The imagery on this Five of Cups shows a man staring, probably mournfully, at three spilt cups, while two perfectly full cups stand behind him.
This Five can symbolize regret, missing someone, disappointment, guilt, and sadness, but the advice of the card here is to remember the two cups that are full.
It's so easy for us to get caught up in things that did not work out the way we wanted them to, and to go over and over in our thoughts what we hoped might occur,
We feel powerless towards what actually happened, and feel powerless toward the future about it. Maybe you wanted a relationship to work, but because of the other person, it could not. Maybe you miss someone who is gone.
Let's talk about sadness. Nobody likes to feel sadness and pain, and a lot of people don't allow themselves to. They embroider these feelings with hate, with anger. As literary great James Baldwin said, “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain."
Being sad means being vulnerable, it means trusting that you are in process and will be able to release this to move forward. Again, though, this moving forward, especially when it comes to someone you are missing or a situation you regret, is often hard. You think that maybe if you continue to go in circles about your sadness, you will have some sort of power over it. But you should instead be using your power to turn towards what can be done in the present, for yourself.
Try your best to find the lesson, and if you don't want to do that, then cut yourself some slack here. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling and count your blessings, or remember what moments you were grateful for with either the situation or the person it involved.
Being told to look at the bright side, when you are feeling sad and upset, is not what we usually want to hear. I know it's not what I want to hear, but being told to try to remember what I'm grateful for, or to sift through a situation for what I can be grateful for, does something proactive for one's energy.
Self-help guru Tony Robbins once guided a talk show audience on a short meditation. Everyone was supposed to think of three things that they were grateful for, or three things that brought them joy. All of them suddenly relaxed. The things they came in worrying about melted away.
When you are thinking of things you are grateful for or things that bring you joy, your panic, your sadness, or your fear, doesn't shut off the sense memories of these things. Thus your heart gets filled with the joy that those moments or items of gratitude bring. So when you feel yourself caught up in gloom or doom, thinking of joyful things works much in the way that taking an aspirin for a headache would. It will help change your chemicals and calm you down, and also eventually bring you more abundance.
Gratefulness and joy are the two cups that are still standing, filled to the brim behind you. And the more you focus on those, the more you are able to continue forward building with that energy. Be okay with allowing yourself to give into your feelings. Do not let your ego try to get in the way of this release. Yes, it sometimes makes you feel out of control, or weak, but the funny thing is, the less you try to control these things, the more they will pass easily, and the more they will give way to strength.