Eight of Cups

Posted in Tarot tagged , , , at 14:17 by maggyann

I thought it would be of interest to go over some of the cards in a deck to give some insight into how they work for me. I know there are many, many sites on the web and as many books in bookshops to teach you what the cards mean in an elementary way so this is perhaps a slightly pointless exercise but as I have said elsewhere the cards can introduce their own meanings and directions to a reading.

Perhaps if I can show some of you who are starting on the path just how startling the change in direction from a card can be it will help you to gain confidence in your own perceptions when you do a spread. I remember how hard it was for me to have the courage to spread my wings a bit and go with my thoughts rather than the LWB definitions so maybe this will make it easier for you in some way to open up to *your* cards.

Initially I thought to be very tidy in my approach and work through the cards in a very logical way but as I began (with the Fool) my flow kept being blocked. I gave up in the end and left it for a while. Maybe the whole idea for this string of posts was a non-starter?

I came back to it today with a new perspective. It came to me from somewhere. Let the cards dictate the order. So I have shuffled my RW deck and out came The Eight of Cups. Having an ordered kind of mind this is not my preferred way of approaching this exercise but I will go with my cards and begin here.

On the surface this card is really self-explanatory. The cups are lined up in the forefront, neat and shining. The person is seen, his back to the cups, a staff in his hand to aid his journey and ahead of him the craggy and difficult landscape to be traversed. He is already hunched and weary in appearance but there is no indication of him faltering or looking back. Above him the moon shows both its sides and looks down on him with a gaze of understanding and sympathy for his condition. The Moon knows the emotional strain will equal the physical in this journey.

This card obviously indicates a leaving behind of matters which until this point have been important – the cups are clean and orderly, it also shows that though the choice has been made and the person is set on the path that this has not been an easy decision to make – the dejected appearance of the traveller.

On a deep level this card is showing that not only has the time come to make changes, the journey has already begun. Perhaps only in the mind – the planning stages but the decision has been reached, there can be no turning back. This can be a sign of a new level of maturity being reached, the uncomfortable feeling that the path previously trodden has not been fulfilling. There is great weariness, emotional stress even fear but this card is showing a time of change bringing a new level of peace and contentment. Initially a time of greater self awareness which will ultimately disassemble the ego to rebuild it to a more open state, this is a necessary experience.

On the surface level this card can indicate a change of employment, lifestyle, aims, desires. It can show a leaving behind of the negative traits which have been a heavy load, a growing away from any alcohol dependence or drugs or even a bad relationship which has been destructive, a job which has been a trial, a way of living which has become a burden. It may even be something as obvious as a way of thinking, an attitude which is harmful to the self or to others.

This moving away is to be encouraged and the questioner should actively seek whatever help they need in making this difficult journey. The renewal will be worthwhile and the outcome looks good. This is a card of confirmation of a choice made and encouragement in making the journey.

The leaving behind is not always a physical thing, it can be on a mental level. A reassessment of how much importance is given to the baggage. It may not be discarded completely but reassigned. The job may not be abandoned but looked at differently, the bad habit may not be given up but given less importance, the person may not be discarded but clung to less fervently.

When showing in a spread the cards supporting and conflicting with this one have an influence on how I read it. E.G. if the Hanged Man appears with the eight of cups it can indicate that the questioner is actually one of the cups rather than the traveller. The ‘sacrifice’ indicated can be that they are to be left behind (or their importance reassigned) in the quest for (on a high level) the spiritual or (on a lower level) the personal growth, day to day comfort, of someone they are close to in some degree.

In this case they should be as the Moon and show sympathy and understanding, give support even and though it may take time and, be difficult and hurtful they will gain from the experience too.

We all have to learn to let loose the caged bird within ourselves as much as we have to be able to release the bird we have ensnared or escape the one which has trapped us.



  1. My friends has a pack of cat tarrot cards. She tried to do a “reading” on me, almost every card had swords on it! I found that creepy.

  2. maggyann said,

    Well that is your choice but really there is nothing ‘creepy’ about Tarot cards though I have not seen ‘cat’ ones. Maybe it was the cats which grossed you out?
    Thank you for dropping by.

  3. I was just creeped out by having so many cards with swords on. I was thinking “I had better not get knifed today!”

  4. maggyann said,

    Well Swords usually indicate strength of mind regarding the client. They also signify mental confusion, too much to think about, decisions to make, people to please, things to do.
    I usually find with a lot of Swords in a reading, depending on the other cards around them and which Sword cards actually appear, that the questioner needs to pull up, take a breath, prioritise and then deal with things one step at a time. So I would lean more towards you being under pressure mentally than any chance of you getting ‘knifed’.


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