and support that give us space to open up and express all of our emotions and heal.

“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without also protecting yourself from happiness.” - Jonathan Safran Foer

Five of Cups Reversed Meaning

Five of Cups reversed

When we’re upset or mourning it can be very tempting to bottle up and try to push negative feelings away. But undoubtedly this tends to make them worse when they eventually do break through and it can also prolong our suffering much longer. When we see the Five of Cups reversed in a reading it is asking us to accept the more negative feelings we feel and express them fully.

It reminds us that sadness, anxiety, jealousy and other negative emotions are part of the human experience that we all share so we should open up to a loved one that we trust as it helps us process and overcome them. It can be difficult to be emotionally vulnerable in this way at first but it gets easier over time the more we practice.

“Every life has a measure of sorrow, and sometimes this is what awakens us.” - Steven Tyler

Five of Cups: Yes or No

The 5 of Cups is definitely 100% a no card. It tells us that the kindest thing we can do for ourselves right now is to give ourselves space and time.

If reversed then it could be a yes. It suggests this might be available for us soon if we feel like we have the mental energy to dedicate to what the ‘yes’ would mean for us.

Let’s Break Down the Five of Cups In Our Lives

The Five of Cups looks different depending on the question and area of life we have asked about.

Five of Cups In Love

If this card comes in answer to a love question it’s likely not good news. It could be suggesting we are grieving the loss of a breakup or that we are feeling lonely at the moment. It can also signify a tension-filled relationship that currently brings a lot of sadness. It’s important to remember the 2 filled cups in the original image: all is not lost and there is love worth salvaging if we choose to.

Reversed the 5 of Cups asks us to accept our recent sadness, whatever its cause and welcome in excitement and motivation for ways we can fill our future with joy. This may be the ending of one thing but it allows space for something new to enter.

Five of Cups With Money

When this cards show itself relating to a money question it means we may have just taken a financial blow. We are recovering from this but just like the upturned cups in the original image there will be less water (resources like money and time) at our disposal for the immediate future. We will need to plan accordingly to make these resources last.

Reversed we will soon feel relief after a recent period of financial struggle is finally over. It asks us if we can develop fun side hustles or profitable hobbies so we can build a financial safety-net whilst doing activities we enjoy.

Five of Cups At Work

When we receive this card for career related questions it can suggest a demotion, job loss or taking a step back from work. At first we feel like this is a punishment but it could be for our betterment. For example we may be taking time off sick and once healed we will be able to return to work.

We are being asked to take this in our stride and attempt to detach our identity from our jobs because we are so much more than what we do for work.

Reversed this card suggests that despite a recent loss or set back in our career we have salvaged all we can and made it through this situation with minimal negative affects. Now we have much more experience and can focus on the next step. We are still here and still swinging and in time we will do amazing things in our career.

Five of Cups With Others

This card with a question about others generally means we feel let down or unsupported by the community. This is often because we feared speaking up and asking for help in time. Even though we feel like it’s too late, it’s not. We can let others know we need aid and there will always be people willing to help.

Reversed This card shows us that we all grieve and mourn together so even when we are sad we have a deep connection with others. Whilst nothing can eliminate the pain completely, support from others can really help to take the edge off.

Five of Cups With Self

When this card comes up it asks us to look within and analyze how we approach negative situations. In the original image with the spilled cups there is loss, of course. But we focused on the loss so much that we didn’t notice the 2 full cups and therefore we missed this opportunity. The Five of Cups suggests we are feeling a lot of regret when we look back at these times and we wish we could have acted differently.

Reversed the cards are suggesting we finally have some closure and acceptance from the regrets of our past. The situation that the spilled cups represents no longer affects us. We are no longer looking back at life but instead we feel relief and excitement as we look forward.

Five of Cups As Feelings

This card feels like bitter sadness. The type that we remember for the entirety of our lives. We will smile and feel happy again one day, emotions are always changing and evolving. Breathe and let it out.