Fantasy. Illusion. Wishful thinking.
The Seven of Cups is the card of fantasy, illusion, wishful thinking, and also the card of choices, many of which may turn out to be quite different from what you imagined. It can represent your dreams.
You may be contemplating possible choices.
Be careful about self-delusion or temptation that might not be in your best interest. It sometimes warns of an illusionary success, or some sort of deception when you appear close to success.
If the Seven of Cups appears with the Moon or Two of Swords, it’s more likely to represent illusions.
Lying and deception can be indicated.
The card may also show success, which is not followed up.
Sometimes the Seven of Cups suggests the use or development of your imagination—note the other cards present.
In some readings, this card can represent the appearance of spiritual truths.
There are many ways to read reversed cards, and in some cases book meanings can be contradictory. This is one of those cases.
When reversed, the Seven of Cups can show the opposite meanings to the upright card, but it can also show the same meanings, but blocked or lessened. The energy of the card may be internalised. See the other cards present for guidance.
It may show the disappearance of illusion and the return of clarity to a situation.
It could also show determination in a project or clarity in a desire.
The original Rider-Waite-Smith tarot shows a silhouetted figure standing before seven cups floating in a cloud (the cloud suggesting the illusionary nature of the offerings). The figure appears to be choosing.
The cups contain many different objects, which appear to represent certain objects, ideas, or qualities. Let your intuition guide you, but here are some ideas. In one cup is a woman’s head, representing love in the form of a companion, or possibly answers from an oracle; a shrouded figure represents a need for illumination; a snake, representing wisdom, or perhaps animal desires; a castle or tower on a mountain, which may represent strength or stability ; jewels, representing wealth or material success; a laurel wreath, which represents victory, success, and status, but note the image of the skull on this cup, which may indicate excessive pride; and the final cup contains a dragon. As the RWS deck is designed with so much Christian imagery, it most likely represents evil, bad luck, or jealousy. However, it could also represent more modern ideas on dragons, which may include magic.
Once this card appeared in one of my readings, and it literally represented the fantasy stories I write.
The esoteric title of the Seven of Cups is the Lord of Illusionary Success.
Astrologically, the card represents Venus in Scorpio.