The 4 of Cups

The 4 of Cups - Tarot Card from the Rider-Waite Deck

Representing stability, the 4 of Cups is associated with a stillness and cessation of movement. This is the point in the relationship where the honeymoon period has ended and the reality of the relationship is manifest. The 4 of Cups emphasises reflection and a moment of respite in solitude.

In the upright state the 4 of Cups calls upon us to look at our relationship with clarity, to see the connection we have formed and to see the relationship for what it is, not what we dreamt it to be. In facing this reality, we will find the answer whether we wish to pursue the relationship further or not. It is easy to fall in love with the idea of someone, much harder to recognise when the reality does not align to that vision and sobering to accept the divergence.

In the inverted state the 4 of Cups represents a lack of solitude, which portends a relationship that has become too demanding. Stability in our relationships depends upon our ability to exist independently as well as collectively. This lack of independence is a sign of co-dependence which often portends conflict, and eventual breakdown when one party is unable to fulfil the needs of the other.

It is important to recognise the dividing line between living together in the sense of cohabitation and living together in the sense of having a shared life; you are still a living being in your own right and in every relationship a degree of independence needs to be maintained.

In the Rider-Waite deck the 4 of Cups depicts a lone man sat beneath a tree in contemplation regarding the three cups from the previous card sat before him, whilst a fourth cup is offered to him from a hand emerging from within the clouds. This depiction represents the possibility for the relationship to go further and the man’s contemplation of whether this is what he truly wants or not.

In self-reflection the 4 of Cups prompts us to consider the elements that are predictable and those that are unpredictable, and try to find an equilibrium, the emphasis here is to establish a routine or a reliable means of contact. Where the 3 of Cups represents the potential for connection, the 4 of Cups emphasises predictability and familiarity.

Some relationships will develop as the result of a chance meeting, but most will arise from incidents and circumstance. Familiar places such as schools, college, work, a pub, a club, or a park that you regularly visit. This can also extend to having an online presence if you want an online connection to be a possibility. Where the 3 of Cups represented the foundation of opportunity for connection, the 4 of Cups represents the ability to repeat this connection and maintain it. Visiting Paris and meeting by chance is great but realistically you are unlikely to ever see each other ever again without a way to maintain that connection.

Ask yourself “Could we meet again?” or “If they saw me by chance, how could they find me again?” creating potential for connections requires nothing more than movement, but maintain connections requires discipline and ritual.

Where this relates to creating stability in our emotions and feelings, the question turns to maintenance of an existing relationship, ask yourself “Am I putting the effort into showing how I feel?” and “How is this relationship making me feel?” with a particular focus on recognising when a relationship has a positive impact and when it has a negative impact and how you can respond to that realisation.

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