I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.
Mary Oliver, from Lead
As Spring continues her flirtation with the Northern Hemisphere and Jupiter stations retrograde this week, we are visited by the Five of Cups.
This is a card that is both mysterious and sorrowful. In the R-W-S deck, we have a figure of unknown gender cloaked in black mourning. They are slightly turned away from us, face hidden in grief, gazing at three spilled cups.
While the sky is a non-committal gray, the river nearby is clear and relatively smooth. There are rolling hills and two cups remain standing.
The Fives of the Tarot are concerned with strife and sometimes suffering. And of course, Cups represent our emotions, love, dreams, and intuition. One of the few Tarot cards in the R-W-S deck whose main figure seems deliberately androgynous (like our recent Nine of Swords), this is a reminder that the bitterness of hurt, regret, and grief is universal to all.
Perhaps the three spilled Cups are the celebratory Three of Cups, now dashed. Has the figure fallen from grace?
Could this mean, then, that the friendship and heart-connection of the Two of Cups is represented in the cups that are still standing?
Unbeknownst, or perhaps forgotten to the grieving one, is there support nearby from friends or a lover?
Perhaps he or she has deliberately overturned the cups. Or has it been due to carelessness that this mishap has occurred? And what about the colors of the spilled liquids? Are they the orange and red of passion, and the green, perhaps, of jealousy?
Once the Hermit-like figure turns to discover the remaining Cups and the bridge that crosses the river of tears and healing, shelter and home await.
Jupiter Stations Retrograde
This week’s big astrological news is that Jupiter, which has been slowing down to a virtual standstill (from our point of view on Earth, not literally!), turns retrograde on Wednesday.
Cafe Astrology’s Annie Heese writes:
The first of the social planets, Jupiter seeks insight through knowledge. Some of this planet’s keywords include morality, gratitude, hope, honor, and the law. Jupiter is a planet of broader purpose, reach, and possibility.
Jupiter has generally been associated with good luck and bounty. Optimism and growth (including mental and spiritual growth) come under its rule.
And our own local astrology star, Lynn Hayes explains the significance of this change in the direction of the King of the God’s planet:
Jupiter turns retrograde at some point each year, and this year it will be in retrograde motion between April 10th and August 11th. Jupiter is in its own sign of Sagittarius where it is fully empowered to expand and create abundant opportunity.
However, when Jupiter is powerful, it can sometimes encourage us to become complacent and we can lose that watchful eye which keeps us practical and grounded.
Jupiter urges us to consider expanding beyond what we normally think is possible. It drives us to formalize our sense of meaning in life into belief systems (hence its rulership over theology and ideologies in general), and in Sagittarius it encourages us to pursue possibilities which seem limitless.
While retrograde, though, the influence of Jupiter slows down so that we can consider these possibilities more carefully. The tendency of Jupiter towards recklessness is checked as we look backwards to see what mistakes have been made.
The motion of planets ebb and flow like the ocean, helping us to see and understand the rhythms of life.
The Five of Cups indicates that the Jupiter direct in Sagittarius go-go-go party is over, or at least on hold. How might we use this week’s gift from the Tarot to evaluate any disappointments and losses, so they can teach us to take better care of what matters most to us?
The Earth’s Cries
From the unfolding horrors of climate change, to the train wreck of Brexit, to the departure this week of the U.S. head of Homeland Security (ordered to resign for being too soft on her policies), it seems clear that harsh times lie ahead.
Our Five of Cups figure reminds us that before we can be effective in such times, we must see and absorb the truth of things. Allowing our hearts to break provides the catalyst for action:
Our pain for the world arises out of our interexistence with all life. When we hear the sounds of the Earth crying within us, we’re unblocking, not just feedback, but also the channels of felt connectedness that join us with our world.
Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, from Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re In Without Going Crazy
Thus, there is a promise in this card: goodness and restoration await, once we own what we feel, and then resolve to let go of what has been irretrievably lost.
Be sure to take all the time you need, to come to your own sense of acceptance. Grieving rushed or buried is just as perilous to our well-being as despair or hopelessness.
The quiet figure cloaked in black portrays the wisdom of honoring what we truly are experiencing.
Across the span of our own lives, as well as from person to person, we experience our misfortunes differently. Although there may be loved ones who “have our backs,” like the two cups behind the figure, our journey in the lands of loss is essentially a solitary one.
Even the most public tragedies may strike those of us who are sensitive and receptive on a deeply personal level. This is healthy and as it should be. Our own intimate anguish, although painful, is vital to whether we truly heal. Only then, can we make any necessary changes.
The Dawn of Hope
So with this honest acknowledgment of the loneliness of grief, possibilities may whisper to us.
The Five of Cups shows that once we’ve come to the bottom of our anguish, we need only turn away.
Echoing the miracle of Spring, even though there are many places where freezing winds still blow, rebirth is at hand. This is the great truth: all is not lost.
Goodness yet survives and a new dawn will come. And perhaps more importantly, our suffering can teach us to be more open and responsive in a suffering world.
If you are going through disappointment or heartbreak, be honest about it, but do not beat yourself up, or hold onto regret. If this is happening to someone dear to you, what kind relief can you offer, when they are ready to accept it?
What wine of love still remains, waiting to be noticed?
The Five of Cups promises that healing and hope have not deserted you. While you may need to grieve, there is life still to be joyfully lived, and it points the way towards a bridge you may yet cross.
Say your goodbyes, knowing that while you do, the seeds for tomorrow’s rebirth remain.
At last, when it is time for you to turn away from sorrow, you will see that there are gifts of friendship, companionship, and perhaps even love’s great pairing, only a hair’s breadth away.
With infinite patience, they wait to welcome your return.