Upright: Escapism, disappointment, abandonment, withdrawal
Reversed: Hopelessness, aimless drifting, walking away
The Eight of Cups is a card of change and transition. The card evokes an immediate reaction of sadness and a sense of solitude. The young man in this card has turned his back on all he has accumulated or accomplished before. He disappears by night into a barren and difficult terrain with only a cloak on his back and a staff in hand. The character in the Eight of Cups has lived and experienced life’s joys and sorrows. His journey is undertaken because of a sense of restlessness and unhappiness experienced as the result of achieving all he has desired, yet finding those things to be less fulfilling than expected. This individual has chosen to forsake the familiar and the comfortable in the pursuit of higher goals. He is embarking upon the spiritual journey because he has not found deep satisfaction in the things of the world, the things with which he is familiar.
The Eight of Cups indicates that it is time to ask yourself what you can do to bring a deeper satisfaction and joy to your life beyond the obvious pursuit of material satisfaction and/or physical enjoyment. You are seeking deeper meaning to life and focusing in on your personal truth. You want to escape from the ‘rat race’ and pursue deeper, more spiritual goals at this time. You are willing to let go of your material possessions in favour of something more meaningful. Thus, the Eight of Cups is often reflective of the start of a journey of discovery, particularly on a spiritual level.
The Eight of Cups also indicates that you are disappointed enough to walk away from everything you have built up so far. It could indicate a disappointment in love or dissatisfaction with material success. It could also indicate that you have over-extended yourself to the point of emotional exhaustion. Even though you have already come so far, you feel that you can no longer go on and your only choice is to walk away from the situation. You feel disappointed with yourself but you know that this is the right thing to do before you completely burn out. You may also be feeling that you are giving too much and not getting nearly enough in exchange.
The reversed Eight of Cups can reflect hopeless, aimless drifting from one place to the next by someone who cannot stand to be confined to just one setting or someone who never quite fits in. You may fear intimacy and have difficulty making and keeping your commitments. When things become too difficult, you quickly escape and leave behind your troubles, rather than dealing with them head on.