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(For a list of all card articles, open March 2008 on the sidebar).

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Five Of Cups

Out brief candle.
Out, and dripping waxen, heavy,
losing shape
swirling into something else.

It is behind me now.
I don't know how it changes
waxing waning
colours run away in the storm.

I confess, it occurred to me when I was writing about the Four of Cups that Conway's image shared a few features with many Fives of Cups; the dark-robed character, the disappointed look while he dwells on what has spilt. I think the difference here, in this washed-out, melting landscape, is time. It always is, with the Fives. He's turned away; some cups are still filling with droplets of...nothing, and some are barely there, between the curves of the image. This guy is sore about the past, but he's not paying much attention to the future either. The Four of Cups wanted something it had lost, or never had; the Five of Cups just wants to be left alone.

How did this happen? I think the Five tends to blame the Four for getting it into this. But again; time. Time as water, washing away the things that used to matter, leaving you feeling like this card looks - grey, confused and not sure where to go. I felt the Five of Cups most keenly in the days after I finished university; I had a stack of projects and pleasures I'd kept putting off til I'd finished - books to read, games to play, things to do - and suddenly time had moved on and given me endless empty hours to do those things in...and I didn't want to; none of it seemed worth a damn any more, because the past had gone and I didn't know what I was going to do with the future.

(Hint: I still don't.)

Images of the Five of Cups:

The RWS. Funny, it's really only because of this card that you can tell the black shape in the Intuitive card is even human.

A weird scene from Scapini: my reading of it is that the central character is dying and the other five are busy carrying away her wealth while she yet breathes; one has spilt their cup already. One is crying into hers, piously - maybe she's really sad, but she could just be weeping to justify the gain she's making from the sadness. In other words, I think Scapini's Five of Cup is a card of emotional looting; of wanking over drama; of emotional greed, and disrespect for what is felt in the moment, good or bad. It is vultures come to take a drink.

The Osho Zen is pretty upfront: Clinging To The Past. The same theme's brought out in the RWS, where the sad figure keeps looking to the left, and so never sees that though three cups are split, to his right there are two which are yet full to the brim.

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