Four of Cups—Contemplation & Re-evaluation

Key Meanings

Contemplation. Pleasure reaching its end. Re-evaluation. 

Four of Cups—Original Rider WaiteFour of Cups—Original Rider Waite

Meaning of the Four of Cups

The Four of Cups brings stability to the emotions, which can sometimes be good, but it can also sometimes signify a stagnation of emotions, which may lead to a lessening (or ending) of pleasure or success. Basically, it can mean too much of a good thing—leading to melancholic feelings or apathy. 

This card is about the good with the bad. Although the card is essentially positive, there is also a feeling of anxiety or discomfort involved.

The appearance of this card can also show you that it’s a good time to contemplate and re-evaluate situations in your life. You may be unsure how to approach some problem, and some quiet time alone to think through issues might be beneficial. It can also be telling you that meditation on a problem (or meditation in general) is a good idea. 

Some readings suggest greed and dissatisfaction. 

New possibilities may be arriving (in both the upright and reversed positions).

In a career reading, this card may telling you to reassess your direction—to carefully contemplate the options you have before you. 

In a relationship reading, it could be suggesting that you also need to reassess the direction your relationship is taking. The underlying relationship may be pleasurable, but it may also contain some areas that need to be addressed.

The Four of Cups Reversed

The traditional reversed meanings of the Four of Cups include boredom, a feeling of stagnation, or self-absorption. It can also show insecurity.

However, it can also indicate that these things are coming to an end and suggest a need to seek new approaches to problems. Also new possibilities and events may be indicated.

Reversed meanings can also be the same as the upright meaning but to a lesser degree.

It can also show an internalization of the upright energy, perhaps indicating that the contemplation hasn’t yet been shared with other people.

Images, Symbols, and More

In the RWS tarot, a man is shown sitting cross-legged beneath a tree as if meditating or contemplating life. Three cups sit in front of him and a third is being offered by a hand reaching out from a cloud before him.

The esoteric title for the Four of Cups is Lord of Blended Pleasure, hence the meanings of both good and bad together, or about pleasure coming to an end.

In the Thoth Tarot, the Four of Cups is called Luxury.

Astrologically the card represents the moon in Cancer.

Read More Tarot Card Meanings


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