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Symbolism in the RWS 6 of Cups

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Wow! Thank you everyone for these wonderfully insight-full posts. I don't have time at the moment to contribute as lengthily as I would wish - but will come back later.

One thought occurs [as yet rather crude and un-thought-out] - in relation to 6s and VI The Lovers.... the issue of choice.

Perhaps the 6 of cups poses the question: will you protect/nurture or exploit/degrade?
In the 6 of wands are we being asked whether we will lead or follow?
In the 6 of swords are we being asked whether we will go [develop] or stay [stagnate]?
In the 6 of pents are we being asked whether we will give [of ourselves to others] or retain [self-interest]?
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Looking at the size of the cups compared to the size of cups on other cards, they are the same size. comparing the cups to the size of the characters, however, is where the distortion comes from. Perhaps this was to keep all the cups uniform (the cups on this card are just as important as the cups on other cards). This can also symbolize the greater importance of the cups to these characters. The cups in the other cards are typically as big as an adult's torso, so the seemingly oversized cups should seem bigger to them.
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Quote:
Originally posted by Aoife
Wow! Thank you everyone for these wonderfully insight-full posts. I don't have time at the moment to contribute as lengthily as I would wish - but will come back later.

One thought occurs [as yet rather crude and un-thought-out] - in relation to 6s and VI The Lovers.... the issue of choice.

Perhaps the 6 of cups poses the question: will you protect/nurture or exploit/degrade?
In the 6 of wands are we being asked whether we will lead or follow?
In the 6 of swords are we being asked whether we will go [develop] or stay [stagnate]?
In the 6 of pents are we being asked whether we will give [of ourselves to others] or retain [self-interest]?
I do agree with these interpretations and can be expanded upon.

pentacles: giving and recieving. also notice that thw figure on the right is (somewhat) trying to grab the coins or whatever they are (matter of interpreation) on the boot of the one who holds th sacales.

wands. the figure on the horse is the leader but he is also being led and protected by the three wand bearers flanking him. those behind are following the parade.

swords. is the figure steering leading or is he just taking orders. are the two his captives (extreme interpretation) or his payers.

cups. is the larger figure of the town hallship represented on the left or not a part of the town at all. only the figure on the right has a foot showing, is *she* stepping foreward to share or to take. and of course teh mitten and dress as oppposed to the shorter dress and bare hands.

all of these cards have very blatent contradicting symbols, and they are all connected in terms of symbolic representation i belive with (confusing) Gemini Duality.
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I was just thinking about the Korn Album (disturbed i believe)cover with the young boy and his shadow protector behind him. This card is disturbingly reminicent (or vica-versa) of this hard metal rock and the lyrics within.

Inner child also comes to mind (once again Korn relates) but the four cups in the forefront of the card are strangely misplaced, even if the rest of the card is very calm.

These connections have been on my mind all day, just wanted to share.
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Ugly but good


Thank you Aoife for presenting this in here since it was fun for me to look at it and try to figure it out.

How about if this card represents the calmness before a shocking event that is about to come about? The environment is calm but the feel of tension is in the air. The guard with his weapon is slightly walking up and leaving, however, this implies that he was coming forward before turning around and going away.

This seems like a plot to cover up and conceal what is about to occur in any moment. Dwarf could be a part of this plot; she is the focus point since she is a major part of this conspiracy. Perhaps there is going to be an attack toward the castle and the dwarf has this duty to signal the attackers at the proper time to start the assault. The guard could have been coming to investigate the suspicious present of the dwarf in front of the fašade; however, the guard then turns around because the innocent scenery of the dwarf presenting the flower to the child convinces him that things are under control.

The child has no parents around so the child is also a part of this scheme to fool the guard. This is not an accident that child is there except to play a role to convince the guard that there is noting to worry about. It is quite understandable that the child is not accepting the obviously large and heavy flowerpot since without another adult how this small figure is going to carry such a large jug around. She and the other child like figure are just jesting almost motionless to generate a peaceful environment, however, dark and light shadows painting their faces away from the guard shows their secretive intentions.

The flowers are all facing forward except one, which is facing away from the viewer. Could this be a signal given by the dwarf to gesture the attackers to back off for now? Because of the signal of the flower it is possible that the actual attack would never happen. The conspirators might decide to change their plans or try it some other time. However, since only one of the flowers out of six cups is looking away this could be an indication that the dangerous plan could go ahead using caution.

Here because of the white glove on the child the conspirators could be the good guys waiting to attack the castle and free some hero or force, incarcerated behind the darkly painted windows. It is not quite known if they are ever going to be successful but this is not the point since this is a scene just before the shocking event and not during nor after.

Of course it depends where this card falls, but in general I think this card means that we have created a make believe castle of lies for ourselves. In order for things to change for better we should go under some bitter shock or surprise to whip us awake from our self-defeating guardedness and phony tranquility. Everything is quite for now, but if we do not change our ways the whole matter might turn ugly. I said ugly but not necessarily bad. What might happen could be shocking and painful to confront but it is essentially good for us in the long run. It is like a painful lesson that shocks us to improve ourselves in some fashion and turning a bad thing to good.
Mycelia
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I always saw this card as a card of happyness, even though the 'dreamlike' distortions have always stood out - or should I say, bad-dreamlike distortions!

When I look into these characters, I cannot see anything that disturbs me too much. In the 'dwarfs' defence, his face is kind and the way in which he is presenting the cup, holding it and bending down to the other character, is warm and gentle.

I like the juxtaposition mentioned regarding the two different kinds of buildings, side by side. Maybe this represents two different ways of life. Maybe the man on the dwarfs side of the image is a co-worker in his 'side of life' which oposes the way of life that the old woman has in her smaller village community on the right of the card.

Could this old woman actually be the mother or grandmother of the 'dwarf'? I apologise for calling him a dwarf - its just so you know who I am referring to. Has he moved on to better things and has returned to offer his mother the fruits of his labour? Is there a bitterness in her that makes her turn away (the second face which does not look at him)?

Maybe, when this older mother looks at her son, she only sees him as a child and not the adult that has moved away and built a successful career - the child that she feels abandoned her. Is there actually no physical distortion at all? Are the clothes that he wears just memories of hers - clothes that she remembers him wearing so many years ago. Is she seeing the child and not the man?

I am probably way off here but it is just as I see it right now.

Yaboot
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6 cups


I am so creeped out by this 6 of Cups card now. Thoughts of Little Red Riding Hood and her chaperon rouge...

Elle
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In my opinion, the Rider-Waite is one of the creepiest Tarots out there. The symbolisim covers so many topics, some of which are obvious others are more hidden. The artist of the line drawings did much of this on purpose leaving the most estoric to the subconcious. The 6 of cups is one of the best examples of this opinion.

I would like to see the Aquatic Tarot designed as an actual deck, it would eliminate much of the negativirty present.

see www.facade.com for an Electronic Aquatic Tarot reading.
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Going back to what Aoife said who is who? To me the proportions of the figures suggest that the figure on the left with the red hood holding the cup and smelling the flower is the child. The figure to the right looks like a small woman. Who is giving whom the cup with flowers?
I don't see anything sinister in this card. It almost appears as a card of, not only nostalgia, but of passing on inheritance(either material or of wisdom), of moving from one generation to the next. The old generation shrinking into the past and the next generation growing large in proportion as their influence increases.
I see the guard as walking back and forth across a set path ticking off passing time like the pendulum of a grandfather clock. I also read nurturing in this card although that may be my stretch and not clearly visible in the images. Perhaps I get the feel of a protected courtyard, carefully tended flowers with a guard watching over, (the tower to the left accentuates this watched over/protected feel).
Reversed, a negative implication in this card would be nurturing turning to smothering. The carefully tended courtyard turning into a prison of sorts.
Woof
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It's really interesting that a "sinister nature" is being examined in regards to this card.

I was always one to think of this card as happy and nostalgic, with that idea of "Selective Amnesia" where a person will choose to only remember the good and happy times of the past and not, perhaps, the reality, which is more of a balance between joyous and sad events.

Recently, I lost the deck I have used for the last decade, and had to go back to my RWS, and in the process of rediscovering the symbolism...I too began to see "something not quite right"...

However, the symbol that disturbs me the most in this card is actually the figure in the backround that is turned away, and leaving.
It seems to me to be the idea of a parent...or at least an adult who is not being very responsible for watching a child, or perhaps that they see something might be strange about the situation but they have chosen to ignore it..."turn thier back" on thier responsibilities, so to speak.

I am finding this thread to be very fascinating, and thought provoking as well.
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