Tyldwick - Five of Cups


I can't think of a better image for loss than what is used in this card - a mausoleum. The low-hanging limbs of the trees seem to cling to the building, suggesting a difficulty in letting go and moving on. The iron gates on the mausoleum explicitly make it known that what is gone won't be coming back - the lost won't be found, the broken won't be mended. It wasn't until I saw the reflection of the mausoleum that I realized this area was a swamp. Like those emotions of grief, regret and sorrow, its boggy mud threatens to suck you under with each step. But there is hope... water lilies are blooming in this swamp. The water lily seed begins deep in the darkness of the mud. It sends up a shoot through the murky water, until at last it reaches top of the water and opens its bloom in the sunlight. This plant is a symbol of the process of grief; if we can continue to take one step forward each day, we'll reach the sunlight on the other side.



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This card mirrors the Arcanum XIII. The black half circle of the mausoleum arch is reflected in the white half-circle of Death's organ, and the threshold steps are echoed by the keys, to give two examples.

It is not surprising that these two cards would be connected. Both deal with loss and transition. As BodhiSeed said, there is a finality to the loss that has been suffered, but life also provides the means to go on.