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.

At a glance

The Four of Cups is a tarot card that is part of the Minor Arcana suit of Cups. In tarot readings, this card often represents contemplation, introspection, and a sense of detachment.

The Four of Cups is often depicted as a person sitting under a tree, with three cups sitting in front of them. The fourth cup, which is being offered to them by a hand reaching out from a cloud, is being ignored. This imagery suggests that the person is lost in thought and is not paying attention to their surroundings or the opportunities being presented to them.

In a reading, the Four of Cups can indicate that you are feeling a sense of disconnection or detachment from your surroundings. This may be due to feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, or it may be a result of feeling unfulfilled or lacking in direction. It can also suggest that you are feeling a sense of apathy or disinterest towards the things that you once enjoyed.

However, the Four of Cups can also suggest that this is a time of introspection and contemplation, and that it is important to take a step back and consider your options. It may be a time to reassess your priorities and consider what truly brings you satisfaction and fulfillment.

Overall, the Four of Cups is a card that suggests a need for introspection and reflection. It is a reminder to take a step back and consider your path, and to not overlook the opportunities and possibilities that may be present in your life.

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