Five of cups banner image

The Five of Cups

What does the Five of Cups mean in a tarot reading?

The Five of Cups

The Five of Cups tarot card

When the Five of Cups appears in your reading, you are going through a transit of emotional disappointment.

The lesson from the Four of Cups is extended to this card, but it also includes an extra layer of regret and loss over a pleasure that you thought you would get a chance to experience. The image of the Five of Cups depicts a person who is wrapped up in the black cloth of despair. Three cups lay on the ground, having spilled the wine of pleasure. He is so focused on the cups that have tipped over that he has completely missed the fact that there are two perfectly good cups of wine still available to him. But he cannot make any move toward realizing they are there, because he is too swept up in his sadness.

In life we also get swept up in what we have lost. Disappointment comes from becoming emotionally attached to something that has not come to fruition as you expected. We become extremely attached to the plans that we make in life, and when something comes through to derail those plans it is extremely difficult at points to get through. This card is referencing matters of the heart, a broken marriage or a loss of a friendship. Any kind of loss that makes you feels regret falls under the umbrella of this card. There is more for you to see, but right now it is exceptionally difficult to do so. You find that life is now no longer what you thought it would be and you are having a hard time feeling the need or want to go on. This card is one that calls out to your sadness and understands it, but the Five of Cups is telling you that there is so much more in store for you if you would only allow yourself to drink the wine of pleasure from the two remaining cups.

In some cases you have only just begun to appreciate what it is that you had now that you have lost it, and that is also a very challenging concept to take in. The process of letting go of a person or a lifestyle takes time. You cannot rush these matters. Going inward makes sense, but remember not to get stuck. True healing can occur only when you let go of the sorrow and begin to have happy and healthy interactions with others in your life who do love you.

To get out of this cycle, you must focus all of your energy on a new endeavor or project. Create some goals that you wish to accomplish but take some time to just flow. Right now it is important for you to let go of any attachment you might have to the outcomes that you have and just take one step at a time. Make a determined choice to pick up the pieces of your broken heart and move forward to your new beginning.

The Five of Cups in Love

The Five of Cups will present itself in a love reading to both honor what you are going through and to let you know what to do about it. If you are currently in a relationship that is having problems, this is going to be the card that will let you know that you must take charge of this situation and do your best to appreciate what you have or you are going to lose it. If the moment has already passed and a separation had to happen, then know that through your sorrow of this change, sometimes change is necessary for you to discover even more about yourself. As adults, we can grow apart. Sometimes we no longer want what you both wanted originally. This is a normal part of life. Spend the time grieving that you need to and then move on. In this there is some form of separation or loss that is transiting you right now, so the best thing you can do right now is hold onto the ones that do love you so that they can help you through the process of grief.

When it comes to single life in the pursuit of love, this card usually signifies a loss that is still affecting you. Perhaps you loved someone a long time ago and you find that you are unlucky in love since then. There is a portion of this loss that you have not yet recovered from, and in order for you to move forward you must. If you are in some way comparing others to that relationship, then you are not looking straight ahead, only backwards, and that is not healthy.

The Five of Cups in Health

The Five of Cups regarding health is expressing a time of your life in which you are becoming completely claustrophobic or afraid to be social. This is an extremely unhealthy place to be, as there is much that you are missing. Your physical health will be improved greatly if you start practicing getting outside here and there, meeting new people and branching out.

The Five of Cups in Work and Wealth

When the Five of Cups shows up in a reading regarding work and wealth, you can expect to be dealing with some losses. This is not the time to make investments, but to make sure that all of your legal matters are in order so that you are prepared should something relating to business change randomly.

Five of Cups Advice

A vault of emptiness, feelings of unfulfillment and sadness abound, it seems the darkest of days hangs in the clouds. Heartbreak is one of the most difficult inevitabilities of life, in the moment, things seem hopeless - but the Five of Cups brings advice for you and there is a reason to stay strong and weather this storm. This card embodies the old maxim, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s true, difficult experiences help to shape you into a better, more resilient person. Remember that no state is permanent and our perception affects so much; is the cup half-full or half-empty? Choosing to see the beauty around you can inspire you to carry on and maintain bravery. See the woman on this card, she may be melancholy but she is also holding a beautiful flower - just as the sunsets, so too it must rise. The message of this card is a battle cry: stay strong, and you will overcome this period.

Five of Cups Yes Or No

Negative energy, swirling like the wind, sporadic like the waves - your question answer is most certainly a no. Few cards carry the heavyweight of negative energy to the same extent as The Five of Cups, but do not allow this answer unsettle you. It is a powerful and definite no, but whether that is good or bad thing really depends on the question and context. If you’re inquiring of another’s attitude, then be aware that this harsh answer is likely due to their own narcissism; it is apt to appear when people are so wrapped up in themselves they leave little emotional capacity for the rest of the world.   

Five of Cups Past

Your mind spins like a broken compass, though you try to redirect your thoughts the Five of Cups keeps seeing them return to a traumatic past event that lives in you like a recurring nightmare. A mistake jolted you, tripped you up like a tree root on an old road; now you suffer the consequences, walking injured and directionless. It seems that a series of unfortunate decisions have stolen possible positive futures from your grasp, and now you can’t let go of this pivotal moment that led to the pain beating through you like a heartbeat. This card reminds you to not dwell too much on what can’t be changed; mistakes become useful not by torturing yourself with them, but as lessons learned to make you a better person. Forgive yourself, open your eyes and try not to let the light of the present be blotted up by the shadows of the past. 

Five of Cups Present 

Stress, chaos, sadness. Just like a natural disaster, something is wreaking havoc with your emotions, blowing through life like a tornado in a small town. Feelings are highly strung, nerve endings are overexposed and suffering as a consequence. In the present, the Five of Cups carries a strong meaning indicating a period of heightened stress and unpleasantness. In such a moment, even the most positive mind is inclined to catastrophising. But this card insists on resilience, react calmly and take action with a level head. Don’t be too hard on yourself, remember that staying still can be considered progress when you’re in a hurricane. Hold on tightly to your morals and have faith in the universe and its plan for you; these are dark days, but many of your happiest days still lie ahead. 

Five of Cups Future and Outcome

Regret is the most bitter of human emotions, it sours life and permeates even the brightest days. Here, the Five of Cups resounds with a warning message; consider your actions in the present, are you about to take a misstep that could lead to regret in the future? These things are not fixed, changing your decisions in the now will lead you down a different path in the future. So tread carefully, think with your heart not just your head and remember when making difficult decisions that it is you who must live with the consequences. Isolation regularly leads to poor repetitive thinking, now is the time to reach out to others for help and make crucial choices with them rather than alone. Like a lifeboat with multiple people, when working together your chances of happy survival are greatly increased. 

Five of Cups Love Reconciliation

Spiralling downwards like a falling autumnal leaf, it seems that what once grew bright and green is quickly falling away into something old and rotten. The woman of the Five of Cups card is dressed in black and all alone, love and romance are unknown to her. 

Here, this card signals worrying things to come for existing partners; this goes beyond compromised harmony and veers into something even darker still. Does your partner treat you with the respect you deserve, and do you return that same respect? The answer is likely no, because mutual feelings are nowhere to be seen here. In such a scenario, clean breaks are for the best. Moving on is a liberation that will allow you to leave a darker romantic chapter behind and ultimately open yourself up to a better one in the future. 

If you are single, this card recalls past wounds that are yet to heal - entering into new relationships now will only deepen the pain you’re currently feeling. Being vulnerable can blinker you to people with dark motives who may want to take advantage of your injured state. Spend sometime healing alone and when you’re recovered you can make more enriching decisions in love and romance. 

Five of Cups As Feelings

You ask of another’s feelings, and the answer that is returned is something of a burden: the bearer of these emotions is embroiled in sadness, possibly grief. Depression cloaks their life and so their usual actions are transformed into something dower and disturbing. If you have a relationship with this person, they may feel let down or betrayed - retrace your actions, has something passed which may have led to this? Whatever the case, the feelings are clear and the person is wounded. Tread carefully before reaching out, the owner of these emotions is vulnerable may easily spiral; they require a kind hand and genuine care. 

Five of Cups As Friendship

A schism divides your friends. Bad blood has come into play like a disease and things seem fraught and unsalvagable. When pride is at stake, the worst of human emotions can escalate a situation into something acrimonious and scary. The Five of Cups indicates a tearing, here, are you split between two groups of friends? You may feel like a rag doll in a futile tug of war, but ultimately the onus is on you to decide which friends are best for you. Tap into your intuition, remember that deep inner knowledge is built into your bones and runs through your veins; be led by your heart and you can seldom take the wrong step. In matters of friendship, a resolution is more important than winning. In time, you will see that pride becomes unimportant in the grand scheme of things, while love will start to look more and more significant. 

5 Cups Tarot Card Reversed

Reversed Five of Cups in a reading

The Five of Cups will appear in a reading in the reversed position to continue to reiterate the feeling of loss that you have experienced. Think before you make any big decision. You cannot fix or change what has happened. Better to just let it go. There is a level of carelessness associated with this position as a result of the grieving period. Make sure to not abuse or mistreat others as a way to process your feelings. It is imperative now that you continue to focus on overcoming obstacles. You have only experienced the feeling of limitation, but that is not all encompassing. There is more available to you once the tears have stopped flowing.

Five of Cups Reversed - Love and Romance

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing, whether for yourself and or another - it is a way of cutting loose the weights that have been holding you back. Perhaps an old lover appears on the horizon, and now is the time reconcile like a dried out plant growing again in a hazy shower of rain. If already attached, this card can bring good news; a recurring problem has finally been overcome and you and your partner are fully reconciled. With a spring in your step and past resentments cut away, your love has a new lease of life and may become even more loving than it was at the beginning. 

​Five of Cups reversed - Family and Home

Few things are as happy as a family functioning as one, emerging from a difficult period, you have now come into the light. Family is complicated, and the stakes are high - but right now you are discovering how truly wonderful it can be to move on from the past. The home glows with the warm orange light of love, where once the house was darkened by negative thoughts and contentious relationships, now it is a safe haven once again. Remember this lesson: resentment solves nothing and hurts much. You are bonded by blood to your family, they should always be your rock and solace. Continue to put these most integral relationships first and you can take on anything that life throws at you. 

Five of Cups Reversed - Work and Finances

Life is like mountainous terrain and work is the sustenance that gives the journey purpose and the soul determination. It seems you veered off-path in your recent past; challenges were hurtled at you like rocks - there may have been job losses or financial difficulties, but now, you’ve overcome these issues. A good mood spreads in its place for not only are you back where you want to be, but you’re also likely to surpass where you were before. Remember that expressing gratitude is one of the best ways to attract more positive energy into your life. Don’t harbour resentment which will only fester and become more and more overwhelming in time, instead try cutting your losses and celebrating your successes. With a little belief, who knows how much further your dream career might take you. 

Five of Cups Reversed - Health and Wellness

This reversed card recognises the innate connection between body and mind; healing happens on an all-encompassing level, and requires both physical and mental changes. Like an injured animal rejoining its pack, you have overcome a period of ill health and compromised wellbeing. Healing energy flows through you like a stream, now that you are able to accept that you deserve full health and positivity more and more of it comes your way. Things are going right, remember to hold onto your gratitude and openness for this will enable you to maintain your spark and keep a grip on the health that currently has you glowing for the better.

Five of Cups Reversed - Personal Spirituality

In recent times your spiritual journey has been blocked by grief that descended like a grey cloud on your life; this may have been a literal bereavement or simply a period of extreme sadness. But now the clouds break, a ray of sunlight shines through - you’re coming out the other side like a train through a tunnel on a sunny day. A fresh start waits for you, and it holds more spiritual significance than ever before. Be ready to open your soul and mind to great revelations that will strengthen your enlightenment and sense of purpose. 

Upright Five of Cups meanings in keywords

  • Lost in a mirror of time
  • Pouring love away
  • Crying and trauma
  • Rejecting love
  • Hurt of yesterday

Reversed Five of Cups meanings in keywords

  • Acceptance of change
  • You will be cuddled
  • New start and happiness
  • Overcoming heartache
  • Letting go of the past