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The 5 and 8 of Cups: A Reflection

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The 5 and 8 of Cups: A Reflection


I quite often draw the 5 of Cups and the 8 of Cups in my professional readings, and I'm struck by how similar yet different they are. Obviously, their corresponding numbers make up a large part of that: the Five is more chaotic and yearning, while the Eight is more coordinated, approaching completion in the Nine and considered a "strong" number because it represents a doubling of the stable and solid Fours (thus the Celtic meanings of "abundance" and "manifestation" that I came across in the DruidCraft Tarot book). Better, I guess, if an "abundance of dissatisfaction" is your cup of tea.

But both of the figures in these cards look despondent. That in the 5 of Cups seems lost in the throes of his despair, and doesn't notice (yet) that all is not lost. The one in the 8 of Cups seems to have given in to resignation, and is departing in decidedly low spirits. The former is morose, the latter seems more stoic but no less depressed. One is moaning loudly "Woe is me!" while the other seems resolutely silent and preoccupied.

I usually tell clients getting the 5 of Cups that they may have to leave a big chunk of their emotional investment behind, but they should salvage what they can of their self-esteem, pick up the two upright cups and get on across the bridge. I call it "taking the best and leaving the rest;" some emotional baggage will have to be cast off in order to move on. The bridge and the castle in the distance are compelling talking points in making this argument.

When the 8 of Cups comes up, I mention that the man has looked in the eight cups and wasn't satisfied with what he found. The gap in the array of cups can't be filled in the present circumstances, so he is starting off dejectedly over the hill in search of a ninth one, following the Moon (related to the number 9) and heading for the 9 of Cups. In that sense I see the 8 of Cups as transitional, offering a bitter brew that dispels the fantasies of the 7 of Cups but still "steering by the light of the Moon."

In the case of the 5 of Cups, all the man has to do is raise his head and turn around to see the way out. In the 8 of Cups, he has to make more of an effort, in more uncertain conditions and with unreliable illumination over rough terrain. Frankly, I don't see much hope in either one. The 5 of Cups looks more obsessive and the 8 of Cups more cynical, but neither one is in a happy place. At least the man in the 8 of Cups is moving ahead, however fatalistically; the one in the 5 of Cups is stuck in neutral until nudged out of his daze.

Note that I'm making these observations mostly from what I see in the images. I'm curious what other intuitive (not book-based) insights you have about these cards.
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Isobel Gaudie  Isobel Gaudie is offline
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To me the 5 of cups are much more dramatic. He is hanging his head in sorrow, silently crying and he is cut off in his grief shown by the black line, clouded sky and distant bridge. This is a sadness which goes deep. It is my mourning card.

The eight of cups are my leaving card. The man is leaving those cups behind. He walks into and through the night out of the picture.He already has his path and sees his necessary steps lit by the moon. Its an active card. Tired and silent though.

My view of those cards is surely influenced by book meanings in the back of my head, but I just need to look at them to get a vibe that differs a lot without recalling.

5 of cups are very depressive. 8 of cups are more melancholic by its mood.
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5 of Cups and 8 of Cups
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isobel Gaudie View Post
To me the 5 of cups are much more dramatic. He is hanging his head in sorrow, silently crying and he is cut off in his grief shown by the black line, clouded sky and distant bridge. This is a sadness which goes deep. It is my mourning card.

The eight of cups are my leaving card. The man is leaving those cups behind. He walks into and through the night out of the picture.He already has his path and sees his necessary steps lit by the moon. Its an active card. Tired and silent though.

My view of those cards is surely influenced by book meanings in the back of my head, but I just need to look at them to get a vibe that differs a lot without recalling.

5 of cups are very depressive. 8 of cups are more melancholic by its mood.
Thanks, these are useful interpretations, especially the "mourning card" and "leaving card" messages. I suppose it's inevitable that any "book meanings" we've internalized will surface in our readings.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abrac View Post
Thanks, Abrac. I should have posted these for reference myself. Who needs words when pictures say it all! The man in the 8 of Cups has a purpose, the one in the 5 of Cups hasn't got that far yet.
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No problema.

The 5 of Cups has a bridge and a keep, both man-made structures. It could be inferred that the losses suffered are of a man-made origin, something thrust upon this person by other people.

There aren't any obvious man-made structures in the 8 of Cups. The moon suggests that the source of the person's dejection could be fate, or from within his own mind.

Just a couple of thoughts from observation.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abrac View Post
No problema.

The 5 of Cups has a bridge and a keep, both man-made structures. It could be inferred that the losses suffered are of a man-made origin, something thrust upon this person by other people.

There aren't any obvious man-made structures in the 8 of Cups. The moon suggests that the source of the person's dejection could be fate, or from within his own mind.

Just a couple of thoughts from observation.
Interesting. I see the keep in the 5 of Cups as a "safe haven" to be sought by crossing the bridge after salvaging the last two cups. The river suggests a barrier to emotional recovery but also a "new current" since a river is constantly renewing itself. That resonated with a client of mine who had divorced six months prior and was still trying to sort out her life. She had the assistance of the 3 of Cups to help her along the way.
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The colors might be suggestive, too:

5 = gray sky, black robe (figure bowed in motionless grief)

8 = blue sky, red cloak and boots (figure is moving on with staff in hand)
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Hi. I'd like to start by saying that I'm totally new to tarot. But, my intuitive feeling for 5 of cups is that something or someone has left, dissapointed or hurt this individual. The figure has on a black cloak with their back turned toward us as if someone were walking away and looked back. For me, the bridge in the distance indicates that this too shall pass. The eight of cups figure has decided to carry on despite things not turning out great. The five of cups feels stagnant. By the time you get to the 8 of cups, you have begun an emotional journey of healing and of moving away from doubts and dissapointments. Atleast that is how I see them. By the time you reach the 9 of cups, you feel satisfied that you were able to attain/acheive emotional stability on your own. The 9 of cups being labeled the wish card for me speaks to the feeling of attainment on the figures face.
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