Hanson Roberts - 8 of Cups


Here's another card of the day for all us HR studiers. I randomly drew 8 of Cups, which happens to be one of my favorites in this deck.

Here is a pilgrim making a night journey into his own feelings. In the Middle Ages and Rennaissance, pilgrims to the holy land carried staffs with seashells or palms on the top. They were often called "palmers." Many people interpret this card more negatively (Crowley--"Indolence"). But it's similar to the Moon card: just because in involves the subconscious doesn't mean all is dark and ugly. O.k., well maybe dark, but not ugly. Using my own person keyword for 8s, "energy," it means "putting energy into exploring your feelings." Or more kabbalah-based interpretation of 8s, "thoughts/mind," it means "mindfulness of the feelings." What do you think?


I like the 8 of Cups too, and recently got it in a spread of mine. Whenever I get this card I know that I have left something behind me and am on my way to getting my wish/dream/goal the 9 of Cups, and that sooner or later I will get to the 10. I never knew that about pilgrams to the holy land stuff, very interesting. As there is alot of blue in this card, and that peace & truth as well as healing are associated with this color to me it shows that alot of thought has gone into leaving the situation, and that the cups neatly stacked show that you have no regrets, and the pink horizon means to me that you are the way to new beginings that you will love. The water that you are going with the flow of your feelings even if there may be an obstacle to overcome, the mountain, as the water flows down the mountain it shows that you are going deep into yourself/feelings. Paying attention to your dreams, the 2 moons the blue one shows to me the dream side of things. the bright full moon and stars the hope. The vines on the cups the fruitfullness that is to come.


Hi again,
Yeh I like the eight of Cups it has a sense of purpose and energy. A decision has to be made and the figure whilst pained by this a sense of knowledge is gained that the emotional and physical loss that may be endured will be the turning point for moving on.
In the HR I feel the figure has already turned her back on the past and is striding purposfully forward looking towards the Stars and holding out hope for the future.
She needs to be careful as her foundations are to be built up again and she cant walk on water! The Moon is also heavily influencing this card and she will go through fluctuations of moods that will determine how she will respond to situations along the way.
I like the blue/calmness of this card and the optimism as seen in the pink/sunset sense of realisation.

Love Wendy


I consider the pilgrim is not running away, he has put all his matters in order (symbolized by the 8 cups) before starting the symbolic trip to the inner self, I wondered for some time if the pilgrim left to look for another 2 cups, but even if can't find them the trip itself is an enriching experience, when come back will be a better person without doubt.

Rachelcat, thank you very much for the information about the palmer, adds a new point of view to the card.


I never noticed the palm on his staff until now. Good information! :) I really like the mountains, stars and water in the distance. I like Flavio's point about the way the cups are stacked--two are obviously missing, and our pilgrim is going in search of them. ;)

Tarotlova, I love your point about this card being 'on the way' to the Nine of cups. :)

This card seems like a weaker version of the Hermit, both are turning away from the world in pursuit of inner truth.

So some key concepts for this card are:
Moving on--leaving the past behind, tidying up your life
Moving deeper--A seeker in search of something--inner truth
Turning point--where someone turns things around, despite the pain
Mindfulness of feelings--someone who is figuring out what is important to them

The LWB also mentions shyness and modesty. :p Now that is a very literal translation of the imagery-- I like it!

Madame Squee

This morning, I noticed the palm leaf tied to the traveler's staff in the 8 of Cups. It was kind of an "ah-ha!" moment, so I came here to see what others may have thought of it and was so pleased to find rachelcat's observation about pilgrims and palmers, as well as everyone else's thoughts and feelings on this depiction of the 8 of Cups.

My feeling about the 8 of Cups has always been more around abandonment, but now I'm beginning to take hold of the idea that it's also about searching for a deeper meaning in this life.

I also did a bit of googling and found that, in the middle ages, there was a certain distinction between pilgrims and palmers:

A palmer is a pilgrim privileged to carry a palm-staff; originally a branch of a palm tree carried by a palmer in token of his having been to the Holy Land. Palmers differed from pilgrims in that a pilgrim made his pilgrimage and returned to public or private life, but the wandering palmer spent his life visiting holy shrines, and lived on the benevolence of God. Betoken on one of faith.

I also learned that pilgrim dress included a wide-brimmed hat and an outer robe, similar to the costume of our traveler in this 8 of Cups.

So, my immediate reaction is that the differentiation between pilgrim and palmer actually will provide me with a significant range of meaning for this card: leaving to search for deeper meaning with the intention of returning (see Flavio's post above), and leaving without thought of returning -- truly leaving without looking back (abandonment) in order to search for new meaning in life.

I also now think "having faith" plays a much greater role in the meaning of this card than I ever realized before. I believe that, while one may have put their affairs in order before leaving, one has no real idea of what lies ahead -- just something "better". Therefore, faith plays a huge role in the departure. (Many, many pilgrims departed with an imperfect understanding of what lay before them, and naturally many never returned, having succumbed to the fate that befell them. However, who's to say that they did not they find what they were looking for?)

That's all I have right now, but I've recorded it in my journal of card meanings.

Thank you everyone for this great study group on the Hanson Roberts 8 of Cups!



I had this card come up in the position "What you must befriend, sacrifice, or defeat" and it looks to me to like sacrifice is the most likely of the three. The figure is not running away, but sacrificing what he has in hopes of something better. It is a difficult decision, but as the twilight suggests, the sun has already set on his old life and ways and the time has come. What those 8 cups hold is nothing compared to the river, lake, waterfall, and whatever else he now moves towards. The stars show that he is moving toward something that he has wished for and dreamed about.

I also noticed in the way the cups are stacked that this sacrifice is something he has spent time "building up". Unfortunately, it looks like he has built it into a wall. The ivy growing around the cups reinforces this, like those cups are stuck or have not moved in some time. It reminds me of another 8, the 8 of swords forming a prison. However in the 8 of cups, he has removed the blindfold (now flowing freely over his shoulder) and he is moving on.


Wow, I always wondered at the wide brimmed hat. I have always seen the traveler saying good bye to the mountains and ready to cross the river, thats just me.


I had noticed also the ivy around the cups as being fairly significant. ....to me it speaks of stagnant water .....he's grown weary of his old life, it isn't satisfying him anymore. .....The waterfall is new and exciting, full of life and new experiences.

this brings to mind "the grass is always greener"

the pink sky also brings to mind an old saying "red sky at night sailors delight, red sky in morning, sailors take warning" .....the day will dawn bright and clear in the morning, the sun will come up, and burn away all the dew, the moon will disappear and he'll have realized he made the right decision.