EIGHT OF CUPS
KEYWORDS: Loneliness, Sacrifice, Withdrawal, Weariness, Abandonment, Independence, Cycles
CARD DEFINITION: You may wish to abandon your current path in life. You may be disappointed in love. You need to let go of the past and move on. There may be some disappointment.
REVERSE DEFINITION: You may be restless and ready to risk anything just for some thrill. You may be searching for pleasure and may feel reckless at this point. You may refuse to ignore negative situations and move on with life.
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Interpreting The Eight of Cups
When it comes to the eights in any of the four suits of the tarot, we find ourselves looking at a crossroads of sorts. A point has been reached in life where stagnation has either become a problem or soon will, and the solution is to reach within for the courage to evolve in a new direction at long last. This is not a "wait and see" type of situation either. It is a situation that demands action and active participation on the part of the person in question.
As is the case with all of the cards in the Suit of Cups, the Eight of Cups deals with these concepts within the context of relationships and partnerships. It signals the presence of a one-sided relationship that is no longer a productive force in one's life. The flow of give and take that characterizes any healthy connection is no longer present, so it's now time to take inventory and make some difficult choices as to how best to proceed. In some cases, the answer may be to seek balance and equilibrium once again. When it comes to others, it may be time to end the situation in question altogether.
However, it is important to note that the relationship in question may be one's relationship with the self as opposed to an outside party. In a case such as this, the Eight of Cups can represent an issue with personal apathy or lethargy in general - a lack of drive to keep moving forward and chasing accomplishments that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.
The traditional image attached to the Eight of Cups highlights all of the relevant concepts associated with this card. We see a human traveler in the distance, making his way through a stagnant swamp, the expanse of which is broken up only by tall, craggy rocks. Behind him stand eight neatly stacked chalices, representative of whatever his previous concern or situation might have been. It was no doubt difficult for him to let go of what he had in order to travel on into the unknown toward what he knows waits for him in the future, but he has found the strength within to do so nevertheless. He understands that in order to achieve further spiritual growth, it is sometimes necessary to shed that which is really only holding the spirit back.
When the Eight of Cups appears in a tarot spread, it heralds a need to pack up and move on in one way or another. The querent is coming to the realization that a particular situation is no longer serving him properly anymore. This situation will almost always deal with a relationship of some sort - if not a romantic relationship, then perhaps a friendship or a business partnership. Whatever the case may be, the querent is being asked to turn the page and begin a new chapter by reestablishing the proper balance in his own life. It will require a great measure of courage on the querent's part, but he can also rest assured that making the effort to move into the future and leave the past in the past where it belongs will be well rewarded.
In less specific cases, the Eight of Cups can signal a general dissatisfaction with one's direction in life overall. It is more than a little possible that the querent may have a dream or a goal in mind, but be uncertain as to whether or not he should chase it or simply stick with what he already has. The appearance of this card should be seen as encouragement to follow the dream or make the move, whatever it may be, as the time has come to step boldly into a bright new future full of possibilities.