Seven of Cups
Function: Emotions, love, spirituality, imagination
The Seven of Cups is a mysterious card. A young person is taken by surprise by the appearance of a cloud bearing seven cups, each with a different offering. Right now, the person doesn’t seem to do anything; they’re in the throes of the initial shock of having these choices or possibilities. It’s not clear if they’ll choose one, or any of them.
These seven choices symbolize possible ambitions or life trajectories. There is dedication to love and a partner, symbolized by the female head, if he should find one. The middle, there is an illuminated person, with their face covered, representing spiritual enlightenment and transcendence. To the right of that is a cup with a golden snake, representing knowledge and power over people, and sex appeal. Below that is a cup with a dragon, symbolizing the power of intelligence and book learning. To the left of that is a cup with a laurel wreath, symbolizing victory and the esteem of others. There is a skull glowing on the cup, symbolizing that this glory often comes after death. To the left of that is a cup full of gold and jewels, symbolizing wealth and abundance. To the left of that is a cup with a tower, symbolizing stability, permanence, and political power.
Some of these choices are not so clear. The lover is transparent, meaning that the young person hasn’t found someone to love yet. The snake has venom and doesn’t appear willing to stay in its place, in the cup. The dragon looks poised to attack the young man, not too unlike the cutthroat world of academia. The glory and esteem of the world often only comes after death, meaning one often lives ignored or even derided by the world. The riches are so heavy it would take two hands to hold it, making room for nothing else. The Tower could fall over and out of the cup. No one really knows what happens when one achieves enlightenment. So, these aren’t gifts freely given so much as they are gambles and possibilities if one chooses a path, and these choices all come with drawbacks.
The Seven of Cups is about being spoiled for choice, but also about not fully knowing the consequences of those choices and what they actually entail. It’s also about wishing for things but not actually knowing how to get them or what it means to have them.
When the Seven of Cups is Reversed:
When the Seven of Cups is reversed, the querent is caught up in the fantasy of having choices, whether or not they actually have them or intend to follow through with their dreams. The querent lives in a fantasy world where they think they have more at their disposal than they really do, or more talent, or more skills than they actually do.
This card reversed can also mean that the querent is chasing a goal that won’t actually make them happy, to please others. They may have no idea what they actually want to do.
In a three-card reading, this card means…
Past: In the past, the querent was spoiled for choices but didn’t have a realistic idea of which choice to make, that has brought them to the present time.
Present: Currently, the querent is trying to decide between many life paths, none of which they really understand well.
Future: In the future, the querent will face many choices as to what to do with their life, unsure of which one to take.