Eight of Cups
The Eight of Cups (also 8 of Cups, VIII of Cups)
Title: Lord of Abandoned Success
Zodiac Sign: Pisces
Decan: Saturn in Pisces; February 19-28
Thumbnail Meaning: Indolence in success, stagnation, instability, decline; throwing off security; venturing into the unknown.
The Eight of Cups is a card of dissatisfaction. Laziness, stagnation, impulsive renunciation––all these are quick ways to waste success. All are represented by this card.
In the image at right, a man is turned away from the cups, and is walking up a hill. It is nighttime, when most people are sleeping. Where is this journey going to take him? The full moon, represented in the medeival style, is looking at him with a mysterious expression.
This design calls to mind Ecclesiastes, where King Solomon intones:
I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. (2:1)
Solomon made houses, planted vineyard, built pools and "gathered...silver and gold." He had singers and dancers and enjoyed delights "of all sorts." Yet this did not please him:
And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. (2:10-11)
This emotional state suggests some inner turmoil. "All is vanity" thinking often seems to come from a too-easy satisfaction of desires. It does not lend itself to action, constructive or otherwise.
In The Conquest of Happiness, Bertrand Russell takes issue with this worldview. "We must distinguish between a mood and its intellectual expression," he points out. "There is no arguing with mood; it can be changed by some fortunate event, or by a change in our bodily condition, but it cannot be changed by argument." You cannot feel that "all is vanity" if your child is sick, if you are starving or have lost all your money. Therefore, the belief that "all is vanity" is itself in vain.
Since the suit of Cups is associated with emotions, especially feelings of love, this card can indicate a partial failure of love. Though sad, such failures are only human.
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