Four of Cups

Number: 39/4

Element: Water

Astrological Association: Moon in Cancer

Key Meanings: Restlessness and boredom

The Four of Cups in Tarot stands for self-absorption, apathy, and going within. The Four of Cups meaning in a Tarot reading is that you should be cautious about getting stuck in self-absorption. A self-absorbed person refers only to his or her own interests and desires, just like the figure on the Four of Cups card. The figure is unaware of the cup being offered to him. As he is so turned inward within himself that he misses a precious gift.

Upright Meaning: If you are looking for a relationship, the Four of Cups shows disillusion. This card often comes up if you have been hurt in the past and protect yourself with a checklist, instantly rejecting anyone who doesn’t live up to your exacting standards—to the degree that even if your soul mate came along right now, you wouldn’t recognize his or her potential. I call this the “Will I ever meet anyone I like?” card. The answer is: You can and will, but it’s time to risk opening up emotionally again. You may think you’re ready for love, but there may be some past issues still to heal. If you’re in an established relationship, the Four of Cups shows a tinge of boredom. This may be a phase, and if so, it’s time to inject some romance; otherwise, you may find yourself staying in a relationship out of habit.

In work and home life, the card shows a static situation—you may feel bored with your job or need to make a positive change to your environment. Even a small change will go a long way to making you feel you are going forward, so look around for some much-needed inspiration—it isn’t far away.

Reversed Meaning: The meaning of the reversed Four of Cups is generally the same as for the upright card, but with a higher degree of dissatisfaction—you may be yearning for change but don’t yet know what you want. If so, it’s important to try new tactics at work and address what needs to change in your relationship or environment. Try to express your needs now, rather than locking them up.

When the Four of Cups is reversed, the man’s crossed legs echo the bent knee of card XII, The Hanged Man. One of this major arcana card’s meanings is hanging around, feeling in limbo. Rather than wait for change, the message of the reversed Four of Cups is to take control and make life happen. Thankfully, this limbo is temporary—change is always possible.

About the Deck: “Ciro Marchetti’s Tarot of Dreams” from