The 4 of Cups shows a man at a table. It looks as though he is sitting beside the sea or a river, which reminds us that the element of this suit is water. Resting on his hand, he looks at the three cups in front of him.
A waiter stands before the young man and offers him a fourth cup but he is not interested. He’s had enough. He’s bored with the same old thing and waves the waiter away.
This card is quite the opposite of the card which precedes it. Rather than being excited, this man is apathetic and feels that the fourth cup will not bring any new surprises.
Water needs to flow to remain fresh, so when the element meets the number 4 (which is stable and sturdy), it becomes stagnant. Therefore, when this card arrives in a reading, it can regard discontent. When we feel down or emotionally under the weather, we can often miss out on things which could be beneficial in the long run. Our apathy or reluctance to accept the fourth cup from the waiter could be something we eventually regret in the long run.
Sometimes, when paired with other cards, we can receive greater understanding by looking at which card sits on the side from which the new cup is being offered. In this example, it is the Ace of Swords.
This ace represents information and clarity. It could be news or something which another has to say. In a reading, this combination might describe a situation where someone has closed them self off to others. Maybe they feel as though they know better or are currently not ready to hear the opinions of those around them. However, they may very well be missing out on something which could really help.
If we want to know what the feelings of apathy and despondency in the first card relates to, then we need look no further than to the card which sits beside it, the 2 of Cups.
Maybe one (or both) members of a relationship have become bored or their relationship has lost its zest. This is not uncommon as people mature and change. Is this a bad thing to see in your reading? Not really. Being given this information could help someone to reconnect with their partner before things get any worse. Maybe a weekend away together or a heart-felt gift would be enough to draw them back to one another and get things on track. When this kind of combination comes up, it is the job of the reader to help their client find ways of opening up again and discovering new things (symbolised by the cup on the waiter’s tray) in an old relationship.
© Steven Bright Tiferet Tarot 2014
Illustrations by Steven Bright