of shadow work
facing the darkness /
to live in the light
to live in the light
I just want to preface this post by saying y'all are showing up & showing out for each other & I'm in deep appreciation of your vulnerability. I think I might ugly cry a few times before this work is done.
Once again I shuffled & I was surprised (but not really) that the Five of Cups came out. Just like the Nine of Swords, the Five of Cups carries Tower energy. Even though I've taught this card a bunch, I prayed for discernment before writing this post & I feel like I was today years old before I fully understood it. The Five of Cups is a Minor Arcana card & carries the energy of two Major Arcana cards: The Tower (Mars) & Death (Scorpio). If the Tower & Death are the parents, the Five of Cups is the child.
This energy is actually in my birth chart because my natal Mars is in Scorpio, so its a bit of a blindspot for me. I've always looked at it like the liquid spilled out in the first three cups wasn't even love, so there's no use being upset about it. in the tarot, love is represented by clear water, not whatever tf this red & green goo is. I figured the card was indicating that if you could muster the strength to turn away from your loss, you would see that there was another opportunity for love & happiness right behind you, as represented by the two upright cups. But today the Most High was like nawl boo that's backwards af.
These cards always reveal themselves literally tho, that's what trips me out. The truth is staring us right in the face. This dude is concentrating very deeply on a loss, right? And what's behind him? A GAIN. Behind him, is an opportunity to gain back two of the three cups he's lost. But what do the words A-GAIN also spell? AGAIN. Which is the card's way of telling us that whatever is in those two cups, this person has already experienced in the three cups. This person has already been disappointed & depressed by what was in those cups so why in the world would he turn around & do it again??? It appears as though this cycle is the only option, though, since the cups are at his front & his back. He appears stuck. Which is true, but the card is trying to hint that in order to become unstuck, this person would have to MOVE ON. There is no clear path around the pain. There's no way to avoid the loss. The only thing to do is to pick up his feet & get over it.
That resistance to getting over it, moving on, accepting the loss without searching for a way to risk it again, is the shadow energy of the Five of Cups. Much like the Nine of Swords, the light of this card is hidden in darkness, because the only way out is through. Therefore the shadow of the card is lurking in light, in the optimism that somehow the same drink that poisoned you, can heal you, or that the same feeling that broke you, can fix you.
Let's talk about why there's only two cups behind dude anyway, since it was three that he lost. To explain that, we have to talk about this card's parents. Remember, the Five of Cups is a combination of Mars & Scorpio energy. Once again, with Mars we have the Tower (on the right). With Scorpio, we have Death (on the left).
We already know the Tower is the finger of God tearing us apart in order get us together. Death is the energy of total transformation & renewal regardless of the upheaval caused by the change. If we put these two energies together, we can see the Five of Cups is God being intent on ruining anything that stands between us being born again. I don't necessarily mean in the Christian sense either, I just mean that people have a tendency to unconsciously perpetuate fucked up family patterns & cycles, even though they suck. When God is tired of that & ready to wash us off, freshen us up & do a new thing in our bloodline, we'll find every door to those specific ancestral behaviors either slammed shut or filled with misery. Sometimes the generational curse is supposed to stop with us, but we resist bcus we love cursing. Its hard af to quit cursing.
Ok, back to the three spilled cups. Certain cards in the tarot reveal their meaning with the help of other cards. In this case, the three spilled cups represent the one cup in the Ace of Cups (on the right) + the two cups in the Two of Cups (on the left).
The Ace of Cups is a giant cup of love from the hand of the Most High, for you to do with what you please. The Two of Cups shows a couple exchanging their cups with each other. Their cups represent the intention to love each other based on how they themselves have been loved. However if these people have not been loved properly, then the cups they give to each other is not love, but poison. This is why the finger of God (Tower) strikes in the Five of Cups & causes the true contents of the exchange to be exposed. Since pure water can't mix with dirty water without getting dirty, the Ace of Cups from the Most High has been tainted as well.
Now that's a hard pill to swallow though, because it means accepting 1) the love you've been giving wasn't love, 2) the love you've been receiving wasn't love, & 3) all that stuff that wasn't love poisoned the purity inside you (God's love). To cope with the loss, which feels like a death (because no one is who you thought they were, not even yourself) you turn around & say this time I'll do better, this time I'll be sweeter, this time... & you do it again.
Ok yeah, God is not the author of confusion, so the Most High doesn't put His cup in that mess again. Hence there only being two cups upon turning around, instead of three. I've learned from experience that when you remain in a relationship cycle where you're trying to give & receive love from a space the Most High refuses to replenish, you stay losing, diminished, dark, depressed, sad, stuck, lost, drunk in love (wasted).
I'll give you an example-
Technically this story starts with my mother, may she RIP. I'm finna tell her business which would have mortified her when she was alive, but now that she's passed on, she's always nudging me to share her mishaps if they can help somebody. DON"T JUDGE MY MAMA, THO.
The love of my mama's life was a married man. Somehow (Five of Cups) they never officially ended up together, but they remained tight af until the day she passed. Once we were both adults & could speak freely with each other, we had several conversations about the nature of their relationship. Mostly, she expressed regret that she'd never found someone who wasn't married to openly love & support her & give her the honor she deserved. When I asked her why she didn't (bcus my mama was fiiiine, ok?) she explained that in her head she wanted to, but her heart was just... stuck on dude. She couldn't properly be with him but she couldn't get over him either. She said she would try to be with other men & tell her Mr. Married to quit calling, but ultimately she'd always go back to him because, love. My daddy turned out to be one of the other men she briefly tried to be with. The crazy shit is, during the year she was pregnant with me, Mr. Married finally divorced his wife & was willing to help her raise me, but she turned him away trying to do the "right thing," by my daddy. When I was around one years old she tried to go back to Mr. Married because things with my daddy wasn't working, but when she called, Mr. Married was literally one day away from wedding to wife #2. He married someone else (had to do "right" by her, you know?), & him and my mama were just heartbroken as hell & pitiful af for the rest of her life.
Now for my part. When I was in high school, I dated this one dude, but over time I fell in love with another dude who was a mutual friend of ours. When I realized I had feelings for our friend, I didn't know what to do, & I did everything wrong. I cheated on my bf with his friend, then broke up with my bf. But my bf felt so bad about the breakup that I got back together with him, kept cheating with his friend, got caught & ruined my reputation & lost a lot of friends & respect (esp. self-respect). The relationship with me & the dude I fell in love with did not work out no matter how hard we tried, & we desired each other madly so we tried up until two years ago, all throughout our other relationships, including my marriage & his engagement. We called it being friends or whatever the hell but truly, it was an emotional affair (& at the very end, a physical affair too) that lasted for 22 damn years, & every time it ended, it ended in a huge tower moment that came out of nowhere because God ain't finna bless no mess, PERIODT.
Now for his part. The dude I fell in love with & tried to be with for 22 years (who I think is my twin flame tbh if you believe in that sort of thing) has a bit of family history that plays into this as well. His father was married for a long time & had five living daughters but no living sons (two died in infancy). Towards the end of his marriage, he met my dude's mom, who was mad younger than him. He had an affair with her, & wound up divorcing his wife & leaving his daughters. Not long after, my friend's mom got pregnant with my friend (his father's first living son), & the rest is history. They are still married to this day, even though their marriage still carries a great deal of energetic resentment & anger from my friend's father's first family. The irony is not lost on me that I have five children & I was super pressed to leave my husband to be with my friend, meaning I was "loving him" by emulating his father & trying to turn him into his mother. Eventually I had to accept that I was appearing toxic af in his life story. I thought it was "romantic" to choose him at all costs, but realistically, what do I look like ruining his friendships, relationships & my marriage in the name of "soulmates..?" & What does he look like breaking up his engagement & my family in the name of "destiny?" No. Just... no.
Also, what are the odds that I was born to my father instead of my mother's long time love? What are the odds that my friend was born to his mother instead of his father's first wife? Clearly God was ready to do something new with both our generational lines (born again), & the Most High was not willing that we should eff up a brand new beginning by repeating those same toxic patterns with each other.
Thank you for reading all of that if you did, even though it was super messy. That also is the lesson of the Five of Cups- its MESSY. We can't clean that up, no matter how hard we try. We can't put lipstick on a pig. We can't go back in time & fix it. We can't repeat the same mistakes, only better this time, I promise. That's crazy.
All we can do is ask the Most High to help us move forward into our a new story, where His grace is the focal point & not this bullshit. We look at this card & we see something "wasted," & yet the Most High is saying Baby, waste it. Its basura. Come get something better.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
What's y'all Five of Cups?
all of us.