Eight Of Cups Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretations
The 8 of Cups isn't as obvious in its meaning as the other cards in the Suit of Cups which are depicted as easily recognisable emotional states. It is therefore important to pay attention to the finer details in this card to really grasp what it is trying to convey to you. In the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) deck the artist, Pamela Coleman Smith, chose to split the cups into 3 groups of 5 cups, 2 cups and 1 cup. Like the character in the RWS 5 Of Cups he has his back to us, but more importantly to the cups. The 8 of Cups character is wearing red, symbolising blood and fire, not the black of mourning worn by the 5 of Cups character. This detail is significant as it is symbolic of what the element of Fire, and the Suit of Wands, represents; energy, drive, ambition. Fire and Water are opposite elements, they repeal each other like magnets of different poles.
With his back to the cups he is rejecting, or moving away from, grief and emotional loss symbolised by the 5 cups, a possible new relationship with someone he is interested in and they with him, symbolised by the 2 cups, or a possible new friendship symbolised by the single cup. The 8 of Cups therefore represents the common traits of the number 8 of ambition, discipline, practicality, being realistic and in control. Emotional wants and needs are being kept in check to allow for focus is on more practical matters. In the RWS 8 of Cups the person is heading for higher ground, away from the water, and heading right, or east, in the direction of the future.
Just like The Fool this character has also set out on a quest in search for something and they are either sacrificing their emotional opportunities for, or getting over past disappointments, in pursuit of something they believe serves a higher purpose. The Moon is also included in the RWS 8 of Cups. In the darkness and light of the moon things are not what they seem and can be distorted, illusionary, confusing and disorientating. This could be what has driven him to turn his back and leave. He seeks clarity and this emotional, dreamy, watery world is a hindrance and not a help for this fiery, driven, goal focused and ambitious eight.
The 8 of Cups is a card of moving on, taking control and independence. The element here is Water which relates to love and emotions. The aspects of the number 8 in numerology are power, control, practicality, discipline, organisation, self-reliance and ambition. This card is unusual in the Suit of Cups in that it is somewhat cold and the least emotional of the suit. This can be a card of self chosen solitude, giving up emotional ties to seek something else, something higher or something better. Dependence on loved ones, friends and family has decreased as this independence has been found.
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THE PICTORIAL KEY TO THE TAROT
By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)
A man of dejected aspect is deserting the cups of his felicity, enterprise, undertaking or previous concern. Divinatory Meanings: The card speaks for itself on the surface, but other readings are entirely antithetical--giving joy, mildness, timidity, honour, modesty. In practice, it is usually found that the card shews the decline of a matter, or that a matter which has been thought to be important is really of slight consequence--either for good or evil. Reversed: Great joy, happiness, feasting.
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