Five of Cups – Tarot card meaning

Five of Cups - Rider Waite Minor Arcana

The Five of Cups is the fifth Cups card. Notice how the illustration is darker; a lone figure stands surrounded by cups, two upright and three knocked over. The figure stands looking at his failures, without remembering his victories.

The Five of Cups is not a positive card to see in a spread; and represents disappointment, pessimism and failure. As Cups deal with emotion, the Five of Cups can represent a bad past relationship, or mistakes you’ve made regarding others; friendships especially.

At a glance

The Five of Cups is a tarot card that is part of the Minor Arcana suit of Cups. In tarot readings, this card often represents loss, regret, and emotional hardship.

The Five of Cups is often depicted as a person standing in front of three toppled cups, with two cups still standing behind them. This imagery suggests that the person is mourning the loss of something important to them, and may be feeling a sense of regret or sadness.

In a reading, the Five of Cups can indicate that you are experiencing a sense of loss or disappointment. This may be due to the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, or the passing of a loved one. It can also suggest that you are feeling a sense of regret about past decisions or actions.

However, the Five of Cups can also suggest that it is important to move forward and let go of the past. It may be a time to find a way to accept and cope with the loss, and to find a way to move on. It can also indicate that it is time to let go of any negative emotions or feelings of regret, and to focus on finding healing and closure.

Overall, the Five of Cups is a card that represents the difficult and painful aspects of loss and grief. It is a reminder to allow ourselves to feel and process our emotions, and to find a way to move forward and heal.

Card meanings


You may still be thinking of past failures and hangups, and they could be affecting your life now. The Five of Cups in the past suggests you may still be hanging onto the past.

We all have regrets and we all make mistakes in our lives. Choices presented to us can go both ways. The key is to learn from your mistakes and to not repeat them.


You may be experiencing a lot of stress in your life when you see the Five of cups in the present position. With bad there is always good. Work on your own thoughts and feelings and don’t let them take over your actions.

There may be hidden benefits to what you are going through. Above all realise that you will emerge as a stronger person. Just live your life, it isn’t the time to give up.


Expect an internal struggle when you see the Five of Cups in the future position. Again remember to take the negative with a silver lining; pain is often the best teacher, but don’t focus too hard on the event, just realise the lessons.

As an exercise, think about what you regret in life, right now. Consider what you will regret in future.

Work, careers and education

You may not be enjoying yourself in your work or education when you see the Five of Cups show up in these areas. Realise the good among the bad.

You may hate your job, but it allows you to live. You may find your education boring, and that may mean you need to change interests to pursue. on’t get hung up if you fail an exam or a project at work goes badly. One of the best things you can do is assume ownership of your life and goals.

Don’t blame others, but realise that sinking into a pool of depression helps nobody either.

Love and Relationships

Love is not a good card to be linked to the Five of Cups. While you may consider some past relationships as ‘failures’, they have all taught you a lesson.

You come to understand what you want in life by trying things, and sometimes they just don’t work out. While a period of mourning is normal, you will have to move on eventually.


Desire is the cause of unhappiness. This old saying rings true, and is echoed in the Five of Cups when drawn in relation to money. Look at what you have. Likely more than others. What do you want? Why do you want those things?

Is it simply to make you feel better for having owned a possession? Here, the Five of Cups can represent a certain jealously; maybe you are jealous of another relationship. Realise that the image people give off about their life rarely goes beneath the surface.

Health and well-being

While not a great card to draw for health, the Five of Cups can highlight the positives of your life that you are ignoring; while you choose to focus on the negatives.

This heavily hints at body image. Are you unhappy with how you appear? You can always change, but you also have positive qualities beneath the surface which you should not ignore.

Other associations

Element: Water

As a Yes or No question: No


Loss, regret, failure, pessimism