6 of Cups

Alt names: Pleasure, Happiness
Keywords: Charity, sharing, sacrifice, cooperation, fairness
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Range of meanings

Light: Donating your time and talents to others. Taking satisfaction in knowing how your efforts will aid others. Creating a “win-win” scenario. Giving even when you know repayment is not possible. Being motivated to do a good deed.

Shadow: Linking your sense of self-worth to the appraisals of others. Striving to appear more needy than you really are. Taking undeserved or unmerited charity. Bragging about your charitable efforts. Profiteering in times of distress. Refusing to share a burden.

Questions to ask

  1. How might expectations of payment (or repayment) be shaping your own situation?
  2. Does your question hinge on a scarcity mentality or an abundance mentality?
  3. What gifts do I possess? How freely do I give them?
  4. How can I practice unconditional giving?
  5. How would things change if I became a more charitable person?


Personal Growth: When you can give something without expecting anything in return, you’ve reached an important milestone. Accelerate your quest for maturity; practice giving with no thought of what’s in it for you.

Work: Most people focus on profit; what might happen if you focused on giving instead? A gift given with strings attached deserves a skeptical response. When charitable gestures are revealed (or perceived) as bribes, don’t expect good results.

Relationships: We like to say relationships involve give and take; this card invites you to focus on giving more than receiving. Watch for opportunities to take on chores that neither you nor your friends (or partners) enjoy. Surprise a loved one with an unexpected, unmerited gift.

Spirituality: Few things energize the weary spirit like service. Volunteer. Lend a helping hand to someone in need. Give of your time, your money, and your talents—all three. In helping others, you help yourself.

Fortune-Telling: A stingy spirit is strangling your enjoyment of life. Loosen up and think of others for once, why don’t you?


Astrological: Scorpio

Planet: Sun

Fool's Journey: Defying conventional wisdom, the main character lends his or her support to a hopeless cause.

The Number 6: The Adjustment: cooperation, collaboration, interaction.

Cups: One of the 4 suits of the tarot. Also sometimes called vessels, or chalices. Represents intuition, spirituality, affection, and motivation. As a suit marker, Cups suggest receptivity: they are vessels, waiting to be filled. Cups have long been associated with divination (remember the uproar caused when Benjamin stole King Joseph’s cup?) and, by extension, intuition.

Flowers in Cups: Many versions of the 6 of Cups depict chalices overflowing with blossoms: a symbol of inexhaustible bounty. A figure gives a bouquet to another, but it's ambiguous whether this is a transaction or a gift.

Content generously licensed from Mark McElroy via TarotTools.com.