The 4 of cups in tarot relates to the emotional and spiritual world. It shows a figure sitting in front of a tree with his arms folded and looking down. He stares at 3 cups on the ground, and does not seem to notice the cup that is being offered to him from mid-air. This card can relate to feelings of depression, wanting to be alone, boredom with life, not noticing what is on offer and taking time out to contemplate your options. It can be a sign you are in a state of apathy and not wanting to move on and keep your energy and emotional life circulating.
Symbolism of the card
- The cup hovering in mid-air from a hand extending out from a cloud is symbolic of something being offered to you from the divine or higher realms, but you may not be noticing it or choosing not to look at it.
- The tree relates to personal growth, spiritual awareness, being in touch with your innate life force energy (or not) .
- Cups relate to our emotional life and the element of water. Water is healthy when it flows freely, and unhealthy if it gets stagnant and stays in one place from lack of movement.
Number 4 in numerology.
The number 4 in numerology relates to stability as well as inflexibility. It can symbolise the process of integration and in the case of the 4 of cups in tarot, it can relate to the processing of emotions in order to come out the other side restored. When it relates to inflexibility of the emotions, it can symbolise protecting your heart to the point you are not able to feel new emotional waves which could help throw a new light on a certain situation in your life. It can relate to the habit of not opening yourself up to new emotional perspectives and therefore missing out on fresh inspiration in order to enjoy life more.
The importance of our emotional life and flow.
Our life is primarily driven by our emotions. We make our decisions from our emotions, not so much our mental processes. Emotions get stuck when we over think things rather than try and feel things instead. This is not to say there is no place for logic and having a clear head, but part of the ability to be logical and have a clear head is determined by what our emotions are doing.
When they are stuck and stagnant, we have difficulty feeling and therefore are more likely to make decisions about our life based on fear rather than love. Fear and love are really the only two emotions in the world and if we are sitting in apathy, depression or boredom, this is more fear based than it is based in love.
If we get stuck in chronic emotional states such as these, it has a very real impact on our biology. Our habitual emotions begin to shape the structure and function of our body and this can be the difference between a good life, and an average life, or downright depressing life. It is therefore important to consciously look for the good in our life.
Our natural tendency is to look for what is wrong.
We are naturally wired to notice threats and danger before we notice the positive aspects of life, which means we are always working against the grain in some way. Perhaps this is by design so that we can feel a sense of victory when we overcome our tendency to look for what is wrong before we can see what is right.
I see this is my 4 year old daughter all the time. I ask her what was good about her day when I put her to bed at night, because I am trying to instill the habit of her looking for the good in life. Most of the time she starts with what was bad, even though this is not what I asked her, before she moves on to what was good, of which she often has to be prompted to recount what she enjoyed about her day. She is not a sad kid! She is naturally happy with a big passionate heart, and yet still manages to lean towards recounting what was hard about her day, rather than what went well.
This just reinforces my belief that we perhaps are always working against the grain. Neale Donald Walsh (best-selling author of ‘Conversations With God’) would say it IS by design that we are like this, in order to know who we truly are. If we were always only happy and inspired, we would not realise that happiness, joy and inspiration is what we are experiencing because there would be no contrast.
How to get emotions flowing again.
The first thing I say to anyone about getting the emotions flowing again is to move your body. There is so much science around mental health and exercise that you just cannot ignore the evidence. I consider this so important that I became a qualified fitness/yoga instructor!
Recently, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research stated that physical exercise can reduce the likelihood of depression, anxiety and other mental-health complications.
Not only that, exercising in a natural environment can enhance the benefits:
“Researchers at the University of Essex in England are advancing the notion that exercising in the presence of nature has added benefit, particularly for mental health. Their investigations into “green exercise,” as they are calling it, dovetails with research showing benefits from living in proximity to green, open spaces.” (see below for source)
Another study worth mentioning is one done at Heidleberg University where participants were asked to record their mood after both working out and engaging in non-exercise activity (such as cleaning the house and other daily ‘chores’). The results found that only the workouts boosted mood, and it was actually found that the daily life activities and normal routines actually decreased feelings of calmness.
How does this relate to the meaning of the 4 of cups in tarot?
Why am I emphasizing the point of exercising so much? Because, when I walk around my neighbourhood and city and other parts of the world and notice people, for example, how they walk, how they stand, the shape of their body, their mood, their disposition-I can tell that MOST people do not exercise as a lifestyle habit. That is a lot of people missing out on the feel good benefits of exercise!! Depression is an epidemic, and exercise is a free drugless activity that has been proven to help. I am not saying it is a cure, but it certainly helps and prevents negative feelings.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will also know that meditation is another tool that is very important for mental and emotional health, and self acceptance. It has also been very well-established in terms of scientific evidence too. Once you commit yourself to it, you will begin to realise how important it is to do every day to help regulate your stress and therefore emotions. Be sure to check out my shop for some of my top recommended meditation tools.
EFT and Qigong
EFT stands for emotional freedom technique which is a technique that guides you to tap on certain meridian points while saying certain things to release unwanted emotions and bring in more desirable emotions. It has been used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide with some stunning results. A free app I highly recommend is The Tapping Solution which you can find in your smart phone app store. I use this when ever I need to feel some clarity about something or an emotion that I am not enjoying has over taken me and I need to find some relief immediately before it becomes something that affects my productivity. Check it out here.
When exercise is not possible.
If you can’t move your body, then practice the Qigong 6 healing sounds to purge negative emotions. Trust me, it really works. Try it here.
The Law Of Attraction Perspective
If you are familiar with the law of attraction teachings, you will most likely have heard about the emotional guidance system. The teachings suggest that we are always on some kind of vibrational scale where the highest vibration is love and feelings of joy, and the lowest levels are feeling powerless and depressed. If we are experiencing the lower levels, we need to find a way to not necessarily move straight up into the most desired state of love and joy, but more to just find a way to move one level up. For example, if you are in depression, find a way to move into anger, because anger feels better than depression. Obviously you don’t want to stay in anger too long, but it is still an improvement in the state of depression. The next emotion up could be anything from guilt to jealousy, but the main point is that it feels a little better than anger. You can use EFT to help you with this, or any of the other above suggestions to help shift your perspective.
Questions to ask yourself around this card.
- What do you define as ’emotional success’?
- What would it feel like to be successful in this way, and are you taking actions towards this state of being?
- Where might you need to spend more time in contemplation before you act?
- What would life feel like if you were able to express your emotions freely?
- How might you begin to do this?
- Do you feel stuck within trapped emotions?
- Where might you be cutting yourself off from emotional healing?
- Where might you not be accepting someones help or offer of love or friendship?
- What would help shift your feelings of depression if they are present?
- Where are you feeling apathetic in your life?
- How can you deal with feelings of apathy?
- How can you get yourself back into a more inspired state?
- What aspects of your spiritual life can help you?
What do you think? How do you deal with feelings of apathy, depression or boredom? Do you think the above techniques could help? Feel free to comment below and let me know!