Suit: Suit of Cups
Card Type: Minor Arcana
Tarot Element: Water
Star Sign: Cancer
Angel: Archangel Gabriel
Key Meaning: Bored
The Four of Cups Tarot card can signify you are bored with certain parts of your life and are waiting for something (anything!) to spark excitement.
Number 4 Meaning In Tarot
All fours, including the Four of Wands, Four of Pentacles and Four of Swords have an underlying message of developing structure and stability. As cups refer to your emotional life, this card nudges you to reassess your attitude to life. A bad attitude is like a flat tyre, you won’t travel very far unless you change it.
Ask: Am I truly grateful and energized by the positive things in my life? Or am I allowing self-pity or laziness to slow me down?
A to Z: List of Tarot Cards
4 of Cups Keywords
😒 Upright: Boredom, waiting for change, missing an opportunity, stuck in the past
🥰 Reversed: Feeling positive, re-energized, emotionally maturing
Four of Cups Description
This description is based on the Rider Waite Tarot Deck. In this card we are looking at a young man sitting under a tree. He is looking at three cups, while a fourth is proffered from the sky, held by a hand suspended in mid-air. He’s not very interested in reaching for it, is he? His posture is defensive and he seems to be dreaming of being somewhere else. His body language indicates he is closed off to new experiences. The new cup resembles the Ace of Cup, a fresh opportunity which he is likely to miss due to his poor attitude.
LOVE: What does The Four of Cups Mean when You Ask About Love?
When the 4 of Cups turns up in a love reading, the meaning will depend on your situation:
❤️ It may be that your attention is very much focused on the people in your past who have been in your life up until now, but from whom – in reality -you are experiencing little or no sense of emotional fulfilment. These people may be friends, or romantic partners. The cups from which you have been symbolically drinking have all run dry, and you are now unaware of where to go and what to do to begin to find happiness on a deeper level.
❤️ The Four of Cups says expect new social contacts to open up soon for you, from a totally unexpected direction. Treasure these new people, for they are your doorway to an exciting new chapter of your life. Their function may be a little unsettling at first, as you begin to absorb their influence. Go along with the new things they show you because your life needs the new insights which they can provide.
❤️ You are single: this card signals that you must help yourself to find love. If you are on a treadmill, doing the same things and meeting the same people – how can anything change? Pay more attention to the opportunities around you, and say Yes to different experiences. Love is worth the discomfort of change, isn’t it? After all, wouldn’t a new relationship involve a big change to your routine? So, consider this a warmup. If you are genuinely ready for love, then you won’t mind making the effort to try new things now.
❤️ In are in a relationship: this card is a sign that one or both parties are feeling bored by the relationship. Do not ignore the problem, as this is how affairs can begin. Talk about the relationship with each other, be honest and make a plan. Something as simple as sticking to a regular date night can kickstart the recovery process. In some instances, however, a conversation can reveal that there is no longer any love remaining.
CAREER: What does This Card Signify When You Ask About Work?
⭕ If you asked about work or study and you receive the Four of Cups, then the guidance is: be careful not to miss an opportunity right under your nose. It may be that what you are doing has boring elements – don’t allow this to dull your enthusiasm. Stay alert and keep your efforts up.
⭕ Or perhaps what you are considering studying or starting something which will require time and effort to achieve? You’ve been asking yourself – is it really worth the effort? The answer is yes, it is.
As President Roosevelt said:
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty. I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
⭕ If you’ve been trying to figure out your life purpose, and the Four of Cups appears – it means consider a career in something which requires effort to achieve. Usually, this effort involves education or attaining qualifications. In numerology the number 4 is associated with stability, responsibility and reliability. Jobs and vocations associated with the Four of Cups include research & development, personal assistant, accounts, police, landscaping, architecture and teaching.
⭕ Know that at a soul level you are motivated by honesty and commitment, and have little time for superficiality and glitzy glamor. Choosing a career which allows you to mature into a position of authority will suit you well.
MONEY: What is the Meaning of The Four of Cups in a Money Reading?
When you receive the Four of Cups in a money reading, it means focus on the ‘boring’ stuff. This could mean, saving, planning or investing in your education and personal development. Take a longer-term attitude rather than looking for instant gratification or success at this time. As long as you make enough to keep your head above water while you learn new skills, then everything will turn out well.
Tarot Card Combination Meanings
“Four of Cups combined with Ten of Cups” – Building a happier future for your family, including a forever home.
“Four of Cups combined with Nine of Wands” – Don’t give up, even when the going gets tough.
“Combined with Queen of Swords” – You can inspire others with your actions.
“Four of Cups combined with The Star” – You are building towards stardom (whatever that personally means for you).
HEALTH: What does The 4 of Cups Mean When You Ask About Health?
If you are worried about your health and the Four of Cups turns up – it can signify that you lack the get up and go to help yourself at this time. It’s more tempting to try quick fixes, rather than make the necessary changes for any long-term improvement.
Or maybe you have given up on your health goals, like weight loss and fitness? When you look at this card, our man doesn’t seem very happy does he? Despite taking the easy path, he is still dissatisfied. He knows that over-indulgence is not what makes him feel good. He knows that only a sense of achievement will add that sparkle to his life. When you receive this card, it means don’t give up on your health goals, whatever they are.
YES/NO: Does The Four of Cups Mean Yes or No in a Reading?
❓ When you ask a Yes or No question and the Four of Cups turns up, then the answer is NO. However, you may be able to change this outcome by adjusting your attitude.
TIMING: Does The 4 of Cups Predict any Particular Timeframe?
💲 The 4 of Cups is only a timing indication when you specifically asked a timeframe question. For example, if you want to know if something will happen, and when, then you need to draw two separate cards. These are in fact, two separate questions. This is a fundamental principle to understand if you want an accurate tarot reading – and it is core to my teaching in my book Tarot in 5 Minutes.
💲 Using my timing method, the 4 of Cups is about 4 months. If the card is reversed, timing will be slightly longer – so up to 6 months.
Karina’s Timing Method:
Swords are days. Wands are weeks. Cups are months and Pentacles are years. Please note this is my personal timing method. Feel free to adopt it (or not).
What is the Meaning of The 4 of Cups Reversed?
✔️ When the 4 of Cups is reversed, then the situation is much better! Only a few other cards in Tarot, like the Five of Pentacles, Devil and The Tower, are better in reverse.
✔️ Upside down our man in the card lands back on his feet and is spurred into action. Whether you asked about love, money, finances or health – you are now in the right frame of mind to help yourself and make the most of the opportunities before you. The time is right, and you are ready now.
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Four of Cups Symbolism
Read Next! – Four of Cups Symbols
Previous Card: Three of Cups | Next Tarot Card: Five of Cups
Complete List: Tarot Card Meanings
Karina, author of Tarot in 5 Minutes.