Upright: Loss, regret, disappointment, despair, bereavement
Reversed: Moving on, acceptance, forgiveness

The Five of Cups is a card that signifies difficulty, loss, and the challenges of dealing with that loss. The figure in the card wears a black cloak in which he hides his face in apparent despair. At his feet are five cups, three of which have fallen and spilled onto the ground and the other two behind his back remain standing. He does not seem to notice these upstanding cups because he is so focused on the fallen cups instead. Ahead of him a powerful river flows between himself and a castle or home in the distance. To his right is a bridge that can lead him to the security of the house across the river. Despite the fact that this card has a strong indication of loss and tribulation, there is a positive aspect that must be considered. Is your cup half full or half empty?

The Five of Cups represents a lack of fulfilment or non-attainment of expected results. You are feeling disappointed that a situation has not turned out as you had hoped, and instead of moving on to greener pastures, you are wallowing in self-pity and regret about what has been lost. The water spilled from the cups shows that the cause for regret is more emotional than financial. You are quickly becoming disillusioned with life and increasingly pessimistic about your future.
The Five of Cups suggests that you are having trouble letting go of the past and learning from your mistakes. This card can often reflect a person who is caught up in the past and unable to move on, missing out on new opportunities. Bitter memories from the past continue to bother you, and often a great deal of the blame for past actions is placed on yourself and your inadequacies. To some it would seem that there is no way out of this situation but the Tarot always shows problems on one hand and solutions on the other.
Forgiveness and the ability to recover after emotional loss are necessary. If you are feeling disappointed by another person’s actions, and then find it within your heart to forgive that person, releasing yourself from the disappointment. You may also need to re-assess your expectations that have led you to this disappointment. Were you expecting too much?
Remember, too, that hindsight is much clearer than foresight and present-day wisdom is gained from the mistakes of the past. Reflect on what lead you to this point and understand what important lessons you can take from the experience. Even when things go pear-shaped, there is always something positive that can be gained by reflecting on the lessons learned.
While it is true that much has been lost, there is still a ray of hope because some of the cups in this card remain full and upright. You must not pity yourself when you find yourself in his situation. Instead of looking at the situation from a ‘glass is half empty’ perspective, look at it from a ‘glass is half full’ perspective.

The reversed Five of Cups shows recovery from regret and an acceptance of the past. Now, you are beginning to realise the full implications of the past and you have come to appreciate the lessons learned from the experience. You may even recognise the value of the painful experience in the broader scheme of things in preparing you for later experiences. You are ready to pick up the remaining two cups that are full of the water of emotional growth and go on.
This card is also about learning to be open and to take risks again. It is a card of a lingering sense of regret, nostalgia and bittersweet memories but the card itself speaks of being hopeful for the future, getting over whatever you need to get over, and of seeing the sun peek through the clouds once again! If you have suffered a broken romance, the reversed Five of Cups signifies an end to the suffering, and a beginning to new loves and relationships, new interests, and new emotional outlets. You are starting to engage with the inspiring, creative and feeling side of life again.
The reversed Five of Cups is about values and knowing what you truly want and what will really make you happiest. It is about the hidden blessings that lie behind obvious disappointments. Sometimes disappointments are required to see through illusions and free you to find what is truly of value in life. Once you have made this transition, you will be free to embrace new opportunities.
Sometimes, the reversed Five of Cups indicates a feeling of being trapped in the past, holding on too tightly to the might-have-beens, and not being able to focus on the positive. The reversal could also indicate buried feelings of regret, that you are not allowing to surface and therefore they never get dealt with and brought to closure. Five is also the number of change, and indicates an emotional destabilisation that is intended to create change in how you approach your life.



Five of Cups Tarot Card Key Meanings:
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

General meaning and interpretation
How many negative emotions can one card represent? Quite a few in the case of the Five of cups! In a general context, the Five of Cups Tarot card can represent sadness, loss, loneliness and despair. When this card appears it indicates that you are focusing on the negative. This may be the result of some sort of trauma or unwelcome change you have suffered. As such, this card can signify heartbreak, divorce or separation. The Five of Cups also tends to appear if you have suffered a recent bereavement as it represents mourning and grief. It is a card of emotional baggage and instability and can signify that you feel deep remorse, regret, anger, sorrow or disappointment. It is also the Minor Arcana card of abandonment and can either represent you being abandoned by someone significant to you or you abandoning plans or people in your life. It can also indicate loneliness or isolation. However, for all the negative connotations this card can bring there is a positive message underneath it all. The figure depicted in the card is crying over the spilt cups and seems to be oblivious to the fact that two cups are still upright. This is reminding you that no matter how bad things may seem there is always a silver lining, you just have to choose to see it.

In a health context, the Five of Cups can indicate emotional baggage causing mental health issues. It can represent grief or sadness causing depression or your need to isolate yourself causing you panic attacks in social situations or agoraphobia. Try to get back out into the world. Take small steps at first such as a quiet coffee with a trusted friend and gradually bring yourself back to the world around you. If you are struggling, you may benefit from speaking to a professional counsellor.

Love & Relationships
In a love Tarot spread, if you are single, the Five of Cups can indicate that you are overcome with sadness or despair about a past relationship that did not work out. You may feel as though “The One” has slipped through your fingers and could be oblivious to potential partners as you are so focused on your sense of loss. You may also be consumed by remorse, regret or guilt. Perhaps due to mistakes you made in a past relationship. The Five of Cups is also a card of bereavement and as such, can indicate the loss of a loved one. If you have lost a partner, the Five of Cups can signify that you are isolating yourself as you feel too heartbroken to even contemplate dating anyone. If you do not feel up to dating, that is ok! However, try not to isolate yourself. You must deal with the present and try to stay grounded. Keep a supportive network of friends around you or join a support group if you need help. There is still love in your future even if you are not quite ready for it at the moment. If you are in a relationship, the Five of Cups is not a great omen as it can signify a break-up, separation or divorce. It can also indicate that you may be still harbouring old feelings about an ex rather than emotionally committing 100% to your current relationship. If so, you will need to work on resolving these feelings, if you want your current relationship to move forward. The Five of Cups can also represent abandonment or can simply indicate that fear of abandonment is causing friction in your relationship.

Money & Career
In a career context, the Five of Cups can indicate a job loss or the collapse of a business. If you are in business it can also signify a business partner or staff member abandoning the company or it can signify you leaving the business or abandoning a business plan. Although this indicates an unwelcome, difficult change in circumstances there is still something that can be salvaged from the situation so try not to let anger, frustration or despair overwhelm you. It can also represent a career in grief or trauma counselling. In financial Tarot spread, the Five of Cups can indicate a financial loss so now is not a time to be frivolous with money or to make investments. If you have suffered a recent bereavement, the Five of Cups can indicate that you will receive some sort of inheritance.

In a spiritual context, the Five of Cups indicates that you may be holding on to feelings of deep anger, frustration or resentment. As the saying goes, holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. You need to forgive those who have wronged you, for your own sake in order to move forward on your spiritual path. Consider therapy or energy healing to help you put these emotions behind you. Try to visualise those who have hurt you coming to you to apologise for the pain they caused you in the past and ask the universe to help you to forgive them, forgive yourself and release the pain you have been holding onto
Five of Cups Reversed Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Moving forward/ moving on, accepting help, healing, forgiveness, re-joining the world, releasing emotions, letting go of grief, letting go of regret or guilt, letting go of sorrow, overcoming despair, releasing emotional baggage, acceptance
Reversed Meaning Guide

General meaning and interpretation
In a general context, the Five of Cups Tarot card reversed represents acceptance, forgiveness and healing. You have come to terms with your grief and sorrow. You have realised that living the rest of your life in regret, mourning or sadness will not change the past and have accepted that you have to move on with your life. You are beginning to open up your awareness to the opportunities that have been all around you all along. Alternately, the card can also indicate the negative feelings of the upright card being prolonged or dragged out. However, the Five of Cups reversed usually signifies that you are ready to begin re-joining the world. You are letting of the past, releasing your negative emotions and emotional baggage. You may also be willing now to accept help from those around with this Minor Arcana card in your Tarot reading. This is a positive step forward as previously you were so caught up in despair that you could not accept the help that was offered to you, which left you feeling lonely and isolated. If you have been bereaved, the Five of Cups reversed can signify coming through a period of intense mourning.

In a health Tarot reading, the Five of Cups reversed indicates that allowing yourself to let go of past pain and opening up to positive healing energy will be key to resolving any health issues you are experiencing. If you are struggling to let go of negativity, some energy healing may be beneficial.

Love & Relationships
In a Love Tarot reading, if you are single, the Five of Cups Tarot card in a reversed position can indicate that you have let go of your regrets or sorrow over your past relationships and are ready to move on. You are beginning to see the possibilities for romance that are all around you. You are starting to re-join life and get back out there and meet people. You are finally able to forgive others for the pain they have caused you. Alternately, it can indicate that you are still holding onto the negative feelings of the upright version of the card, to the detriment of your future. You may want to consider counselling or healing if you are struggling to resolve these feelings by yourself. If you are in a relationship, the Five of Cups reversed indicates that you may be ready to forgive past mistakes in the relationship so that you and your partner can move forward. It represents a time of healing and renewal in the relationship. Alternately, it can signify that you are still holding on to old pain which is stopping the relationship from progressing.

Money & Career
In a career context, the Five of Cups reversed can represent getting back on your feet after a job loss or redundancy. It can also represent beginning to rebuild a business after a loss or after being abandoned by a business partner. With this Minor Arcana card appearing in a reversed position in your Tarot spread, you may even find that you are able to recoup some of your losses or salvage the business or part of the business and build it into something even better. In a financial context, the Five of Cups reversed indicates that your finances should be improving after a period of financial difficulty. It can also signify problems or disputes over an inheritance.

In a spiritual context, the Five of Cups reversed can indicate that you are coming out of a period of great loss or sorrow ready for a fresh start and new spiritual path. You have learned some important karmic lessons from the pain you’ve experienced and you’re allowing those experiences to make you a kinder, more spiritual and more empathetic person. Alternately, you may be wallowing in your pain or sorrow and refusing to let the past go. This will hold you back from learning your karmic lessons and continue on your spiritual path. Surrender your sorrow and grief to the universe and ask the universe to help you heal.