7 of Cups

consider the possibilities

Seven reflects in an inactive state while activity goes on outside of it + Cups represent the watery inner worlds of our emotions and dreams

from Murder of Crows Tarot

And so, the centered aspect of the Seven of Cups invites us to imagine, to dream. They may be unrealistic or scattered or just daydreams, but it’s important to allow ourselves the creative exploration of possibilities and ideals before moving on. Are you working on setting or tending goals? Dream big – you don’t have to share them with anyone else if you don’t want to. Take the time in dreamy Cups to indulge in this – the focus comes next, in the Swords.

In resistance, we may be stifled by indecision. All of these visions dancing before us can be overwhelming; choosing one means being denied the others. We may become fickle, moving from one to another. What are we searching for?

Cups deal with more than just dreams, though; consider the other possibilities (wink wink) of the inner realm – instead of hopes, are we focusing on our fears? Memories (as remnants of the six)? Spiritual pursuits?

In excess, we’re lost in pie-in-the-sky ideals, fantasizing about castles in the clouds, perhaps manic or delusional. We may have too much emotional clutter or creative vision and may want to rein it in. Perhaps we find ourselves distracted by the ideals of others and must be reminded to remain true to our own.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • Are you unable to focus on your true north? What distracts you?
  • Are your aims unrealistic? How can you temper it back a little in order to be more attainable?
  • Are you swayed by the dreams of another instead of focusing on your own?
  • Are fears interfering in your process?
  • How is your inner spiritual life?

What else? Lots to unravel in this card, and you may have other insights. How has it come up for you?

6 of Pentacles

share the wealth

Six shows the give & take or the ebb & flow of cycles + Pentacles represent navigating the material world

from Rackham Tarot

And so in the centered aspect of the Six of Pentacles, we have come up out of the struggle of the Five and are now in a position to share the [proverbial] wealth with others. We may question why some must lose while others gain, and what our place is in this system; we may see redistribution of wealth or resources within a framework of equality between all people. Ideally, it’s an exchange of giving and receiving where everyone benefits. Keep in mind that as Pentacles deals with our souls navigating the material world, we may also consider our soul’s path or spiritual journey throughout this suit, and the card pictured at left illustrates the concept of receiving from the act of giving.

In resistance, we lack the spiritual awareness that facilitates generosity. Are we afraid of losing what we have? If identifying with the receiver, we may feel degraded by being dependent on others.

In excess, we keep others dependent on us. What parts of us feel the need of a dominant/submissive relationship with others?

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up could include

  • Are you dependent upon someone or something? How does that make you feel?
  • Do you feel that life has treated you unfairly? How so?
  • Have you compromised yourself in some way? Are you indebted to another?
  • How are you sharing your gifts? Is there something you can offer which may benefit someone else? Are you holding back on that offering?

What else? This is merely my take on it and you may have other insights! How has this card come up for you? Feel free to share your own thoughts.

6 of Swords

communicate your needs

Six offers expansion in a new cycle out of the contraction of 5 + Swords deal with the mind

from the Proletariat Tarot

And so the centered aspect of the Six of Swords shows clarity steering us to a turning point; recovery. It’s a hopeful card; though it indicates difficulty that we must transition away from, its theme is solving problems. Note that in this six’s dynamic of give & take, the figures seated in the Smith-Waite card are being aided by the boatman doing the paddling. The lesson in this card is that our move out of the challenge of five may be made easier by asking for help. (It differs from the Five of Pentacles in that this is a mental card, dealing with beliefs. The Swords in the boat convey the idea that they are carrying old thought patterns with them.) Allow others to be compassionate toward us when we can’t do that for ourselves. Conversely, offer your own wisdom to those who can’t do that for themselves. With which side of this card do you identify?

In resistance, we’re not willing to seek help or to make that journey. What beliefs hold you back? What thought patterns are you perpetuating?

In excess, we may be facing a long journey if our method of solving problems is to run away from them, or to always try to go it alone. It’s amazing what help may become available if you communicate your needs.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card appears can include

  • What problem are you currently trying to navigate away from and could use some clarity or direction?
  • Do you resist help, even when offered? Why?
  • What support systems may be available to you?
  • Do you have a pattern of turning away from your problems?

What else? How has this card come up for you? You may have more insight on it — feel feee to share.

6 of Cups

open your heart

Six expands in a new cycle from the contraction of five like the cogs in a wheel + Cups deal with our inner life, including our emotions and relationships

from The Relative Tarot by Carris Paris

And so the centered aspect of the Six of Cups allows us to open our hearts to another with the innocence of childhood and the desire to share, to be playful. Each of the sixes in Smith-Waite include the support of others in the dynamic of give and take, and there can be great satisfaction in giving, of being in service to others. This card is often read with a sense of nostalgia, of returning to something from our past — a memory, an ideal, a love, a dream, a friend – and reclaiming or reconciling it.

In resistance, we remain stuck in the past; old wounds resurface but are not allowed into the light. Some attribute childhood trauma to this card, noting the adult figure in S-W walking away, his back turned.

In excess, we may romanticize the past at the expense of the future. It’s time to move into a new cycle. Learn from the past, look to the future, but live in the moment.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • What or whom might you be ready to revisit? What could help you to open up?
  • What are you nostalgic for? Why?
  • What painful memories do you still carry? Are there child parts that should be heard in order to foster healing?

What else? There’s more depth to this card and you may have other insights. How has it come up for you?

5 of Cups

move through grief at your own pace

Five confronts + Cups relates to our emotional life

from Art History Tarot of Past Lives

And so, in its centered position on the spectrum, the Five of Cups invites us to confront our grief. The watery Cups long for meaningful connection, but are faced with sorrow and disappointment from something expected. We may be grieving and having a hard time letting go, but we must sit with it. We know intellectually that the pain will subside over time, and others may be telling us to put it behind us or to focus on the two remaining cups, but it’s all we feel right now and it’s valid. We must process our grief at our own pace.

In resistance, we may not be dealing with our grief at all. For so many of us, it’s easier to just ignore and repress.

In excess, we’re unable to move on, stuck in regret and failure and isolation, perhaps blaming ourselves for past loss. Or, we just expect pain and disappointment with a brooding contempt for love and relationships.

Questions we may consider when this card comes up include

  • What do you need to grieve? Can you give yourself the permission you need to do so?
  • Are ghosts from your past influencing current decisions? What parts are involved in that?
  • Are you focusing more on what you have, or what you’ve lost?
  • What chapter needs to close in your life? What can you do to welcome a new one?
  • Has your (or a part’s) mode of relating to others left you in isolation?
  • Do you default to self-recrimination, blaming yourself when outcomes have resulted in loss?

What else? These questions are by no means comprehensive but a way to get us started in thinking about the card’s many layered ways of fostering awareness and growth. How do you see it? How has it come up for you?