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Barleywine  Barleywine is offline
Elder Jabberwock
 
Join Date: 10 Jun 2011
Location: Where the wild things are
Posts: 9,055
Barleywine 

I've contemplated this at some length before. I think I came to the conclusion that he took a close look, was dissatisfied, and was in the process of moving away in resignation when the scene was recorded. There is a sense of stagnation about the cups, and with the Moon riding high, an illusory - or maybe delusional - quality to the scene. The retreating man does seem disillusioned, like he's seen something we can only imagine, and is seeking higher ground to escape it. I once fancied that he's moving upstream, where the water is cleaner, rather than downstream where the miasma might follow him. (But maybe I've just been corrupted by the toxic-looking vision of the Thoth 8 of Cups.) The way ahead of him looks harder, but the only alternative is to return to the source of his disappointment. This is one of the RWS images that I think works quite well. This card has been seen "to reflect a somewhat stagnant state of things in relationships, and even presage their decline." The same author said about the number 8: "It is associated with moral decisions for good or ill." Those observations bring together two trains of thought: matters of the heart and questions of morality, both of which seem to be in a palpable state of distress here.
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