Five Of Cups – Rider Waite Tarot Deck

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I. Five of Cups Rider Waite image description

The Five of Cups is a card talking about hardship, loss, and challenges to that loss. The man in the card wears a black robe to hide his desperate face. There are five cups at his feet, three of them fell to the ground and the other two behind his back stand still. He did not seem to notice the cups behind him because he was too focused on the things in front of him.

Five of Cups Rider Waite image description

There is a flowing river separating him and a castle in the distance. On the right side, there is a bridge that can lead to the safety of the castle. Although this card clearly signals about the loss and suffering, there is still a positive aspect to be considered. The man still has two cups.

The Five of Cups is a card of loss. On this card, we see a character wearing a black-robed who is crying and submerged in grief. The image of this man is so strong that it overwhelms the other details in the card and it is difficult to look out in the distance behind him. This Cups card refers to that moment when the pain of a loss becomes the worst one. This man just looked at the overturned cups in front of him. Currently, he can not see that there are two cups still standing. Later, when his soul is healed, he will be able to see all that remains.

You may feel discouraged by this card, but it still has a positive side. Each loss opens up new possibilities for growth as it begins a change. The loss is hurt because our emotions are always against change. No matter how intellectually we accept, we must follow the nature of the flow of life, if that flow separates us from what we love, our emotions will fight against it.

In a story from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, the famous Zen master, Hakuin, is accused of being the father of an illegitimate child. His reputation in the village was ruined, but he accepted the loss and carefully took care of the child for a year. Suddenly, the father actually appears, and Hakuin is ready to let the kid reunite with his parents, accepting the loss again. We are not Zen masters so we can not follow such events gently, but we can learn from this story. The more we struggle to keep what has been gone, the more we suffer.

II. Five of Cups Tarot Card Meaning

Loss, Tragic, Regret.

Bear the loss

  • Give up hope;
  • Give up the victory;
  • Experienced a failure;
  • Defeated;
  • Being taken away a possession;
  • To say goodbye.

Feel deprived

  • Break a relationship;
  • The feeling of being deprived of love;
  • Desire to be reunited;
  • Sad;
  • Feel sorrow.


  • Frustrated by something;
  • Bothered by what happened;
  • Want to go back in time;
  • Wish for something that should have been yours;
  • Claim that you have made the wrong choice;
  • Admit mistakes.

III. Opposite and Support Tarot cards to the 5 of Cups

Opposite cards

  • Lovers – Establish a relationship;
  • Judgment – Self-incriminate, created regret;
  • 6 of Wands – Success, victory;
  • 2 of Cups – Relationship;
  • 9 of Cups – Contentment, Satisfaction.

Support cards

  • Death – Loss, farewell;
  • 3 of Swords – Split, lost love, heartbreak;
  • 6 of Swords – Sorrow;
  • 5 of Pentacles – Reject, lack of support, lose yourself.

IV. 5 of Cups Upright Card Keywords

loss, regret, disappointment, loss of relatives

Words and Keywords

Regret, self-blame, sadness, gloomy, an unhappy ending, emotional disorganization, poor communication, distrust, disappointment, betrayal in love, excessive pessimism, fear of separation, save what is left, the decline of love, problems in marriage or family, a time of crisis in a relationship, breakup, feeling abandoned, feeling scolded or punished, separation, divorce, miscarriage.

Unused talents; something is gone, but there is still a remnant; what are the benefits of mourning the past? The past is past, let the past back into the past, look at things in the negative direction.


The Five of Cups talks about unfinished reality or not achieving the expected results. You are feeling frustrated that a situation is not working out as you wished, and instead of setting up another plan, You are re-immersed yourself in torment and regretted about what has been lost. The water poured from glass shows the cause of regret over emotional rather than financial. You are falling into the deep pit of despair and become increasingly pessimistic about your future.

This card shows that you are having trouble trying to forget the past and learn from mistakes. This card often reflects a person being swept up in the past and unable to move on, thus losing new opportunities. Memories of bitterness in the past continue to bother you, and the responsibilities for previous actions are on your shoulders. Looks like everything has come to a standstill, but in addition to pointing out the key to the problem, this card also helps you find the right path.

The Five of Cups is a message that reminds us that what we focus on the most in life will have a lot of impact on the quality of our lives. What will you choose to focus on?


In most Tarot decks, most visual descriptions on each card evoke clear orientations, but for this card, the problem is not that simple. Typically, this Cups card represents a sad character looking down to the water, surrounded by five cups. Three cups fall, while the other two are standing still. This image implies very clear, you will choose to keep on sad or bad things unfortunately happened, or are you going to focus on what you still hold, and take the time, energy to move forward? The point here is to consider what you are focusing on and make sure that is the best for you.


If you are looking for a job when this card appears in a Tarot spread, try to be patient. Remember that employers are often quite slow in handling issues such as applications, resumes or similarly. Be active but do not be too hasty. The Five of Cups can also mean that you choose the wrong job. You should consider carefully what you want to do, and make a plan to let those things happen.


Your relationship can either end or it may be coming to an end. You need to realize that you will not lose everything. You probably are not ready to start a new relationship, so give yourself more time and space than you are now, then you can come back to your love line later. There will be a day when you realize that the reason the current relationship just coming to an end is to help you achieve what you really want. You will find and hold another relationship that really suits you.


Too much anxiety about money can cause side effect to what you are trying to achieve, and this anxiety can affect your financial well-being. To handle this concern, you should allow yourself to be more generous. You may not be as bad as you think. You can try to give something away, or donate a small amount to a place you trust.


Five of Cups tells that it is important that you always have to keep a positive attitude. If you just can’t get over the bad things that others have done to you or ignore what has happened in the past, now it is the time to seek help in solving these problems before you hurt yourself by living in the painful past. The past is over, focus on the present and the future.


This is an important time for forgiveness. You do not forgive others for their sake, or because they deserve to be forgiven, you need to do it for your own benefit. The reason for this is that repressing anger and pain in the heart is extremely harmful and bad for yourself. Not only just that, while you still have time to get angry and hurt, the person you are angry with may be in a good mood. Therefore, you should let go of those things which still bother your mind.

Situation and advice

Acordding to the Five of Cups, you have suffered a loss or frustration. You may feel abandoned or betrayed by a loved one. But you have not lost everything. There is still something left to save the situation. Due to your attitude, you can see either the cup is half-full or half-empty. If you are stuck in a painful relationship, it is best to cut off the emotional bond that only brings regret and disappointment. You need to let the sadness pass and consider to priority your feelings at the same time.

Forgiveness and recovery after the emotional loss are essential. If you are feeling frustrated by the actions of others, forgive them from the heart to let yourself be free. You also need to re-evaluate your expectations. Did you expect so much?

Remember, it is important to be aware of your expectations; the fault of the past has created wisdom for today. You should think about what has driven you so far and learn some valuable lessons from them. Even when things have come to a standstill, you can always find something positive from the mistakes.

You have lost a lot, but there is still a glimmer of hope because you still have two cups. Do not give up when you find yourself in the situation of the man in the Five of Cups, instead, look at things in a more positive way.


A person who feels bitter, resentful, or exhausted; the pessimist; a woman with miscarriage, an abused child.

V. 5 of Cups Reversed Keywords

pass, acceptance, forgiveness

Words and Keywords

(+) Hope, rekindle an old love, good news, expectations, acceptance, new relationships, opportunities, restore an old relationship, deal actively with misunderstandings, overcome the past, look at things in the direction of optimism.

(-) A painful end, bereavement, inevitable loss, regret, end a relationship that you cherish, loss of love.


The Five of Cups reversed implies that it is likely that you will observe new prospects as well as new projects. It is time to hope and to reach out to others if you are in need of something from them, such as the need for work, attention, concern, or anything else. You need to trust yourself and believe that your needs will be met.


When you get this Cups card in reverse, you probably have a hard time. The good news is that your recovery after this stage seems to be going well. Keep moving forward, do not let yourself stuck with the past or with the things that you have done.


Perhaps things may have been difficult for your work recently, you are beginning to realize that the only person you can really control or influence in the current situation, is no one else but you. Keep thinking positive, and consider what is really right for you. You need to maintain a grateful and polite attitude to everyone. That, plus the best job performance you can do, is everything that people have a right to expect.


With the Five of Cups reversed, you are starting to realize that you will be able to find a more meaningful and happy relationship in this stage. You do not necessarily have to accept being abused or trying to plunge into a relationship with an unsuitable person. If you do not feel like it right now, be prepared, because you will realize it soon. Believe in what your instincts tell you.


This reversed card reminds you to be thankful for what you have got. Also, you are entering the stage of finding yourself as well as seeing who you really are and what you can really do to bring more prosperity to your life. Think positive, and nurture your self-esteem.


Just like the Five of Cups in upright, the appearance of the reversed card also implies the importance of keeping a positive attitude. You just can’t get over the past and the bad things that others have done to you, so now it is the time to seek help in solving these problems. Forgive others not for their sake, but for your own sake.


You are ready to start a fresh life which is full of spirit and you will soon feel it. You should consider acquiring new and different information about your spiritual life that you are interested in. You can do that by meeting new friends, collecting information on the different views of faith, or even by reading and learning philosophy. Let yourself be well-prepared and find more sources of information.

Situation and advice

The Five of Cups reversed talks about getting up from regret and accepting the past. Now, you start to realize the effects of the past and appreciate the lessons learned from the experience. You can even realize the value of the painful experiences in a wider range in order to prepare for the following experience. You are ready to face the other two cups and develop your feelings.

This card also talks about opening the heart and accepting the risk again. This is the card of long-lasting regret, nostalgia, and bittersweet memories but it also speaks of hope for the future, recognizing whatever you need to overcome, and seeing the rainbow after the rain. If you have suffered a broken relationship, this reversed card means to end the suffering and a beginning of new, new interests, and new emotions. You are beginning to experience the inspiration, creativity and a sense of being alive again.

The Five of Cups also speaks of what you really want and what will really make you happy. These are the lucky things which hide behind the risk. Sometimes, disappointment is required so that we can see through the illusion and free ourselves to find what is really valuable in life. Once you have made this transition, you will be given new opportunities without having to give anything.

On the positive side, this means the painful feelings of the card in the upright position are over. There is the light at the end of the tunnel and you are recovering from the pain and loss in the past. Someone in the past can restore hope for you in the future. A lover in the past can return. The rapid changes in emotional life bring some discomfort. An old friend can re-enter your life. Now it is the time to remove the old feelings of grief or misunderstanding.

On the negative side, it can indicate that you need to accept the irreversible end of a relationship that you appreciate. It can symbolize the loss of loved ones, loneliness and sadness.


An old friend, lost of love, an ex-lover.

In a Tarot spread, the Five of Cups Tarot card gives you the warning message about the possibility of a loss and the associated emotions – sadness, regret, denial. The loss can be large or small. It can be tangible (money, possessions, relationships, jobs), or invisible (dreams, opportunities, potential customers, reputation). You may already know whom or what this card represents for, otherwise, it can be considered as a warning to help you avoid loss, or at least mitigate its consequences.

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