Deirdre of the Sorrows - Four of Cups


The energy of this card couldn’t be more different to that of the 3. Often this card is associated with key words such as dejection, stagnation, boredom or lethargy. As we observe the youth, it is easy to understand why.

He is the key figure in the card, and as such may indicate how the situation is affecting our emotional or mental state. He sits with his back against the tree, his shoulders rounded, head resting on one hand. He appears to be looking towards the cups, but I am not sure he really even knows they are there. His thoughts are turned inwards, and from his posture, they may not be positive right now. If you associate with this man, what is on your mind at the moment? How does that link in with the outward show of inactivity?

She is only a small background figure, but should not be overlooked with regards possible importance. She is striding purposefully towards the seated figure, a lantern in one hand. It is still daylight, so what is the significance of the lantern? Could this show she is about to shed some light on the way forward for him? Or is she acknowledging he needs his own space for some time to come, and is preparing him for nightfall? Who knows – it may be the presence of light in his inner darkness is what is required right now. He may need to find his own path or answer as opposed to relying on somebody else to provide this for him.

The tree is shedding golden leaves, indicating this could be autumn. I often associate this season with the preparation for long winter nights ahead. The buzz and exuberance of summer are passing, albeit temporarily. Therefore he should not give up hope totally on his situation – time does pass and seasons will return, once again providing us with fresh opportunities. He may well need this time to reflect, but this reflection should not be allowed to spiral downwards where it could turn into a depression.

The cups are there to remind him that there is so much by way of positive energy available to him, and it is also within his reach. He needs to identify what is holding him back from picking up one of these cups, and realising it is not just half full – it is positively brimming. All 4 are upright, providing yet another positive sign to take heart from.

The spider web indicates he may have been here for some time. However, it could also indicate the stagnation he has allowed his mind to develop. Just think of all those books etc you may have gathering dust somewhere. Quite often a spider will set up home, safe in the knowledge it is not likely to be disturbed. Is this what has happened to the emotions of the youth? They have been dormant for so long, a spider has had time to spin a web and settle there?

I showed this card to my partner recently, who has never looked at a tarot card in his life. His first instinct was “that is the key to his heart”. If so, could it show he has been hurt at some stage and is now choosing to be alone with his thoughts? He may reflecting on what has happened, and is considering what can be done in the future to prevent such hurt occurring again. Could this link in with the presence of the cups? He should be celebrating something, but that celebration may have turned sour on him. If this is the case, it may be of relevance the main character is a male. This may be somewhat generalised as a comment, but in the main it is true – men tend to bottle their emotions up instead of openly talking about them. If this feels as though it is applicable with your situation, the jar is telling you this is what you have done. However, that jar is not going anywhere, and each time you glance at it, you are reminded you have some unfinished business that must be dealt with. Locking it away inside your mind is not the most appropriate long-term answer.
Deirdre has indicated the key could represent opportunities he has available which he has chosen to lock away for now. Is there something you could be doing but have opted to put it to one side? If so, what would it take for you to pick the key up and try it out? What is stopping you from doing this? We should take heart from the fact the key is in plain sight, and could easily be retrieved from the jar. Therefore it would not take much effort to actually set it free. If anything, the main thing needed is just good old-fashioned ‘desire’.

This is not the first card we have seen with an inactive watermill but it does show his emotions have been stilled or stifled. If that mill were to be activated, it could well allow him to release the hold he has over his emotions. I guess it is a chicken and egg situation though. What does he need to do first: release the water in the mill, or crack open the jar to retrieve the key?