Bohemian Gothic--Eight of Cups


On the other side of this discussion is the 8/Cups. In that thread it's pointed out that the 8/Cups takes place in the same "house" as the 4/Cups. It has the same archways. Unlike our vampire bride, however, snug in her 4/Cups coffin, who doesn't seem to notice or perhaps doesn't care about the exit right next to her, this lady is taking a moment to glance back even as she makes her way toward that opening, determined, it seems to cross the threshold. That in spite of the ominous skull decoration above it.

From what we can tell, she's not a vampire--no fangs like the 4/Cups bride, not hint of blood, or even an undead paleness. She would seem to be a living woman. And though she is wearing white, she doesn't seem to be a new bride either. For all the lace and flowers there is nothing to suggest that this is her wedding day. In the 19th century, women often wore their wedding dresses more than once, and I get the feeling here that though this white dress *might* have been her wedding gown, she'd since worn it several times as a regular dress. She carries a vine of flowers--reminder of 4/Cups bouquet, but in a relaxed form. Her hair is up, which, again is more "woman-ish" rather the girlish curls of the 4/Cups bride, and a strand of pearls are about her neck (gift from her husband?), which also makes her feel a older and more mature.

The typical 8/Cups moon has been replaced by a half-moon window to lure her forward, and we see two urns ("Cups") to either side of the arch. She glances right back at us, pausing, it seems, for either a last look, or perhaps to make sure no one is following her, or perhaps because she heard something.

As mentioned in the other thread, this seems to be that gothic moment where the woman goes looking where she maybe shouldn't...but must. From Bluebeard's wife to Jane Eyre, etc. "You can go anywhere in the castle but the West Wing..." she's been told. Right? :D Now, after weeks of hearing strange sounds and seeing strange things, she's made up her mind to have a look. Her husband is out and the servants are asleep. She makes her way toward that fateful arch. And what secret will she find out about her new husband? Is he a beast? A murder? Still married to a madwoman or a vampire?

8/Cups is one of my favorite cards, and I have to say that this image kinda disappoints me. Yet I also have to say that it captures, pretty perfectly, the sentiment of that card. What is known, maybe even safe, has to be left behind. Even if the woman is being lured into a dangerous place, she has to know. It's not just curiosity, it's that there is stagnation if she doesn't go. To develop and mature, she must follow that lure and discover what lies beyond that arch. The 8/Cups is all about feelings that make us follow such impluses, and this card really embodies them.


I'm just adding a little for the benefit of those without the book, who asked, although 13, your own insights & description are perfect!

Karen Mahoney asks "we can't know this woman's story, but can you imagine what it might be?"

This is a fine way to begin to explore this card; taking the basic Rider-Waite-Smith meaning of leaving something behind and moving on; a transitional time, full of potential dangers (especially implied in the BG!) "Be Brave!" urges Karen.

Everytime I make up a story about this woman, its different & I extrapolate more meanings from that. This morning as I write this, it seems clear to me she's leaving her own wedding before the ceremony.....last time, according to my notebook, she was a governess exploring her new - and ever so intimidating - home. The first time we met, she was my elder sister, luring me into mischief!

This deck is my personal opium den!