The Four of Cups tarot card is one of the Minor Arcana of a traditional tarot deck, and is generally viewed by tarot readers as a symbol of apathy and self-absorbtion. In divinatory tarot reading, the Four of Cups signifies a lack of temperance and motivation, often leading to doubts, unease, and dissatisfaction. It may also, in some contexts, simply symbolize self-contemplation and withdrawal.
In the popular Rider-Waite tarot deck, the Four of Cups dipicts a young man, sitting under a tree with a cross and gloomy expression on his face. His arms are crossed as if defensively, and although a hand in a cloud is holding a chalice out to him, he does not take it. Three other cups are lined up in a row in front of him, and, from the perspective of the background, he appears to be sitting on the edge of a cliff or mountainside.
The Four of Cups’ profound imagery can symbolize a person who is lost in his own deep and profound thoughts. Introspection has overtaken him; he ignores gifts and blessings. He gives nothing and receives nothing, and instead is content to sulk in his own thoughts and ideas. While contemplation and introspection can be valuable, the Four of Cups tarot card warns that they can cause a person’s failure to accept life’s bountiful gifts.
Depending on the circumstances of the tarot reading’s subject, the Four of Cups might signify depression or addiction. Becoming withdrawn in a pattern of introspective behaviors, the tarot subject fails to see the wonderful world that surrounds him, and fails to accept gifts and affection from others. The Four of Cups may be a dangerous sign because it shows someone who has lost interest in life and motivation– someone who feels stale and empty.
When the Four of Cups is in a tarot spread, the tarot reader should advise the querent to maintain communication and interest outside personal reflection. This card may be a warning for a sense of personal withdrawal that can lead to frightening and lonely circumstances. The subject of the tarot reading should remain grounded and communicative rather than becoming too lost in personal insight.
The warning granted by the Four of Cups tarot card becomes more urgent when the card is reversed, but it is seen by some tarot readers as more optimistic. The reversed Four of Cups indicates a life that is full of joy and abundance that remain unseen to the tarot reading’s subject. People care and people are listening: the querent needs only to open his eyes to see the beauty of the world around him.
Source: Rider-Waite Tarot Deck
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