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Four of Cups Redux

June 13, 2010
Four of Cups from Tarot of the Masters

A while back I mentioned that I have pulled the Four of Cups from my Tarot of the Masters deck repeatedly for one particular situation in my life.  A couple of weeks later I asked all of you for a little help with interpreting these cards.  I was hoping to get some different points of view of this card in hopes that they would ring a bell as to what it was trying to tell me.  And those different thoughts on the meaning of the Four of Cups did jog my intuition.

What I had previously seen in this card was a message to “have patience,” which I took to mean that the situation I was in would work out sooner or later. But as a result of all of the wonderful comments I got from you, my readers, I began to see the advice of this card to be more about being patient because something else will come along to take over from this situation.  Of course, I found other nuances to this card’s message as well, which your comments helped reveal.  But the message I have noted here is the most important one, and I will expand upon it here.

First, a bit of background about what the situation was.  I had been trying to expand my Tarot clientele by working at a new venue, but it was not proving to be very fruitful, and I wondered if I was being impatient about that.  I figured that the Four of Cups was telling me to “have patience with this situation,” that I should just gut it out for a while until things improved.  However, as most of you know, readings for yourself are notoriously hard to interpret.  In this case, I think I was letting my fears get the better of me, or I was second guessing my hope that the card was telling me to stop trying to make something work that I wasn’t comfortable with.

And that’s where you all came in, and your comments convinced me that my instincts were right — this venue was not a good fit for me.  But the patience aspect was important, so I gave it a little more time, figuring that I could consider my time spent there as a learning experience while I waited for something better.

Then I got a flash of inspiration to pull a couple of cards to help me find out what was going on.  I asked the Tarot (with regards to its Four of Cups message) “Can you rephrase this message for me?”  I don’t advise taking this tactic often or lightly, since it could communicate to the Universe that you aren’t paying attention or that you aren’t trying hard enough to listen to it.  But I think I’d worked hard enough at trying to figure out what the Four of Cups was saying that I could make this request.

The cards that I pulled were the Star and the Six of Swords, this time with the RWS deck.

My recoloring of the RWS Star card . My recoloring of the RWS Six of Swords

First, it’s interesting to compare these two cards with the original card.  The Star card is an indication of hope and inspiration, as is the floating cup in the Four of Cups card.  There is a very somber quality to both the Six of Swords and the Four of Cups.  And although both the Star and the Six of Swords are Air cards, there sure is a lot of water depicted on them.  And so I was very encouraged that these two cards were indeed a rephrasing of the original card.

So, what did I see as the message?  In brief, this told me to listen for Divine inspiration about how to move on to a better “place” … and I put that word in quotes because I don’t see this as just a geographic thing.  It means a different way of doing things and a different emotional or spiritual “place” in my life.

And that’s when it hit me.  There is a quote that I sometimes associate with the Four of Cups.  It is:

“Boredom is your ‘fuller life’ calling you, and your fear of hearing that call.” — Gary Zukav, The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness

I saw then that I was in a situation where doing readings was not working out well because it was at a public venue where people walking in usually have a superficial view of a Tarot reading that is typical in our culture.  Once I got tired of that, I could hear what the Tarot was telling me: that doing normal, everyday (if such a term really applies) Tarot readings is not what I’m meant for.  This is not to say that I should never do “regular” Tarot readings, but that my Higher Self is calling for my focus to be on my work with Tarot and Spirituality.

And what is that work?  First, and most obviously, there is the book I’m working on, “Tarot and Your Spiritual Path.”  In addition, however, there is a type of reading that I call an “Empowerment Reading,” which is somewhat spiritually based.  I have been trying to do more of that lately, so I want to mention it here.  I can do these readings either in person or using Skype, and if you are interested, contact me.  There are other things I want to do related to this (perhaps a “Spiritual Tarot” deck maybe?), but for now I want to concentrate on these two items (my new book and my Empowerment readings) before branching out more.

  1. Thanks for sharing this James. I am glad you figured it out. From a very selfish perspective, I am pleased to see that I was not too far off the mark? Mr Bean moment for me:-) Blessings, Helen

  2. “Boredom is your ‘fuller life’ calling you, and your fear of hearing that call.” — Gary Zukav, The Heart of the Soul: Emotional true.

    Very interesting and introspective blog today :).

    I do wonder, though about the recommendation not to ask for rephrasing. With self-readings so challenging, and probably because we get in our own way, it seems that asking for help rephrasing might be useful-not as a crutch, but as a “de-sticker”.

    • Hi Lillie,
      I didn’t mean don’t ever do it. I just mean, be judicious about it. Use it sparingly or else it will become a crutch and even a confusion.
      Use your intuition to tell you when you REALLY need it.

  3. P Wright permalink

    I pulled the 4 of cups this morning in a spread for the Solstice. It was in the position “what I need to develop for growth”. In my situation, I need to move on from where I have been for several decades. I am coming up on empty nest in just a couple years, the last one is already researching colleges. Usually a wake up call that you are missing what is all around you and daydreaming of the cup in the sky, for me it was a suggestion that I do some daydreaming of the possibilities to come, the cups around me are spent and it’s time to move on.

    • I usually see that cup in the sky as something important that you are not yet seeing or paying attention to. But what’s important here is what you see in it.
      Yes, there is a real “time to move on because you’re stuck somewhere” … then in the 8 of Cups we see this person in the process of moving on. by the way, put into that perspective, it’s interesting to think about what the 5, 6, and 7 of cups indicate.

  4. “The Star is a water card…”

    I associate Aquarius, an Air sign, with The Star. I’m curious, do you have astrological assignments for the Majors?

    • Sorry, Val, I should have said that it is a “watery” card. (My bad.) Yes, I associate it with Aquarius, an air sign, but there is so much water going on in this card too. Thanks for catching that. I’ll re-edit the post.
      And I generally use the Golden Dawn assignments… when I’m using astrological associations at all with the cards.

      • Ah, yes, that makes a lot more sense to me! The Star is a watery card and I often associate it with very creative people such as artists and writers like yourself.

        I also use the Golden Dawn astrological assignments and I was thinking you had mentioned using them, as well, in one of your webinar sessions that I attended. I usually take the planetary and/or astrological sign into consideration during readings.

        Thanks for clearing that up!

  5. I can’t tell you how much I learned about Tarot when I was a new student, and read your Tarot Tells the Tale. As you say, it is hard to read for yourself, and I often puzzle about readings. I find when I read for money it always causes problems or misunderstandings, and am writing about the cards online and in a poetry book. Thanks for your book!

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