A Patch leaves behind five broken and worn out cups behind on his long journey through life, the last of their water drains out through cracks in the cups, and they are otherwise broken and empty. He takes three wispy cups along with him, they represent his hopes and dreams moving forward, through they lack substance and tangibility.
What you have may no longer be working for you, and it’s time to let go of that which has broken down and move on. It may be difficult to do at first, because of an attachment that you have to those previous creations or manifestations in your life, but at the end of the day, the old energy must be allowed to dissolve if new life is going to come to both you, and that which you are letting go of.
The Eight of Cups describes the journey of letting go of the past, relinquishing our old way of being, and moving forward in life. It embodies the spirit of bringing the ideas and dreams along with us, those which can be salvaged and are more in alignment with our hearts, but taking nothing more than that as we move into a new chapter of our lives, and begin searching for something more fulfilling to the heart.
This is depicted in the image as Patch walks away from five broken cups, bringing three wispy, ethereal cups along with him. These represent his hopes and dreams as he moves forward on his journey, and the memories of that which he is leaving behind. Though they lack physical tangibility like the broken cups, they resonate more with what is in his heart compared to the cups he chooses to leave behind. This card represents feelings of sadness, escape, releasing the past, solitude and departure, with a strong focus on personal truth, and finding what really matters to the soul.
When what you have isn’t working for you any longer, it’s time to practice letting go and moving on with your life. Big changes are in order, but this isn’t always the most simple thing to do. We became very attached to people, things, and concepts that it can be extremely difficult to fully become free of them. It’s important to remember that if we hold on too tightly to anything, even positive thoughts, it will create a chain of attachments inside which ultimately rule over us and our happiness in the end.
In releasing the past however, this isn’t forgetting or abandoning the past, but rather – moving forward into something new, taking the meaningful memories and everything learned along the way in one’s heart and mind. It is in this way we do not repeat the past, but can make more conscious choices moving forward.
On the other hand, there can be an air of excitement to this card if you choose to perceive it in this way. It comes as a healthy reminder to stay balanced in our lives and treat everything as a sacred gift, to appreciate everything we have in our lives, and that letting go of the old creates new space for fresh energies to enter our life.
This card also invites you to ask yourself: “What am I truly seeking in life?” When you are willing to let go of your material possessions, the answer becomes quite clear. The Eight of Cups signifies a time for a deep spiritual journey to truly discover who you are and what you really want.
The reverse of the Eight of Cups comes in several forms, and the predominant keyword to describe this is the idea of abandonment. In one sense, if we look at our past with remorse or regret, we may be quick to attempt to abandon it outright, reject the memories; but in doing so we end up “sweeping things under the rug”, which only leads an inner mess for us to deal with later.
Further, even if we let go physically but are still carrying the weight of the emotions with us, we may find ourselves walking straight into depressed state of mental and emotional instability. In another sense, we may find ourselves embodying a bit of what is in the broken cups in this card, and might even have feelings of being abandoned in relationship to the others, or even God, in our lives.
To turn this reversed card upright, we must realize first that in order to resolve the past, we must bring forgiveness to the experience in order to truly release it. Further, we must recognize that we were actually never abandoned to begin with, and that Spirit loves you no matter what, always and forever! If there are feelings of abandonment towards others, such as a family member, we must remember that everything that ever happened is a result of people acting in the best way they knew how with what they had in the moment. One of the biggest revelations here may very well be that we are not our possessions, and in addition to this we must contemplate that even our physical bodies are not our own, but a material vessel on loan from nature. To this end, we may consider that at the end of our lives we will leave this earthly realm; our souls will move on and we will leave these bodies behind. Thus, to turn this reversal upright, we must acknowledge our past, and find healing and acceptance with all that has ever taken place. Forgive the past, integrate it, and take the memories with you forward as you leave the old energy behind. We have the potential to be so much more, and can create all of the wonder in the world if we are open to opening our hearts, and connecting with the forces of the universe that are so much greater than our physical selves.
The Book of Thoth
The Golden Dawn
The Tarot Handbook