Eight of Cups

Key Meanings

Abandonment. Moving on. A change of direction.

Eight of Cups—Original RWS TarotEight of Cups—Original RWS Tarot

Meaning of the Eight of Cups

The Eight of Cups shows a man abandoning what he’s built. It has a feeling of disappointment and sadness.

This card often appears when you need to abandon something. It can show a transition to another way of life. Perhaps it’s an abandonment of a relationship or job. Possibly you give up on some other project in your life.

You may feel a stagnation in your life, and therefore the need to move on and search for something more. Possibly, you’re living a life that others aspire to, but which doesn’t satisfy you. A change is needed.

The Eight of Cups can also suggest smaller changes in direction. In a work situation the Eight of Cups might be telling you to cut back or drop certain projects.

You may draw this card when it’s time to cut out what’s not necessary—perhaps from some creative project. Sometimes you need to abandon good things that don’t serve the greater purpose. 

Abandoning something you’ve committed time and energy too can be sad, but it’s sometimes the only way for you to discover a deeper satisfaction somewhere else.

The abandonment is not necessarily a total loss. Sometimes you need to work through or experience situations in order to learn and grow. 

And you may have gained something valuable in the experience.

Sometimes the Eight of Cups can show a temporary success or one that is gained but thrown away.

A journey from place to place can sometimes be indicated.

The Eight of Cups Reversed  

The Eight of Cups reversed can show some of the upright meanings, but with an internalisation of the energy. A feeling of hopelessness or aimless drifting.  

Be aware of any unhealthy situations, and be prepared to move away from them. 

As always, the opposite meanings to the upright card can apply. Some readings suggest that happiness can be found—perhaps an end to a difficult transition. See the other cards drawn.

Images, Symbols, and More

The Eight of Cups shows a man wearing a red cloak and boots walking away from the eight cups over what looks like a wasteland, towards the mountains. The sun is eclipsed by the moon (which has a sad or disappointed face) giving a desolate feeling—which the muted colours intensify. 

The Animal Totem Tarot shows salmon swimming along a river, and suggests the pull of unseen energy. 

The esoteric title for the Eight of Cups is Lord of Abandoned Success. 

Astrologically, the card represents Saturn in Pisces.

Read more Tarot Card Meanings

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