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

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Four Of Cups

Never mind the sunrise
Never mind the river-song, the empty sky, the flock.
Never mind how full life is, how bright the day, how full the flow.

I look upon an empty place
I am where blood spills on the earth
I have lost; what is your world to me?
A drop, once spilt, will not return if I look up or I look to the dawn.

The Four of Cups is never satisfied. Like fours everywhere, it has discovered form, and water has no shape other than that of the vessel it is poured into; and water moves in cycles, and cannot be kept in one place forever.

Fours of Cups differ, but tend to have three full vessels and one empty one - sometimes poured away, sometimes thirsting to be filled. No form can hold the entirety of your feelings and language. Write a poem, and you have a vessel, but you can only hope that this vessel can hold your feelings - perhaps by tomorrow, or by the time you show the poem to your friend, it will be empty again.

This card is discontent, clearly because it does not appreciate its full glasses, or the boundless flow which has filled them and will fill them again. There was a time when I was 'well, duh' about this card's situation, thinking it should just turn to the river, but...loss is loss. This card is mourning - for some feeling put into a form which has now shattered. Or perhaps for a glass crafted with such care, never to be filled.

There are layers of lessons here, but there is a time to disregard all of them. Yes, be grateful for what you have. Yes, trust the world to give you more and more to feel, to say, to express, to love. Yes, you shouldn't obsess over what you don't have, or no longer have. But damnit, there's a time for this. It's not the whole deck, is it? It's just the bit between the Three of Cups and the Five of Cups. It is a moment when, because your words and feelings have taken form, you find there's not enough, or that what may be brought by the rushing river is nothing compared to what you have lost. Yeah, I'm sure you can be a super-aware thing and see what is in each glass as non-individual, as simply water rather than this water in this cup, but the world is not like that; we have, we hold, and we lose, because cups break and water flows away.

Water is tears.

Images of the Four of Cups:

From the Intuitive Tarot.

The RWS shows a thoughtful chappie who has, but who lets a dreamlike hand tempt him with more.

In the Mythic Tarot, the Cups tell the story of Psyche's love for the god Eros. Here her sisters persuade her that she must do what her new husband has forbidden her to do - look upon him. On the one hand, this was a really bad idea which they pushed on her to deliberately sabotage the marriage. On the other hand, it was a damn stupid rule which was crying out to be broken. Such is discontentment; it's a perfectly valid feeling, but giving into it can lead to bad things.

'Turning In' from the Osho Zen is an antidote to other Fours of Cups. It asks you to be aware of yourself rather than being frustrated by the world and its empty vessels and emptier promises.

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