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Five of Cups Tarot Card Meaning

Five of Cups Keywords

UPRIGHT: disappointment | regret | sadness | pessimism

REVERSED: self-forgiveness | moving on

Five of Cups Description

The Five of Cups Tarot card displays a cloaked man observing three spilled cups, emblematic of sorrow, regret, or perceived failure. His attention is so intensely focused on these overturned cups that he overlooks the two upright cups behind him, which symbolize unexplored prospects and hope. This scene illustrates a fixation on past disappointments to the extent that it blinds the individual to current opportunities for happiness or success.

In the distance, a bridge over a river leads to a secure castle or home, suggesting a path to emotional recovery and stability that awaits if he can redirect his focus from the past to the potential of the future. The bridge symbolically represents the transition from a place of loss and regret to one of safety and emotional fulfillment, indicating the necessity of overcoming past grievances to embrace new possibilities and personal growth.

NOTE: The tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider-Waite deck and Decoding The Cards

Wishing For A Deeper Tarot Connection?

Decoding The Cards goes further than keywords and traditional interprations by providing exercises for each card in the tarot.

The exercises this book are designed to challenge you to delve deeper into the meanings of each card, as well as consider your own personal experiences in relation to the traditional meanings.

Five of Cups Upright

When the Five of Cups appears in a reading, it can signify a situation that has not gone according to plan. It can indicate that you are disappointed or let down by how things have turned out and may even regret the decisions you made to get you there. Weighed down by emotional baggage from the past, you may feel unable to move forward.


The Five of Cups suggests that it is time to reflect on the lessons you have learned — having gone through that experience, you are stronger and more prepared now. Through understanding all this, you will be able to forgive, move on, and come back into balance to manifest a better outcome next time.

Five of Cups Reversed

The reversed Five of Cups can be interpreted as a reminder that, although we may experience personal setbacks occasionally, the most important thing is to accept them and move on. It’s easy to get mired in guilt and shame when these setbacks occur, but forgiving yourself and not allowing your missteps to define you is essential. 


At its core, the reversed Five of Cups speaks to our resilience and determination: it reminds us that we can make mistakes and still come out on top if we learn from them. Life will always bring unexpected challenges, but with a positive attitude and outlook, these can be used as learning experiences rather than hindrances.

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