Five Of Cups Tarot Card Meaning: Upright & Reversed

The Five of Cups is a heavy hitting card showing a figure mourning over spilled cups, showing a time where you’re dealing with grief, sadness, and loss. However, the two cups behind the figure remind us that we need to make sure we don’t solely focus on what we’ve lost , symbolizing the hope of moving forward. In its reversed position, the Five of Cups can indicate a period of healing, learning to let go of past grief, and starting to embrace the positives that still exist.

If you want to find out exactly how to deal with this grief or loss in your life, and what it means for you in more depth, then keep reading to find out everything there is to know!

NumerologyRepresents the number 5, symbolizing communication, intelligence, and overconfidence.
Zodiac SignOften associated with Scorpio, reflecting deep emotional undercurrents and the challenge of transformation.
Ruling PlanetMars/Pluto, the ruling planets of Scorpio, highlighting themes of emotional upheaval and regeneration.
ElementWater, symbolizing the flow and depth of emotions, including grief and sorrow.
Yes or NoOften considered a “No,” suggesting a period of mourning or regret that needs to be addressed.
CrystalsObsidian and Rose Quartz are often associated with the Five of Cups, aiding in emotional healing and the release of past hurts.

Symbolism Of The Five Of Cups

  1. The Spilled Cups: There are three cups tipped over with their contents spilled out, this what the figure is feeling loss, disappointment, and regret over.
  2. The Standing Cups: However, behind the figure, there are two cups still upright, which are opportunities and positives in their life that remain. They represent potential, hope, and the things in life that are still full and rewarding, even in times of sorrow.
  3. The Figure’s Posture: The figure has their head down, looking at the spilled cups, showing a focus on what has been lost rather than what remains. Again this symbolizes a difficulty in moving on from past hurts.
  4. The Black Cloak: The figure wears a black cloak, symbolizing mourning, sadness, and focusing on the negative. The cloak can also represent protection, suggesting a need to guard oneself emotionally during a period of grief.
  5. The River and Bridge: There is a river with a bridge leading to a castle or town, symbolizing the flow of emotions and the possibility of moving towards a new phase or chapter in life. The river can represent emotional healing, but also emotions getting in the way while, the bridge, a transition to a more positive mindset.
  6. The Colors: The color scheme in the Five of Cups often includes dark, muted tones, reflecting the themes of mourning, loss, and introspection. The use of blues and greys can symbolize sadness and emotional distress.
Five Of Cups Symbolism

The Five Of Cups Upright Meaning

The Five of Cups upright in a tarot reading shows us a range of challenging and negative emotions, but they mostly centre around regret, disappointment, and grief. It shows a period where you may be focusing on what you’ve lost or what has gone wrong, causing feelings of sadness and pessimism.

And that is why the central theme of the Five of Cups is that of regret and disappointment. This card appears when you’re dealing with the fallout of a failure or loss. It’s a time when you might be dwelling on missed opportunities or lamenting over what could have been. It’s about the emotional impact of these setbacks and it’s asking you to process these feelings.

And with that it’s no wonder sadness and grief are significant aspects of this card. Whether it’s the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, or any other form of personal setback, the Five of Cups signifies that you’re going through a period of mourning. It’s not about this happening instantly, but it is about coming to terms with what has been lost and allowing yourself to feel the sadness associated with that loss.

Five Of Cups Upright Meaning

The card also reflects a sense of pessimism or a negative outlook. Obviously you’ve gone through something hard, and you might find yourself unable to see the positives in your current situation, focusing instead on the negatives. BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER IS THAT while it’s important to acknowledge and feel your emotions, it’s also crucial not to get lost in them. It’s a reminder that even in loss, there are still things left to appreciate and build upon, you just need to look for them.

On top of this, discontent and feeling let down are other themes of the Five of Cups. You may also feel dissatisfied with how things have turned out in a situation, leading to a sense of disillusionment or betrayal. Reflect on these feelings and to seek ways to move forward.

So, the upright Five of Cups symbolizes the difficult emotions of regret, disappointment, sadness, and grief. It represents a time of mourning and pessimism, but also invites you to acknowledge the remaining positive aspects of your life. It encourages you to process your feelings of loss and to slowly shift your focus towards recovery and finding new opportunities for fulfillment.

Love and Relationships

The Five of Cups in a tarot reading about love and relationships is then there could be a few reasons. You might be mourning the end of a relationship or feeling sad about unmet expectations with the person you’re currently dating. In fact, it’s a period of focusing on emotional losses and what went wrong, which can lead to pessimism. However, this card also serves as a reminder to acknowledge the good that remains in your love life and to start looking forward to new possibilities.

If you’re single it could mean that you were dating someone, and you felt like it was going to go somewhere but unfortunately it didn’t. Still, it reminds us that while our grief is important, we need to acknowledge it and move forward.

Career and Finances

For your career and finances, the Five of Cups means you might be feeling dissatisfaction or disillusionment. You may be dealing with job loss, a failed project, or unfulfilled career expectations. It brings with it feelings of grief over these setbacks. Yet, it’s important to remember that not all is lost. There may still be opportunities you haven’t noticed, so it’s essential to shift your focus from what’s gone to what can still be achieved.


Spiritually, the Five of Cups indicates a phase of deep introspection, once again, normally centring over a loss. You might be experiencing a sense of spiritual loss or questioning your beliefs after a disappointment. It’s telling you that you need to process these emotions and to remember that even in times of spiritual doubt, there are always aspects of your journey that can offer solace and guidance.

Yes or No

For a yes or no question, the Five of Cups is a ‘no,’ or at least it indicates a need for reevaluation. It points to a situation marked by regret and disappointment, telling us that the desired outcome may not be attainable at this time. It advises you to reflect on your current circumstances and to consider other paths that may lead to fulfillment.

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This book is all about embracing our pain, and not just seeing as something to embrace, but also looking at it through curious eyes. It’s all about accepting the pain we’re feeling, and really trying to see it for what it is, instead of always avoiding it and distracting ourselves. This way we can move on and more importantly learn from it as well.

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The Five Of Cups Reversed Meaning

When reversed, The Five of Cups shows you’re having a shift in perspective from dwelling on loss and regret to a process of healing and acceptance. You’re at the beginning of emotional recovery, finding peace, and recognizing the positive aspects still present in your life, though there may still be personal setbacks that require attention.

One of the main aspects you need to look at when it comes to the Five of Cups reversed is the theme of self-forgiveness and moving on. After a period of grief or disappointment, it reminds you that you need to start coming to terms with what has happened and be ready to forgive yourself and others. It’s time for a willingness to leave the past behind and to focus on the future. It highlights the importance of releasing regret and embracing a more hopeful outlook.

Acceptance and finding peace are also significant elements of this card. The Five of Cups reversed shows that you are beginning to accept the reality of your situation and you’re finding ways to make peace with it. So acknowledge your losses, and recognize that holding onto grief or disappointment is no longer serving you. Remember, acceptance is a crucial step towards healing and moving forward.

Five Of Cups Reversed Meaning

On a more positive note, it can also be a sign of your tenacity and ability to see the positives in a difficult situation. Where the upright Five of Cups focuses on what’s been lost, the reversed card suggests that you are starting to notice the opportunities and blessings that are still available to you. Continue working on shifting your focus from what’s missing to what remains and can be built upon.

And lastly, the Five of Cups reversed may also indicate personal setbacks. While you are on the path to recovery, there may still be moments of doubt or setbacks that test your resolve. It’s here to remind you to be patient with yourself and to understand that healing is a process that takes time and may involve some backward steps.

So in short, the Five of Cups reversed symbolizes the journey from grief and loss to acceptance, self-forgiveness, and healing. Now is a time of moving on and finding peace, and focusing on the positive aspects of your life. While there may be setbacks along the way, this card invites you to embrace recovery and to look forward with hope and optimism.

Love and Relationships

The reversed Five of Cups for love and relationships, instead of just grief, also shows a shift towards healing and acceptance. If you’ve been grieving a breakup or struggling with relationship issues, it’s a sign that you’re starting to move past the pain. You’re learning to forgive and to see the potential for love in your life again. This also applies to those who have been dating too. It’s a reminder that while there may be setbacks, you’re on the path to emotional recovery and opening up to new relationship opportunities.

Career and Finances

If you’re wondering about career and finances, the reversed Five of Cups shows us you’re going through a change in perspective from focusing on losses to recognizing potential gains. You might be recovering from a career setback or financial loss, but now you’re ready to look forward and find new opportunities. It encourages you to let go of past disappointments and to embrace a more optimistic outlook for your professional and financial future.


Spiritually, the reversed Five of Cups shows us that you’re coming to terms with and healing from spiritual disappointments. You may have experienced a crisis of faith or felt disconnected from your spiritual path, but now you’re finding peace and acceptance. It’s a time to release any lingering grief and to rediscover the aspects of your spirituality that bring you comfort and guidance.

Yes or No

For a yes or no question, the reversed Five of Cups leans towards a ‘yes,’ indicating a positive shift in circumstances. It suggests that you’re moving away from a focus on loss and disappointment towards a more hopeful and healing perspective. This card implies that you’re ready to overcome past challenges and embrace new opportunities, making the desired outcome more likely.

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If you’re on your come up again, then this is the perfect book for you. It reminds us that no matter what happens, no matter the circumstances, we have it in us to pull ourselves back from the brink and rise stronger than ever. It’s about sitting with your emotions, understanding them, and then most importantly, using them to our advantage!

Journaling Prompts For The Five Of Cups

If you’ve drawn the Five of Cups, here are some helpful journaling prompts you should consider thinking about!

  1. Think about a recent loss or disappoint that you had. How did you feel and how are you managing those feelings now?
  2. What was the last difficult situation you went through where you found it hard to see a positive. Look back, can you now see any silver linings or lessons you learnt?
  3. Was there a deep loss in your life that left it challenging to feel grateful for what remained? How have you come to appreciate what you now have?
  4. Write about things in your life you are currently grateful for. How do they enrich your life?
  5. Think about how you’ve rebuilt your life after a disappointment or loss. What strengths did you discover within yourself?
  6. Are you currently going through a challenge? How is this situation going to strengthen your resilience and what can you learn from it?

Final Message Of The Five Of Cups

Do not deny the hurt. To bury your emotions is to build a dam against the tide of life, inviting disaster when it inevitably crests. Feel the sting of loss, the bitterness of disappointment, the rawness of shattered dreams. Let your tears flow, for they are the rain that nourishes the seeds of healing.

Look beyond the broken cups. Though some lie empty, others remain whole, shimmering with the promise of what still remains. Focus on what you still hold, the love that surrounds you, the strength that resides within. Remember, true loss is not the spilled water, but the forgetting of the wellspring from which it flows.

Learn from the cracks. Each broken cup becomes a vessel for growth. Examine the shards, understand what led to their fall. These lessons, etched in porcelain, will guide you as you rebuild your life, stronger and wiser.

Forgive yourself and others. Blame and anger are heavy burdens that weigh you down. Release them, let them flow away with the tears. Forgive yourself for any missteps, forgive others for any unintentional harm. Forgiveness is not a gift to them, but a liberation for you.

Trust in the rising tide. Though the ground may be wet, the sun still shines above. Remember, the ocean recedes only to crash in again, more powerful than before. Let go of the past, for it is the ebb that precedes the unstoppable flow of a new beginning.


The Five of Cups upright represents feelings grief. Right now you may be mourning a hard loss. It reminds you to process your feelings but also to look beyond the negatives and appreciate the positives still in your life.

Reversed, the Five of Cups signifies a shift from dwelling on loss to beginning the healing process. It encourages self-forgiveness, acceptance, and moving on, highlighting the importance of leaving the past behind.

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About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio, Owner & Editor of the Fools Journey!

I've been reading Tarot Cards/Getting my tarot read for over 10 years now! For me, what started out as a bit of fun and scepticism, has since grown into such a passion for me.

Tarot Cards are not just a great source of inspiration, but also comfort, and I love using them to help get in touch with the higher powers that are here to guide me through life!

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