Head down – Five of Cups

I’d been grumpy for days by the time I pulled the Five of Cups.

I wasn’t surprised to see this mournful horse – surely the very same animal we see in The Chariot – not even meeting my eyes, just gazing sadly at the ground. This card seemed to confirm that I was out of sorts.

Five of Cups, from the Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans
Five of Cups, from the Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans

So what gives?

I read the Five of Cups as offering permission to take a breather, actually. Permission to be a little sad, or grumpy, or introspective. It reminds us that it’s okay to be down sometimes, that life can be tough, or sad, and sometimes a little wallowing is in order. Not forever, not sinking into total despair, but yes, it’s okay to be sad when life gets you down.

I believe that it’s an act of self-care to allow ourselves to feel what we feel – even when that means feeling down. Rather than immediately trying to shake ourselves out of it, it’s important to actually be with the emotions we experience. I don’t have much patience with the constant flow of articles, tweets and posts which constantly tell me to buck up, to be more productive, to start loving my life… I’ll do those things as and when I feel like it, thanks very much. Today I’m feeling sad, and that’s bloody well fine.

There is a positive message here too though. In the Waite-Smith image, a figure stands hunched over three spilled cups – crying over spilled *something*. And behind her are two more cups, still full, still upright! For now, she needs to mourn what she has spilled, what she has lost. And when she’s ready, when she’s accepted that loss, she’ll turn around and see those two cups ready and waiting for her.

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