Five of Cups: Disappointment
Disappointment: Grief, Loss, and Unexpected Disturbance
The Five of Cups. Disappointment. Regret. Loss. Grief. Unexpected disturbance. Matter over mind. The Five of Cups corresponds to the Sefirot of Geburah; the first sign of movement, and the motion that upsets the stability and balance of Chesed. A change occurs. When luxury, comfort, and the good life is upset, it leads to a sense of loss, disappointment, and a regret and longing for the past. There is a grief for what was lost. The Five’s association with the upsetting motion of Geburah is directly seen in in the card’s association also with an unexpected disturbance. In many ways, I believe that the Five of Cups directly mirrors Geburah more than any other card. This card represents the triumph of “matter over mind” to me as well; the emotional state of comfort and happiness that we saw before has been overcome by the realities of the world.
The Rider-Waite art clearly depicts the ides of grief; a man is seen clad in mourning blacks looking at three fallen cups; yet behind them there are two still standing. Though there may be sorrow and unhappiness, do not forget that not all is lost. The Thoth illustration shows five cups, empty, with no water flowing into them; the bounty of the previous cards has been lost. The card also has a darker feel, and the very cups themselves are shrouded by lily pads instead of flowers. The cups form an upside-down pentagram, indicating a lack of balance (it balances on one point instead of two) and a disturbance.
In a reading, this card asks you to examine how a loss has played a role in your life; how was grief or regret shown itself to you recently? Have you been thrown off guard by something unexpected that has thrown you into the depths of despair? Reversed, this card indicates that the energies of Disappointment are concealed or twisted somehow; perhaps an unexpected change has made you happy on the surface, but inside you feel hollow? Are you denying your grief? Your regret?