Mary El Tarot - Four of Cups

Bat Chicken

Crashing waves on the shores of a saltwater sea. What looks like cooled volcanic rock acts as a violent barrier to the surf, allowing a conch shell to wash up on the beach. Like the other fours, the Four of Cups is dominated by its element – Water. Salt water is the basis for life, it is in our tears and our blood. The tides of the ocean are like our emotions, in and out and affected by the Moon. Waves are unpredictable and ever changing.

The conch shell is interesting. I thought this blogger had a wonderful way of describing its symbolism:
The spiral formation inside the conch is symbolic of infinity. The space , which gradually expands in a clock-wise direction. The shell is like the human journey of life. The hard casing protects life. The pearl inside (a scallop or oyster), and its aquatic nature associates it with the feminine, lunar, and virginity that is symbolic in music. The conch shell’s spiral form and relation to water cause it to represent the beginning of existence. This sounds like the place poet William Butler Yeats found his spiraling gyre symbolism so prevalent in his writings.



This opens up the question, do all spiral shells open up clockwise? The answer is that they don't but probably most do.

There is an energy about this card which is missing in the former 3 leading up to it. The crashing waves are forming the sand on the beach not only from the rocks but from shells like those washed upon the shore. The rocks are black - is that because they are newly formed volcanic or covered with seaweed and algae? The beach, however, is golden, the colour of billions of crushed seashells.

The conch has been used for centuries as a means of communication; a horn. In many oceanic cultures the conch has a special place in their spiritual beliefs (Hawaii the conch horn is known as Pu and blown at wedding ceremonies for good luck).

Here we get back to the rarity of the right sided or anti-clockwise spiral which becomes a religious symbol or highly prized artifact. In Hindu and Indian mythology the conch shell is sacred.

So what do we have here in this card? A gift from the ocean, from the mother of all beings where all life began. Here at the liminal place where water and earth meet is a gift which unites air, water and earth. However it cannot blow itself, it needs the fire within us to ignite the sound within. Finally all the elements are together in this card for the establishment of solid foundations.

If I was reading with this card, it would suggest that the querant has been given a gift but how will they use it or do they even recognise it? Do they need to find that place within themselves; that remote place in nature which will inspire them to take up the horn and blow it or will they leave it there on the beach to become sand for other feet to walk upon?


Four of Cups

Drowning in the ocean. Lost. Struggling. Burden. The weight of all the emotions is too much to bear. The seashell on the solid beach sand shows promise and a way toward recovery.

Meanings: Recovery. Loss. Lost. Grief. Moving forward. Struggling. Burden. A way out. Port in a storm. Anchor. Unmoveable force. A difficult time. An emotional time. A promise made. A promise kept. Eternity. A friend who is a "rock" to be there for you. Calm seas beyond the storm. While the current weather appears turbulent, do not be concerned: look to the long-term forecast, where the seas are calm. Inner voice. (Pick up the seashell, put your ear to it and listen to it.)

ETA reading Milfoil's post about an unrecognized gift: adding to meanings:

Be on the lookout for an unrecognized gift. Be in tune with your natural gifts (given to you at birth); they will serve you well during this time. Look out for an unexpected gift.