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VIII Cups Contradiction

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VIII Cups Contradiction


I find the contradictory imagery in the VIII of Cups quite confusing and I would like to hear how others see this card as I am having difficulty understanding it with any amount of assurity. Eight Cups standing upright behind a man (perhaps the Hermit with his staff) who rejects and deserts them possibly permanently, with no obvious reason or rationale...seem to contradict each other. Obviously the upright cups signify a real love....not something the normal person would walk away from.....not even the Hermit I would think.
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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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Barleywine encapsulated the general essence of this card nicely, and there isn't a plethora of subjective debate to be had here versus the mysterious 7 of Cups. *giggles*

This card depicts to me leaving something before it has ended because he knows it is time to move on, as suggested by the cups perfectly stacked as he turns away into the night. He looks for something that is missing in his current life as what he is leaving behind is either not to his satisfaction or has been exhausted of all possibilities.

Note the odd moon that overlooks the scene, which suggests an eclipse - a temporary darkness in his current state of contemplative journeying. For it is dark this day of reckoning, a somber decision to be made; however, the sun shall shine brightly soon as he moves away from this current state.

As this card is an 8, it could also suggest a repetitive pattern that one falls into countless times over; the proverbial fork in the road that one keeps arriving at in his life's path. The good news is that he has the intuition to move on before the cups collapse and spill all over the ground like the 5 of Cups.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruby Jewel View Post
Eight Cups standing upright behind a man (perhaps the Hermit with his staff) who rejects and deserts them possibly permanently, with no obvious reason or rationale...seem to contradict each other. Obviously the upright cups signify a real love....not something the normal person would walk away from.....not even the Hermit I would think.
I had this card come up in a reading for me, today. My heart sank when I looked at it. The figure does reject and desert the cups, yes, and like you said, with no obvious reason or rationale. That's the frustrating part. Feelings are not always rational. But, they're feelings, nonetheless, and they carry weight.

The figure is dissatisfied where he's at. He feels incomplete and he's not sure why. He can't understand why those 8 cups are dissatisfying. His mind says - this should all be enough, more than enough. Look at what you've got. The cups *seem* full and maybe they are actually filled to the rim but for some reason, the cups don't carry that one *thing* he feels is *now* missing.

For a long, long time, the cups and whatever they represented, were enough. But, not anymore. He asks - what is this missing thing? Maybe he doesn't know. I don't think he likes having these feelings. I think it's an overwhelming process for him. I think there are times when he's mad at himself for feeling the way he does. He knows his feelings will affect others in his life and he doesn't want to feel responsible. But, he also knows that if he *stays*, a part of him continues to die - because those cups don't and can't *feed* him anymore nor can they *quench* his thirst.

He looks up and feels the pull of the Moon (into the unknown) and fears it as well but it's not *only* the Moon that influences and guides him. There's also the light of the Sun which reassures him that although he may not know what he's looking for, he'll recognize it when he sees it. But, he's got to take that journey or he'll never know. He carries a sense of passion and desire. His Will is reflected in the red of his cloak and shoes.

Yes, those 8 Cups do reflect a "real love" but there is a yearning for something *more* or something *different*, a draw towards something *new* but not necessarily to get away from what IS - because to move towards something to get away from something else carries its own set of issues. It feels more like an inner calling and one that can't easily be ignored. That's where the significance of the #8 comes in for me (as was explained by Shardz). It can feel like a never ending cycle until you make the decision to break it. Just some thoughts.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
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.
I had an interesting thought on this card just now, as I am working on the Knight of Cups. The Knight lives in a fantasy world of idealized love, courtly love, if you will....he puts the lover on a pedestal to worship, seeking the ultimate experience of "holy" love. It is a kind of ecstasy of the spirit in which he worship the love from afar, and bodily satisfaction does not interest him as he chooses not to sully her with "base desires." He is a flatterer, a womanizer, and a dreamer....when the dream is "busted" and the woman declines to be put on his pedestal...preferring a real, practical relationship from him, he gets on his horse and rides on to offer his "cup" to the next "damsel."

I had the interesting experience of falling in love with a Pisces man once who was my roommate for 10 years in New York City. This is precisely the experience I had with him so I took the relationship to the next level and made a friend of him, then watched him go through the same scenario for the next 30 years with dozens of other women, (including those prior to me), all of whom he declared were the "love of his life" as he walked away and out of their lives. He died in 2011 miserable and alone...still declaring to the world that I was the "love of his life"...a very sad story. That is the classic Knight of Cups.

My point here is that perhaps that is what is going on in the IX of Cups....the cups represent an "idealized" love relationship that failed to remain "idealized".... because the woman wanted something real.....but, like my friend, the fellow in the card carried the "ideal love" image with him as he went in search of the next "holy love experience." This theory offers an explanation of the dichotomy of the Cups still standing as he leaves them behind.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shardz View Post
Barleywine encapsulated the general essence of this card nicely, and there isn't a plethora of subjective debate to be had here versus the mysterious 7 of Cups. *giggles*

This card depicts to me leaving something before it has ended because he knows it is time to move on, as suggested by the cups perfectly stacked as he turns away into the night. He looks for something that is missing in his current life as what he is leaving behind is either not to his satisfaction or has been exhausted of all possibilities.

Note the odd moon that overlooks the scene, which suggests an eclipse - a temporary darkness in his current state of contemplative journeying. For it is dark this day of reckoning, a somber decision to be made; however, the sun shall shine brightly soon as he moves away from this current state.

As this card is an 8, it could also suggest a repetitive pattern that one falls into countless times over; the proverbial fork in the road that one keeps arriving at in his life's path. The good news is that he has the intuition to move on before the cups collapse and spill all over the ground like the 5 of Cups.
It is interesting that the 8 suggests a repetitive pattern that one falls into countless times over......as noted above in my reply to Barleywine.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flames View Post
I had this card come up in a reading for me, today. My heart sank when I looked at it. The figure does reject and desert the cups, yes, and like you said, with no obvious reason or rationale. That's the frustrating part. Feelings are not always rational. But, they're feelings, nonetheless, and they carry weight.

The figure is dissatisfied where he's at. He feels incomplete and he's not sure why. He can't understand why those 8 cups are dissatisfying. His mind says - this should all be enough, more than enough. Look at what you've got. The cups *seem* full and maybe they are actually filled to the rim but for some reason, the cups don't carry that one *thing* he feels is *now* missing.

For a long, long time, the cups and whatever they represented, were enough. But, not anymore. He asks - what is this missing thing? Maybe he doesn't know. I don't think he likes having these feelings. I think it's an overwhelming process for him. I think there are times when he's mad at himself for feeling the way he does. He knows his feelings will affect others in his life and he doesn't want to feel responsible. But, he also knows that if he *stays*, a part of him continues to die - because those cups don't and can't *feed* him anymore nor can they *quench* his thirst.

He looks up and feels the pull of the Moon (into the unknown) and fears it as well but it's not *only* the Moon that influences and guides him. There's also the light of the Sun which reassures him that although he may not know what he's looking for, he'll recognize it when he sees it. But, he's got to take that journey or he'll never know. He carries a sense of passion and desire. His Will is reflected in the red of his cloak and shoes.

Yes, those 8 Cups do reflect a "real love" but there is a yearning for something *more* or something *different*, a draw towards something *new* but not necessarily to get away from what IS - because to move towards something to get away from something else carries its own set of issues. It feels more like an inner calling and one that can't easily be ignored. That's where the significance of the #8 comes in for me (as was explained by Shardz). It can feel like a never ending cycle until you make the decision to break it. Just some thoughts.
You and I see this almost identical. I would like to refer you to my replies to both Barleywine and Shardz posts.
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In the 8 of Cups, Saturn's intrinsic limitations seem to restrict Pisces' endless stream of feeling. In a way, you are right to say there is a sense of conflict or contradiction.
The eighth pillar, Hod, structures things through the intellect. Thus, there is a struggle between what one thinks and what one feels. One thing is for sure, they must choose and part with something.
He relieves himself of the chalices in order to move forward. Therefore, it comes down to overcoming your emotions and moving forward.
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The moon is a moon in its waning phase. This is a style of art that turns up frequently in alchemical art especially. This link shows a picture by Hieronymus Reussner, 1588; it's also the moon in the waning phase. Here's another picture by Reussner, 1582; it's about 3/4 down the page. This is an example of the waxing phase.

What this says to me is the current phase of this person's life is winding down. I don't see the cups as symbolizing anything in particular; they represent whatever the person is leaving behind, it could be anything.
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I guess the sticking point for me is that, from a qabalistic and Tree of Life perspective, I don't see the number 8 as positive, even though it represents a binary "equilibrium" in esoteric number theory. Interestingly, departing from the sphere of Mercury (Hod = 8) and moving toward the sphere of the Moon (Yesod = 9), thereby regaining stability on the Middle Pillar, is exactly where the man in the 8 of Cups seems to be headed. The other thing that always made me wonder is the "3-over-5" arrangement of the Cups; if they were truly in balance, I'd think it would be "4-over-4." Something seems slightly "off" about that. Jospeh Maxwell was big on "isomorphs;" of 3+5 he said: "3+5 is somewhat unstable, in which awareness (5) evolves (3) in a wrong direction, that is, sense-dominated." Perhaps the man is departing due to sensory overload; he's seeking greater tranquility of mind.
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