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Legend: Five of Cups (Lancelot & Elaine)

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Legend: Five of Cups (Lancelot & Elaine)


http://www.llewellyn.com/tarot/images/le_cups5.jpg

This has already been discussed as part of the "Fives" thread (Here's the link: http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=34757), but this card has come up for me 3 times within the space of a week as my daily card and I'd like to get if off my back, so I'm giving it some attention

The image seems drained of colour. Elaine watches Lancelot through a window, staring out to sea, obviously longing to be somewhere else. The most colourful thing in this card is the curtain, and that's green - the colour of jealousy.

Most of the time when I look at this card, I see it as the moment just after Elaine has pulled back the curtain. This is the moment of revelation, when she realises she is going to lose her man - indeed, she's already lost him emotionally. When the curtain was pulled across, she could still pretend that everything was hunky dory on the Joyous Isle. Now the truth behind the pretence has been revealed.

This is the essence of the card for me; the realisation of loss. The moment when you have to acknowledge that everything is not fine and you can't carry on anymore pretending that it is. The loss is revealed, the pain has to be faced.

This card feels more painful and hopeless than the RWS 5 of Cups, where at least you have the 2 cups still standing. It's difficult to see any bright side with this card.

Having said that, the last time I drew this card, I saw it a bit differently. This time I felt that Elaine had been watching Lancelot for some time and had acknowledged what was going on, and was about to walk away. I know that this does not fit with the story, but hell, if I were re-writing it, I'd have Elaine behave more like a modern woman and kick that deadbeat Lancelot out!
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The realization...it seems like that is the lightening, the storm of emotions, in the background. I think too, Elaine being inside the shelter... that she had been closed off to thinking this, and yes, is jealous.

Leo62, you described this card so well. That hopeless despair when you finally realize you can't stay closed off from the realities any longer. And then there is Lancelot...feeling trapped in a situation he no longer wants to be in and so far away from where he wants to be. Longing for something different...they both are longing for what they can't possess.

Both have something between them, both have walls around them. Lancelot's are more open to the elements, while Elaine's are held within. I've been trying to think of why the cliffs, but I just had the thought of the "gulf" between them and what they want...or the gulf that comes between two people.

They don't reach out to anyone either, but have turned their back to what they have or hold on to inner feelings rather than taking active steps to bridge that gulf or be in the same space. So they could change this so much, if Elaine let go of her jealousy or Lancelot turned around and accepted what he has and just did something besides feeling sorry for themselves.

It's all sort of wishful thinking and you know the story about that, wish in one hand...**** in the other. Which one will fill up faster?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalesWoman
..they both are longing for what they can't possess.
Yes, Waleswoman, that sums it up beautifully. It's like being stuck in an unhappy situation and being unable to move on and unable to stop wanting the unattainable, until unhappiness becomes a kind of habit.

You know, I'd never noticed the stormy weather in the background...I guess it represents the anger between them that isn't being expressed. I must admit, my attention is always more drawn to Elaine when I look at this card, and it's not just that she is in the foreground. I find it quite hard to empathise with Lancelot, probably because I find him an unsympathetic character generally. He is someone who never seems to be able to get real with himself...but I suppose you could say that about Elaine, too. In many ways, they deserve each other, and on one level, although I feel compassion for them, I just want to get hold of them both and shake them...

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Originally Posted by WalesWoman
It's all sort of wishful thinking and you know the story about that, wish in one hand...**** in the other. Which one will fill up faster?
er, I'm not familiar with that saying, Waleswoman ;]
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That saying...is about wishful thinking and how much it's worth, in a grapic manner. Poop!

Sort of sums up the initial reaction that surrounds this whole 5 Cups emotional dilemma.

In another more positive way of looking at it, is the worn out saying,
"If you love something, let it go...
if it doesn't come back,
it was never yours,
if it does,
love it forever."

We can't control or determine another's choices, but we can and do determine our reactions and what we do about them.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalesWoman
That saying...is about wishful thinking and how much it's worth, in a grapic manner. Poop!
I thought it might be something like that...;]

Quote:
Originally Posted by WalesWoman
"If you love something, let it go...
if it doesn't come back,
it was never yours,
if it does,
love it forever."
That sounds like the perfect antidote to the 5 of Cups blues
- you'll have to imagine a smiley here, cos I cleaned my computer keyboard yesterday and now my shift key doesn't work....
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elaine then represents the intuitive feminine side and lancelot is the classic knight that being the agressive male. they seem to be dealing with their problems in a modern way, though. the man is running, and the woman is greiving. ive never seen the card, but if shes in a castle it could be her guarded emotions, hiding her heart. if this is so, this may be one reason why lancelot left, realizing he cant measure up to her. or, she witheld her true feelings from him, and did not express her love properly. in hopelessness, lancelot leaves, and she watches him go. i dont really know much of the story.
heres something though.. if the knight in the picture is lancelot, then perhaps the woman in the picture is actually guinivere. then because of honor, lancelot must leave to preserve his oath to arthur even though hes in love with guinivere(we are rewriting the story right?)in the same sense she lets him go, because she must be loyal to her husband and king.
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Hi crazymayj,

Leo supplied a link to the image in the first post of this spread, if you'd like to look at it.

The story of Lancelot and Elaine is one of those complicated things...like love usually is. Lancelot couldn't have Gwenevere, and ended up with Elaine, sort of a rebound and honor thing, then couldn't commit totally and left her and his son, and probably did a lot of soul searching before he did.

It reminds me of a song by Bonnie Raitt,
"...I can't make you love me if you don't,
You can't make your heart feel something it won't,
Here in the dark, in these final hours,
I will lay down my heart and I'll feel the power
But you won't, no you won't.

I'll close my eyes, then I won't see
the love you don't feel when you're holding me
Morning will come and I'll do what's right,
just give me 'till then, to give up this fight,
and I'll give up this fight."


I think Elaine knew this and even though she loved him deeply, gave him what he needed, the time, space and consideration to think things through and decide what he needed to do, even though it meant letting him go and giving up her dreams of life with him.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo62
You know, I'd never noticed the stormy weather in the background...I guess it represents the anger between them that isn't being expressed. I must admit, my attention is always more drawn to Elaine when I look at this card, and it's not just that she is in the foreground. I find it quite hard to empathise with Lancelot, probably because I find him an unsympathetic character generally. He is someone who never seems to be able to get real with himself...but I suppose you could say that about Elaine, too. In many ways, they deserve each other, and on one level, although I feel compassion for them, I just want to get hold of them both and shake them...
Hi Leo - I have quite a different take on Lancelot, that he is a true hero of the Arthurian Legend, in that he achieves a soul-to-soul love with Guenevere that Arthur seems incapable of. Of what value are lands and power compared to transcendent love? I think the storm is an expression of the dynamic of change, the passionate energy which will draw Lancelot back to his heart's desire, and that will grieve Elaine in the parting.

BTW, I am very impressed that you have found an online reference to all the Legend graphics. It would be neat to eventually link each thread to the appropriate card, and a lot easier than attempting to scan them as WalesWoman has been so admirably doing.

Cheers
David
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sophie-David
Hi Leo - I have quite a different take on Lancelot, that he is a true hero of the Arthurian Legend, in that he achieves a soul-to-soul love with Guenevere that Arthur seems incapable of. Of what value are lands and power compared to transcendent love? I think the storm is an expression of the dynamic of change, the passionate energy which will draw Lancelot back to his heart's desire, and that will grieve Elaine in the parting.
Hi David
An interesting take - I'd never thought of it like that. I suppose I've been influenced by Marion Bradley's characterisation (I'm reading "Mists" again, after fifteen years), where he's a bit of a spineless self-hater. I suppose that's why these stories are so powerful and durable - they are infinitely adaptable and can be told and retold in so many ways...

But back to the Five of Cups - here, both L and E seem to be *incapable* of facing up to the fact that it isn't working out. Although L does leave in the end, and I suppose you could put a positive slant on that by seeing it as him acknowledging the truth of the situation....it's a modern bias, I guess, to see him as a "deadbeat dad."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sophie-David
BTW, I am very impressed that you have found an online reference to all the Legend graphics. It would be neat to eventually link each thread to the appropriate card, and a lot easier than attempting to scan them as WalesWoman has been so admirably doing.
I found the link via the "Sites that show the whole deck" thread in Tarot Decks (Sorry I haven't yet worked out how to link to a thread!), so can't take all the credit...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo62
But back to the Five of Cups - here, both L and E seem to be *incapable* of facing up to the fact that it isn't working out. Although L does leave in the end, and I suppose you could put a positive slant on that by seeing it as him acknowledging the truth of the situation....it's a modern bias, I guess, to see him as a "deadbeat dad."
Yes, certainly an emotional deadbeat in that it would seem likely that he never came back to visit his son. Elaine and their child would have been sustained materially since she still possessed her castle and its lands.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo62
I found the link via the "Sites that show the whole deck" thread in Tarot Decks (Sorry I haven't yet worked out how to link to a thread!), so can't take all the credit...
Thanks Leo, I will add a link to this site in the Legend Index. I am currently working through the cards and adding links to these pictures for those that WalesWoman has not already done.
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