Four of Cups Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretations

4 of Cups Tarot Card

The 4 of Cups card scene was first illustrated in the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) deck as a young man sitting under a tree, with his arms folded defensively, looking at 3 cups on the ground before him. A single cup is being offered to him by a hand coming out of a cloud just like the one in the Ace of Cups. The artist, Pamela C. Smith, chose to divide the cups into a group of 3 and a single cup possibly to instruct us, through numerological symbology, in the deeper meanings of this card.

The numerology of 4, and in particular 4 cups, can be seen in the 6 Of Cups and the King of Cups. In the RWS 6 of Cups there are 4 cups positioned in front of the two characters. The number 4 represents a solid, rigid structure or something that is static, immutable and unchanging. Therefore in the 6 of Cups those 4 cups represents unconditional love, that is love that cannot be broken, lost or changed. This theme of unconditional love is one possible interpretation of the 4 of Cups. The youth under the tree could be a petulant child or teenager who is being difficult or rebelling against family.

By dividing the cups into 3 and 1 the artists opens up other possible interpretations for this card. The 3 cups should relate to the 3 Of Cups card which is a happy, joyful and social card. As those 3 cups are on his left then their symbolic position is in the past. This card could therefore be post party blues or a need for rest and recovery after a big social engagement. He is being offered a 4th cup but isn't interested as he has had more than enough. This matches a common interpretation of the 4 Of Swords which can sometimes be interpreted as the recuperation, or convalescence, card.

The King of Cups is also a number 4, by virtue of his relationship to The Emperor which is card 4 of the Major Arcana, as are all the Kings in Tarot. The King of Cups represents a man who is emotionally experienced and unafraid of the wild and deep emotional waters of life. The defensive posture of the youth in the 4 of Cups may be due to emotional inexperience. The 3 cups in his past have left him feeling a bit vulnerable or he wants 3 cup situations and isn't interested in single cup situations. In other words he wants to party and isn't interested in any one friend or meaningful relationship.

The 4 of Cups is a card of apathy, boredom and dissatisfaction. The element here is Water which relates to love and emotions. The aspects of the number 4 in numerology are patience, endurance, stagnation and rigidity. The 4 is the most stable of all numbers but with it comes feelings of restriction and suppression. This card may point to a feeling of being tied down, unable to express one's feelings or boredom with what one has emotionally.

© Phuture Me Ltd 2010-2018. All rights reserved.


By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)

A young man is seated under a tree and contemplates three cups set on the grass before him; an arm issuing from a cloud offers him another cup. His expression notwithstanding is one of discontent with his environment. Divinatory Meanings: Weariness, disgust, aversion, imaginary vexations, as if the wine of this world had caused satiety only; another wine, as if a fairy gift, is now offered the wastrel, but he sees no consolation therein. This is also a card of blended pleasure. Reversed: Novelty, presage, new instruction, new relations.

Related Tarot Cards

Ace of Cups Tarot Card Three of Cups Tarot Card Six of Cups Tarot Card Four of Swords Tarot Card King of Cups Tarot Card

© Phuture Me Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

Free Online Tarot App. No signup required.

4 of Cups Web Guides

Wikipedia' - 'Wikipedia

Aeclectic Tarot' - 'Aeclectic Tarot

Learning The Tarot' - 'Learning The Tarot

Our Top 5 Best Selling Reading Packages

  • How We Each Feel

    How We Each Feel

    This is a 6 card spread where it will look at what both of you are feeling in a relationship about each other , what you both want and where you
    $32.99 by Anita
  • Akashic Records

    Akashic Records

    Healing with Akashic Records. Imagine a light grid contain the energy imprint of each soul and its journey, a crystal, a pet, even a home or public place. Within it,
    $89.99 by Aya
  • The Basic

    The Basic

    Shada's "The Basic" is a customized spread based on the question and notes you provide. It is useful for any type of question you may have. The card positions will
    $19.99 by Shada
  • Know About A Person

    Know About A Person

    Do you have a person in your life that you just can't seem to figure out? This reading will give an overview of the energy that is surrounding them
    $24.99 by Kimba
  • Witch's Runes Reading

    Witch's Runes Reading

    A reading to determine what you need to be concentrating on right now, and why. I use my hand made runes and will send you a photo of the spread
    $27.99 by Dorothy
  • 1

If you registered on our App, and don't have a username, use your email address.

Forgot your password?
Forgot your username?
Create an account