emotional change

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Intro: the Eight of Cups Tarot Card Meaning - emotional change

Tarot Alley uses the Rider Waite type of deck for our meanings, symbols, interpretations, etc.

When determining the Eight of Cups tarot card meaning, you should consider that it’s a Cups card and an Eight. The Suit of Cups represents emotions and relationships. Eights represent action, movement, and swiftness.

In this way, we can determine that the Eight of Cups represents an emotional change.

Take a look at the Rider-Waite Eight of Cups displayed to the left (or above).

What is your first impression?

Where is the figure going? Will they return? Why are they leaving? Did you notice the missing cup? Where is it?

There’s no right or wrong answer here, just your interpretation.

Astrology: Saturn in Pisces
Element: Water
Numerology: 8 (action, movement, swiftness)

Common Symbols

  • A Missing Cup: it’s common to see the 8 cups arranged in a manner that makes it appear one is missing. This represents room for growth.
  • A Retreating Figure: to represent starting a new path

Keywords & Concepts

  • Departure
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Longing
  • Quest
  • Withdrawal

The Eight of Cups for Personal Growth

Affirmation: I am always open to opportunities for growth.

The idea of “never giving up” is so pervasive in society that it can be really difficult to quit anything. But eventually you have to learn to “throw in the towel.” If you really struggle with quitting, try to reframe the situation. You’re not giving up, you’re taking a step towards something new.

Ask Yourself:

  • In your own life, what habits or attitudes need to be abandoned?
  • What do you need to leave behind once and for all?
  • If you left in search of, “more,” what would you be looking for, exactly
  • How might a retreat enhance your perspective?
  • What labor of love should you undertake today?
  • What are the risks of starting over? What would be lost? What might you gain?
  • What do you lack emotionally? How willing are you to pursue it?

Interpreting the Eight of Cups

Generally, the Eight of Cups represents emotional change. Something is happening and you’re so ready for it. You’ve been wanting something better or more for some time and now it’s time to blaze your own trail and go after it.

There’s more to life than whatever you’re experiencing. It’s time to leave behind your unhealthy situation.

The Reversed Eight of Cups

How you read reversals is a personal choice. You can ignore reversals and read them as if the card is upright (this is what I often choose to do) or you can interpret reversals as variations of what they would mean upright. There are 3 common ways to read reversals: as a negative interpretation, as an opposite interpretation, or as a block on the upright interpretation. Check out How to Read Reversals for more information.

Typically, a reversed Eight of Cups represents emotional manipulation. Examples include:

  • Being implacable
  • Finding fault in everything (ie nitpicking)
  • Refusing to settle down
  • Running away from your problems
  • Expecting everything to go your way or you won’t go along with it
  • Continually bringing up past mistakes and disappointments
  • Using threats as a method to get your way

Examples of the Eight of Cups

Specific Interpretations

Specific situations are the general interpretation (from above) used for a specific situation (love, career, etc). There is no need to memorize these (or even look them up) if you understand the general interpretation. However, here are some basic interpretations for some specific situations:


You are a whole person. You are not half of something. Sometimes, being alone and being just you is the best thing you can do. Don’t fear it.

A little time and space away from your partner can be good for your relationship.


Know when to say “NO!” If you’re consistently feeling like you’re missing something, it’s time to listen to that feeling and find what’s missing.


A spiritual retreat might be just what you need right now to heighten your awareness of your spiritual path. When you return to the routine, you’ll see things with fresh eyes.

the Eight of Cups Tarot Card Meaning

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The Eight of Cups tarot card meaning is all about emotional change. It’s time to stop complaining and take action towards change. Find what’s missing in your life!

Once you feel comfortable with the Eight of Cups tarot card meaning, check out the next card in the tarot deck: the Nine of Cups Tarot Card Meaning.


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