Key word associated with the 5 of Cups include – Sadness, loss, grief, despair, abandonment, guilt, remorse, regret, trauma, bereavement, mourning, heartbreak, unwelcome change, emotional instability, focusing on loss, focusing on negative emotions, isolation, loneliness, emotional baggage, divorce, separation, anger, disappointment
Sometimes when we work with Tarot and Oracle decks cards appear that mirror feelings we may have been trying to submerge. When the 5 of Cups shows up we can either slip it back into the pack or face and work with the kind of feelings that are frequently associated with it.
Beth from Little Red Tarot writes that “the Five of Cups shows us a moment of pure sadness. There’s very little here, but a figure, standing sadly beside overturned cups. What happened? It doesn’t really matter. Whatever those cups held is now gone, and this person is left to deal with it.
What is impressive about Beth’s post is that she gives permission to grieve when she says things like “let yourself be sad. If you’re putting on a brave face or being strong for someone else (or for yourself), now is the time to drop the act. Really give yourself the space to feel what you feel. It may be simple grief. It may be a complex mix of things. Go with it.”
By contrast, Elliot says that “when the Five of Cups comes up in a reading, its message is to “Snap out of it!” Admittedly he does offer a strategy for shifting focus from negative thoughts. He suggests that you “remember the details of your favorite place” saying that “this may be a park you visit, or a particularly beautiful place you traveled to”. He encourages you to think about “your happiest memory of a place to close your eyes and remember each of the details of the place”.
Of course, doing this may prove challenging if you are in the grips of a major bereavement. Being told to snap out of it may distract you momentarily and allow you to discharge some anger as you slap the person dispensing such advice. In fairness to Elliot he is writing about more mundane matters of the heart and his advice is very sound in such situations.
Likewise, working with gentle Tarot and Oracle decks is another soft option if you are caught in a whirlpool of disappointment and heartbreak. Wicked Moonlight has a great video where she talks about her top gentle decks.
Personally I have a couple of readily available mass market decks that I turn to when I am in a 5 of Cups state, just “want to suck worms” and have no capacity to talk to another person about whatever is bothering me. Each of these decks have wonderful guided books and the Barbieri guidebook includes highly creative guided imagery exercises which are perfect for when you are lying in a foetal position under the doona cover.