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Eight of Cups

A description and interpretation of the role of The Eight of Cups in the Tarot

In a nutshell...


  • sadness

  • headlong rush
    lack of vision


General overview

One of the fascinating things about the world of the divinatory tarot is that how cards are interpreted depends to a large extent on how much experience and knowledge the reader has and the subtlety of their analysis. The Eight of Cups illustrates this very well. While some specialists like to focus on the dark side of the card, I prefer to highlight the positive influence it is likely to have on the seeker's life.

For the uninitiated, I'll just remind you that the suit of Cups is associated with the sphere of emotions and love and the relationships that are woven with our loved ones. In numerology, the number 8 is closely related to the idea of perfection. Resembling the infinity sign, this card represents spiritual, religious or mystical energy. So, you need to bear these things in mind when analyzing the Eight of Cups.

Visually, the card displays a central blue flower with open petals. The flower is surrounded by the 8 cups that give the card its name. Like a watching eye or sunflower turned towards the sun, this floral pattern should be looked on as an energy cell. It is what will generate the stream of love that is essential to keep relationships fulfilling.

The arrangement of the 8 cups should be closely studied. It is easy to see, for example, that there is one in each corner of the card. This reflects the seeker's aspirations towards emotional stability. Two other cups are arranged in a straight line in the center of the card. They symbolize a happy couple, a harmonization of passive and active energies. The last two cups are on a vertical axis, at the top and bottom of the card, indicating a clear balance between material aspirations and the desire for spiritual elevation.

Disappointments don’t kill and hope makes you live.


  • from an emotional viewpoint

    In the romantic sphere, the Eight of Cups reflects the need the seeker has for perfection. Between the romantic dream and the reality of the relationship, there are sometimes gaps that seem difficult to fill. Although this divergence may sadden the seeker for a while, it also encourages them to consider changing their way of thinking and acting. Only in this way will the seeker finally be able to enjoy a harmonious relationship in the way they wish, that reflects their deepest aspirations.

  • from a career viewpoint

    Because it is intimately attached to the sphere of emotion and love, the Eight of Cups rarely has an active effect in the seeker's professional life. However, in certain draw configurations, it can convey the idea of disappointment. If you focus too much on your career, you can easily forget that good relationships with the people around you are an essential part of your self-fulfillment. Like the shawl wrapping a newborn, your friends keep you warm and soothe you.

  • from a life path viewpoint

    When analyzed as part of a life path reading, the Eight of Cups urges you to take stock of your emotional and romantic situation. Since all humans aspire, from the depths of their being, to self-fulfillment, they build up an ideal system of values very early in life. If your present life doesn't live up to what you expected, then there is a field of possibilities open to you. You simply need to accept that your current life doesn't suit you and welcome the virtues of change with open arms.

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    Its influence

    • short-term

      In the short term, the Eight of Cups is a sign of change. Today, your daily life and your relationships aren't as satisfactory as they used to be. This situation often makes you feel sad. Keep in mind that it is only transient. It's up to you to change what you don't like and start building a brighter future now!

    • long-term

      In the long run, the Eight of Cups encourages you to take a good look, as often as necessary, at the reality of your life and what you have made of it. Although your everyday responsibilities often force you to make concessions, this is not a valid reason to set aside your dreams and ideals.

    Full interpretation

    Interpretation of The Eight of Cups upright

    The Eight of Cups is not generally well liked by the Tarot community. However, if you analyze the card more closely, you'll quickly see the positive message it brings.

    In its most traditional interpretations, the Eight of Cups conveys an idea of sadness, reflecting the almost overwhelming disappointment felt by the seeker when they look at their life objectively. Today there is a huge ditch between what they intended to build and reality. This division is likely to cause them enormous dismay.

    The Eight of Cups, however, should always be considered as a card filled with hope. Although your daily life may not look as you imagined it would, there is always hope. In this sense the card offers a form of peace, because it makes you aware of the imperfection of your current life and encourages you to make changes.

    For the seeker, it will be a question of making every effort to undergo this transformation as calmly as possible. If you open yourself up to change you will inevitably have to question some of the foundations of your current way of living. It is therefore natural that this period is perceived as being particularly stressful. The seeker will need lots of communication with their friends and family, as well as their support.

    Interpretation of The Eight of Cups reversed

    When the Eight of Cups is drawn upside down, this most often indicates that the seeker is feeling very confused. They are dissatisfied with their everyday life and aware of the problems they are experiencing but just don't seem to be able to find the solution they so badly need.

    Whether it is in the seeker's professional or romantic life, dissatisfaction doesn't just become normal without any warning. But it can creep up on you very slowly, so that you can't say when it really arrived. It is therefore perfectly natural in this context to find it difficult to quickly get rid of habits that are harmful for you.

    The seeker will need to become fully aware of the sadness they are trying to hide and accept that change is for the best.