Four of Cups – Tarot card meaning

Four of Cups - Rider Waite Minor Arcana

The Four of Cups is the fourth card in the Cups suit. The illustration in the Rider-Waite deck shows a man sitting against a tree, contemplating three cups in front of him. A cup appears, held by a hand protruding from a lone cloud.

The Four of Cups represents missing the bigger picture, general contemplation and can also represent apathy. Think about your limited perspective and try to see what pieces of the puzzles you are missing.

Card meanings


The Four of Cups in the past position can represent a time when you may have been disillusioned with life, but only because you had a very narrow cone of perception.

Consider the man at the tree. He thinks the three cups are everything, but there is fourth one ready for him if he would just avert his gaze. Try not to focus in your general life, but look to see the bigger picture.


Consider a new path if you feel you aren’t going anywhere. The Four of Cups in the present position means you need to stop your current focus and see what else is available.

This could mean looking to other areas of work, friendship groups or spiritual practices. don’t limit yourself, as the main limits you set are self imposed. Cups represent our emotions, so be sure you aren’t repressing any anger, love, jealousy. Be true with your feelings and to yourself.


The Four of Cups can suggest a future of contemplation. This cannot be specifically good or bad. Consider your current life choices. Are you taking a long time thinking? Are you procrastinating when you should be taking action?

It can be all well and good to sit and think, but if we think to much, we only start to think about thinking, and not about doing. Thought without action is meaningless; you may need to externalise the internal through force of will.

Work, careers and education

You may be putting off something you need to do when the Four of Cups appears in relation to work or education. Try to see the bigger picture, and if somebody is offering to help, then let them.

If you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing, then someone close to you may be offering some emotional support which you’re turning down. Open up to them.

Love and Relationships

The Four of Cups in love and relationships can represent your current internal thoughts on your life and partner. Are they good in some ways, and bad in others? Are you continuing this relationship solely because the pros outweigh the cons? Do you even love each other?

Time spent in solitude and contemplation can be good, but don’t overdo it. If you’re thinking and weighing things up, then you’re likely performing mental gymnastics in order to convince yourself to feel a certain way.

What is your gut feeling in regards to your romantic situation? If you’re single, then likewise; stop spending time alone or with others who aren’t helping you.


The Four of Cups can be a good sign for money. Be sure you aren’t missing out on a potential opportunity. Sometimes you can be so focused that you disregard everything other than your goal. It’s true to say that goals change all the time.

They should be used to push us on a journey, but actually reaching the goal or not doesn’t matter as much as what you learn along the way. Putting money into something to see if it works is a better lesson than coming into money without any effort on your part.

Health and well-being

Pay attention to the signals your body is sending you. That is really it. Is something feeling wrong? Go to a doctor if you have any strong medical concerns.

We know how we treat our bodies. If we eat bad food and don’t exercise then we know we are making our bodies worse. You simply can’t live life on an unbalanced equation.

Other associations

Element: Water

As a Yes or No question: Unclear, you may require more thought, or you should go with what your gut feeling is telling you.


Apathy, contemplation, tunnel vision, meditation, procrastination, repression

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