Six of Cups
The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.
— William Wordsworth
It is always interesting to see what the cards are going to tell us about a week when so many of us will be stepping outside of our ordinary routines. In the U.S., we are celebrating Thanksgiving this week, which, for many, is a four-day weekend. It is one of the busiest travel days of the year, and it is the kick-off for the holiday season that climaxes with Yule/Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa.
So getting the Six of Cups is particularly fascinating. We just had it a month ago, so I’ll not repeat that interpretation.
Instead, I start with an interesting discussion of the numerology of the six, that comes by way of the good folks at Aeclectic Tarot:
“Sixes are balance and harmony, especially after the upsets of the fives. These cards predict a solution, and not just any solution; there will be an exchange, a give and take that results in a new equilibrium. It may not last, but for that moment, everything is stable. With this card, there is an almost “Ah-HA!” of recognition, of understanding in the solution, and more than a little awe at the symmetry achieved by it.”
Of course, with Cups being emotions, feelings, and love, we can’t help but consider the bigger Six in the Tarot – The Lovers. Is this a younger version – an exchange between innocent children that is later fulfilled in adulthood?
As I discussed last time, once you look closely, you’ll discover a strange distortion in this card. You can’t really identify the ages of the two main figures, and the cups are out of proportion. It was suggested last time that maybe Pamela Colman Smith (the artist of this deck) was just having an off day, so maybe she didn’t draw these figures with her customary precision. Frankly, I find that very hard to believe. But what the intention was, by deliberately distorting the perspective and figures, is a mystery.
My guess is that mystery is exactly the point. In a scene that looks ordinary and sweet, there is something slightly off-kilter, yet not particularly menacing. I think that this is much like how our own memories behave.
As our card for this week, I would suggest this speaks of what happens when we connect with friends or family we might not have seen in a long time. Familiar places and faces may have changed, but our fond memories and loving anticipation of reuniting may edit what actually stands before us. In this way, the traditional meaning of nostalgia and “happiness and enjoyment that come from the past,” as Eden Gray once described this card, seems appropriate.
What will you be giving thanks for this week? Be on the lookout for an opportunity to give an unselfish token of love to someone who has been important in your past. What little acts of kindness may you find yourself able to offer? Refresh your spirit with happy memories, and reconnect with good people from days gone by. There is nothing wrong with softening our gaze and overlooking the passage of time, when seeing our dear ones through the eyes of love.