Exploring the Tarot: 8 of Cups

Hello, Beautiful Souls!

Welcome to Exploring the Tarot with me, Laura Sirena. I am going to be exploring the cards individually and in depth. Learning the tarot is not simply memorizing key words, not if you plan to give detailed, accurate and intuitive guided readings. Tarot cards are simply the channel, the tool for your divine guides to deliver messages to you, whether for yourself or for your client. Every tarot reader reads differently, in their own unique way; and so take from this what resonates and adapt your readings to what feels right, natural, and accurate.


The suit of cups is aligned with the element of water. To understand how the element of water plays into this suit, we first look at what water is.Take a few moments now to write down what water is to you. Go deep, stay surface level – whatever feels right. Below, I share my take on the properties of water.

Water is:

  • Wet
  • Flowing
  • Waves
  • Eroding (the banks/beaches)
  • Can be calm, can be deadly.
  • Water can take up space.
  • Keeps us hydrated/our bodies are mostly water
  • Keeps plants/trees/animals alive
  • Rain
  • Put out or control fires
  • Cleansing. Washes away what isn’t needed/needs to be let go.
  • Refreshing + Recharging
  • Associated with feminine energy.


You can also use numerology to interpret the tarot, or to add a different aspect to your interpretations. The best way for me to think of numerology, is to consider the numbers 0 (Ace) to 10 as a wheel or a circle. Never ending, but repeating cycles, similar to the phases of the moon. Below, is my interpretation of the numbers and their meanings.

  • 0 (Ace) – Beginnings, fresh starts, new ideas and opportunities.
  • 2 – Partnerships (romantic/work/friend/with Self); duality, unions, masculine + feminine energies.
  • 3 – Working with others; teaming up; outside influences/assistance.
  • 4 – Assessing the things you have; both material and immaterial – that can help you on your journey and towards your goals.
  • 5 – Mid-way point; things are at their climax. Its time to go big or go home.
  • 6 – Starting to put in the hard work. Working with your inner wisdom and knowledge. Remembering who you are.
  • 7 – Contemplation. Keep going or give up? What is the best way to see yourself through this, as you cannot quit now. Alter your path, find new ways to get to the end. Seeing things for what they truly are; breaking the illusion.
  • 8 – Walking away from what isn’t going to help you. Letting go of things you do not need.
  • 9 – Final steps; tying up lose ends.
  • 10 – Completion; Ending; Goals met; Rock Bottom – can only go up from here; renewed commitment or interest.

Symbols + Images

The first thing I do when I pull a card is to take time and really study the images before me. Depending on what deck you are using, your response here may differ from mine. I will be using the traditional Rider-Waite deck, as that is what I read with typically. If you have your own bank of intuitive key words, you will be able to read other non-traditional decks as well. But for the sake of this post, we are sticking with RWS.

The easiest way to do this, is to write down what you see, no matter how big or insignificant it seems. Sometimes the smallest items are the ones that have the biggest impact on our interpretation.

  • Moon – Crescent hugging a sad looking full moon – Full moon = ending/completion, Crescent = change.
  • Blue/Gray sky
  • 8 cups stacked up – 5 on bottom evenly spaced; 3 on top with 2 close together and 1 off by itself.
  • A person in a red cloak + red boots with their back to us, walking away using a walking stick.
  • Mountains in the distance, one looks very ominous and dark.
  • Rocky ground + boulders in the water.
  • Calm waters/tidal pool
  • Stepping Stones – indicating you are flat out refusing to take any help that is being offered to you. There are easier ways to deal with what you’re going through but you choose to make things harder instead.
  • Walking Stick – A “crutch” – leaning on someone/something else, probably an addiction or unhealthy/self-sabotaging behavior so that you do not need to deal with what is in front of you.


Next, you can jot down colors and what they mean to you. If your thoughts differ from mine, again, go with your intuition. The way that you make your readings unique is by reading based on YOUR personal thoughts and feelings. Use what I have here, and what you read elsewhere as a guide.

  • BLUE: Calm, serene, peaceful, tranquil; communication, standing in your truth, speaking your truth
  • YELLOW: Joyful, courage; confidence; warm, sunny; unique, authentic; power.
  • GREEN: Healing, loving, kind, gentle, lush; Growth, abundance, wealth.
  • RED: Passion, grounding, rooted to the Earth; Strength, sexuality; creative energy.
  • GRAY: Supportive, open, no judgement or criticism, opinions; logical thinking. Fog, confusion.
  • BLACK: Deep, dark, troubling times, challenges, tests, depression, anxiety, mental troubles.

NOTE: When reading, you can choose to incorporate any of these that you wish. You can read by symbols and imagery only, or use colors and numbers or even zodiac associations if you wish. I tend to read everything in a card, and fit it in as my intuition guides me. Sometimes the color stands out more than the number or a piece of the image, etc.


When I read the 8 of Cups, the first thing that stands out to me is the person walking away, and what his posture is, with his back to us. We cannot see his face or any expression he may have. He is using a walking stick. I see the dark mountains that they are headed towards, and I see the rocky ground; he’s already gone up a bit of a cliff, but he’s headed for bigger and darker ones. There do appear to be several stepping stones on the path. I then note the unbalanced cups and the water.


Walking away from something that is no longer serving you. Releasing the things that are causing you to suffer, and letting go of what is inhibiting your growth. Walking towards a period of change. Willing to face the unknown in order to evolve. Times may get darker, you may experience depression or anxiety, dark thoughts and mood; but it will all lead to clearer times and growth. Feeling out of balance, giving more to others and neglecting your own self-love + self-care.

Ignoring a situation that needs to be dealt with, and will only escalate into something bigger and more difficult. It can be refusing to talk to someone, take action on something that needs to be dealt with, all because you do not want to deal with the emotions + feelings that may arise if you do address it.

Using something as a “crutch” possibly an addiction or unhealthy/self-sabotaging behavior. Getting as far away from feeling your emotions as possible; locking them up tight inside.


Losing your job or leaving on bad terms. Not getting unemployment or compensation. Facing a stressful time at work. Changes in the structure of your job or the staff.


A relationship ending. Troubling times in your current relationship. One of you is withdrawing from the other. Letting emotions control you. Not making logical decisions and choices.


Suffering from a period of depression, removing yourself from society but not in the way of the hermit where you’re secluding yourself for enlightenment + reflection. This is removing yourself in a way as to be excluded to feel however you want. Engaging in behavior in secret. Finding challenges in situations that can be resolved easily if you remove yourself from the anger and desolation that you are feeling.

How do you interpret the 8 of Cups? Let me know in the comments, and come join me on Facebook to discuss all things tarot!

Much Love, Light, and Moonbeam Blessings,

Laura Sirena


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