Five of Cups Tarot Card Meaning

By Charrette Vachon

The Five of Cups tarot card can be seen as a warning or negative omen as it can represent hardship, loss, and disappointment. When this card appears in a reading, it can signify that you may be very focused on a past difficulty or trauma, feeling remorse and regret. It can also represent a failure to embrace new opportunities and potential. However while the Five of Cups has negative insinuations, it also shows that positive experiences are accessible, should you be willing to open yourself up to new opportunities.

  • Element: Water
  • Planet: Mars
  • Astrological sign: Scorpio
  • Key dates: October 23rd to November 2nd


The forefront of the Five of Cups card portrays a man in a long black cape wrought with grief. He is looking down upon three overturned cups, symbolic of his regret and disappointment. These cups may represent the loss of someone or something that is important to that individual.

While the man is the primary image on the card, behind him stand two additional cups, upright and full. While the overturned cups may represent loss and remorse, the full cups signify opportunity and future success.

Additionally, in the background of the card, there is a bridge crossing a river and a pathway leading to a castle. The bridge suggests that, if the man can overcome the disappointment and loss associated with the three overturned cups, he can cross the bridge to reach security and comfort.


The Five of Cups represents a person overwhelmed by loss, disappointment, and regret. They may be individuals who generally hold a negative outlook and fail to see potential opportunities which may be just out of view. Parts of their life may not be as they hoped or expected, whether that refers to a failed relationship, a stagnant career path, or financial difficulties.

Because they are so consumed by past regrets and failures, it can be challenging for these individuals to learn from their mistakes and move on. They can obsess over difficulties or loss, allowing those past experiences to consume them. These individuals fail to embrace opportunities or embark upon new journeys and often see the glass as “half full,” only focusing on the negative of a situation.

While this card reflects sadness and regret, there is a positive aspect to it, as well. If one is able to move past a loss and heal, they will see that new opportunities await.

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The upright Five of Cups card often represents loss, disappointment, and regret. This can appear when an individual is dealing with a challenging situation that doesn’t turn out the way they expected, leaving them with feelings of remorse and regret. This card can also be seen as a sign that an individual is too focused on past challenges and losses and is holding on to negative feelings, rather than moving on and embracing new opportunities.

However, the Five of Clubs is not completely negative and can represent opportunity when presented in a reading. It acknowledges loss and recognizes the need to grieve but also indicates that there is more ahead, should you choose to see it.


As it relates to love, the Five of Cups may indicate sadness and disappointment. It may signify a breakup, divorce, or heartbreak. It could also represent a falling out with a good friend or companion. A relationship may not be working out as you may have hoped and you are disheartened.

If you are in a relationship and the Five of Cups appears to you, there may be difficult times ahead. Be sure to take the time to understand your partner and their perspective. The challenges in your relationship may not be insurmountable, as there is the opportunity to adjust and continue to grow together.

While this card may suggest grief and sorrow, if it appears in a reading, it can also indicate that it is time to mourn the loss of a relationship and move on. Let go of past relationships, those who hurt you, and open up to new opportunities and experiences.


The Five of Cups can indicate the loss of a job, business, or business partner. Your career might not meet your perceived expectations and you may want to prepare for a change or loss. Be sure to keep your networks open and your resume updated, in order to prepare for this loss and minimize any challenges that could be created by a sudden upheaval in your professional life.

While this may be a difficult time, remember that the bridge and castle featured in the background of the card can symbolize that new opportunities may await, should you choose to seek them out.


When the Five of Cups appears, it can also indicate financial difficulty. Avoid making any large purchases or investments, as an economic issue may be on the horizon. Ensure your finances are in order to avoid any possible consequences and prepare for a monetary setback.


The Five of Cups can symbolize an individual who may have withdrawn from friends and family. This can be attributed to their grief, the negative thoughts that occupy their mind, and the regret they carry. Now may be the time to seek counseling to begin to address these past challenges and prepare yourself for the future.


The Five of Cups reversed indicates a much more positive outlook. This placement suggests that, while you may have experienced a loss or personal setback, you may be ready to move on to new opportunities. You may be overcoming your depression and can begin to see the potential for change and healing. This is often a good time to reach out to friends, as you will begin to recognize that you are not alone and may find companionship and comfort in those around you. Opportunity awaits and you should pursue your dreams and passions.


The Five of Clubs reversed can indicate an exciting time is forthcoming in your love life. You are ready to release the hurt you have been holding onto from past relationships and move on. You should open yourself up to others and begin to consider new opportunities for love and romance. This is a time of healing and the chance awaits to build a stronger future and pursue a healthy, happy relationship.


In reference to your career, the Five of Cups reversed represents a chance for new beginnings and opportunity. While you may have been going through a difficult time professionally, things will begin to improve. Your workload may ease up, a boss may begin to recognize your efforts, or an opportunity for a promotion or advancement may be ahead. It’s a great time to review your network and connect with past colleagues you may have lost touch with.


This card indicates the opportunity to begin to recover from past financial challenges. Be grateful for your blessings and begin to consider how you can add to the prosperity in your life. Open yourself up to the opportunities that lay ahead.


The Five of Cups reversed can indicate that you are making positive steps to begin to resolve the mental health issues that have been weighing you down. It is time to move on from the past and let go of grievances. Begin to focus on the present and seek peace.


In the past position, the Five of Cups indicates a time when you experienced a significant loss, whether it was the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, or the death of a loved one. That experience may have changed your outlook on life and you cannot release these negative emotions. This card should serve as a reminder to not dwell on past difficulties but to use those challenges as lessons to inform a more positive future.

In the present position, this card will appear to those who are currently experiencing a difficult time. You may be sad, stressed, and overwhelmed. Stay calm and approach each situation with a level head. While these difficulties may seem insurmountable, you are resilient. Also, remember that the Five of Cups can symbolize hope and no matter how helpless you feel right now, this too shall pass.

In the future position, this card can be seen as a warning. You may be about to experience a possible life-changing event, loss, or conflict. Avoid making any major decisions or missteps that could lead to regret. Do not allow yourself to become isolated during this time and, if making a key decision, consult with friends and family for their input and advice.


The Five of Cups can be distressing to see in a reading as it symbolizes regret, sadness, and dread. The cards drawn alongside it can help you to better understand the meaning behind the Five of Cups.


When combined with the Lovers card, the Five of Cups can mean disappointment. This may indicate a breakup, a divorce, or a difficult time in a relationship. While this can be a challenging time, keep in mind that if a relationship is ending, it may be the right decision and better opportunities may await.


This pairing may indicate the death of a parent or a drastic separation from someone who has been a key figure in your life, represented by the Emperor card. Both cards feature water, representing emotion, signaling the sadness of this loss.


When it appears with the Sun, the Five of Cups indicates an exciting opportunity may be ahead. While you may be going through a difficult time, the Sun indicates that you should remain grateful. Keep your mind and heart open to new opportunities and experiences.


The disappointment and regret associated with the Five of Cups card likely means that the answer to your question is no. This is a card of remorse and regret.