Turn Around and Look Again, You’re Missing Something!

A Reflection on the Five of Cups
RWS Five of Cups

Even though you have lost something, don’t become so wrapped up in your loss that you do not appreciate what you still have. If you focus on disappointment, sorrow, and regret, it will only lead to more loss …

All is not lost and good times will roll again; you will find yourself enjoying life as you once did …

Your hopes for the future are bright.

Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone, The Concise Tarot Reader

Things Fall Apart

To say I have experienced loss and disappointment over the last few years would be an understatement. I wish I could say that that I’ve handled it brilliantly, but that would be less than true. Since what I say and how I say it is an integral part of my personal power, it behooves me to be honest in both my assessment and my speaking of my experience.

I’ve suffered significant health setbacks, dealt with the loss of a parent and the disappointment of the accompanying family dynamics, endured a what I thought was a career-ending betrayal by a trusted colleague. Suffice it to say that the last two and half years have kind of sucked.

The Man in Black

The Fives in the Minor Arcana all bear some elements of conflict and turmoil. When placed in the emotional realm of the Suit of Cups the Five presents a picture of loss and hopelessness, at least on the surface.

There is a man wearing a long black cloak standing forlornly pondering the remains of the contents of three overturned cups as they run off into the ground. His head is hanging and his shoulders are slumping, a rather pathetic figure. The castle representing his hopes and dreams sits unreachable across the river. All he sees are the dregs of whatever it was he had in those cups. His life’s work and passion are draining away.

Turn around

He is so consumed by what he has lost that he fails to see what lies all around him. Behind him, two cups are still upright and full. All is not lost; there’s enough remaining to make a fresh start. And though he can see no way to reach his goal before him, there is a way. It’s not the way he had planned to go but there is a way. Off in the distance a path leads to a bridge that crosses over the river and leads right to the destination. All he has to do is lift his head, turn around, and look and he will see the situation is not as hopeless as it seems. The goal is still attainable, though the way forward may actually involve a side trip.

What Are We Missing?

Loss is part of life; everyone experiences it. The Five of Cups acknowledges this. It also acknowledges that there is some sadness and grief involved. There may also be some regret involved, especially if the loss could have been prevented by making different choices. The emotions are real and it is important to take the time to grieve and evaluate how to move on. So we grieve, we might even get angry. And then, we step back and take stock of the situation. We take a long, hard look. We might even need to retreat for a time to discern a new path forward. The pain of loss can make us afraid to take risks, but eventually we move on.

Taking Another Look

The health issues and the job loss were a double blow that did require me to retreat for a while, helped by the COVID-19 shutdowns. I learned a lot about myself during that time. The ongoing health issues are a constant source of frustration, but I’m learning to listen to my body and learning how to make better lifestyle choices, especially where food is involved. I’ve used the down time to deepen my spirituality. I’ve also picked up some hobbies (who knew I could be so crafty!?) I’ve also gained an interest in permaculture and sustainable gardening. And not being able to work has allowed me the time to develop these interests.

The betrayal by a colleague was real and it still hurts. Almost immediately after being dismissed from that position, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off me. My relationship with my boss was always a little antagonistic and I was always on the defensive. It took being away from the job to realize he had been gaslighting me for years, causing me to lose confidence in my abilities and to question every choice I made. Fortunately, that combination of abuse and betrayal did not end my career, just moved me in a new direction that I’m enjoying immensely.

The lesson of the Five of Cups is that while loss and regret are part of living, there is a way forward if we just step back, turn around, and look for it. The way ahead may lie in a vastly different direction or it may be a slight detour. Either way, it helps to remember that the trip is just as important as the destination. Who knows? The journey might be better than anything you’ve ever dreamed.

Bright blessings!

An Element-ary Way to Start the Day

Find a quiet place and take a few moments to center yourself. I find music helpful in this. You might try playing something like Song of Awen by Damh the Bard:

Turning or moving to each quarter, light a candle, and say the following:

May there be peace in the North.

May there be peace in the South.

May there be peace in the West.

May there be peace in the East.

May there be peace throughout the world.

Druid Prayer for Peace

Move or turn to the center and say the Druid’s Prayer.

Grant, O God (Goddess/Great Spirit, Holy Ones, thy protection

And in protection, strength

And in strength, understanding

And in understanding, knowledge

And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice

And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it

And in the love of justice, the love of all existences

And in that love, the love of God (Goddess, Great Spirit, Holy Ones, the Earth our Mother, and all Goodness

attributed to Iolo Morganwg

Chant the word “AWEN” slowly, drawing the word out into three syllables: AH-OH-EN.

Facing East –

Hail to you, Spirits of Air, Spirits of the East!

Be with me, guide, bless, and protect me this day.

I ask for you gifts of clarity, insight, and vision.

Help me to walk in wisdom.

Pause briefly, feeling the breeze moving around and through you. Welcome the power of air.

Facing South –

Hail to you, Spirits of Fire, Spirits of the South!

Be with me, guide, bless, and protect me this day.

Fuel my passion, ignite my creativity.

Help me to walk in courage.

Pause briefly, feeling the heat of the fire as it burns. Welcome the power of fire.

Facing West –

Hail to you, Spirits of Water, Spirits of the West!

Be with me, guide, bless, and protect me this day.

Wash over me with healing, let compassion flow through me.

Help me to walk in love.

Pause briefly, feeling the cool water wash over, around, and through you. Welcome the power of water.

Facing North –

Hail to you, Spirits of Earth, Spirits of the Earth!

Be with me, guide, bless, and protect me this day.

Grow in me health, prosperity, stability, and firmness of purpose.

Help me to walk in strength.

Pause briefly, feeling the solidity, vitality, and strength of the earth beneath you. Welcome the power of Earth.

The following two prayers are addressed to Cernunnos and Brighid. Please feel free to use other prayers here, or none.

Facing East, or towards an image of Cernunnos.

Hail to you, Cernunnos, Lord, sitter in the doorway,

god of equilibrium, terrible, merciful,

you who hold the opposites apart,

you in whom all opposites unite,

my prayer goes to you to open the passage,

to clear the threshold,

to make the way clear.

Ceisiwr Serith, A Book of Pagan Prayer

Pause briefly, listening for anything the deity wishes to communicate to you. Welcome their presence.

Facing an image of Brighid

Hail to you, Brighid, Goddess of Fire,

three-fold queen who inspires poets, artists, and healers,

may your fire be the flame on my hearth,

may your fire be the flame in my heart.

adapted from prayers in A Book of Pagan Prayer by Ceisiwr Serith

Pause briefly, listening for anything the deity wishes to communicate to you. Welcome their presence.

So may it be

If you like, take some time to read, meditate, take an omen, etc.

When ready, conclude with the Druid Vow and some AWENS.

We swear by peace and love to stand

Heart to heart, and hand in hand;

Mark! O Spirit, and hear us now,

Confirming this, our sacred vow.

Chant the word “AWEN” slowly, drawing the word out into three syllables: AH-OH-EN.

Take your leave by thanking the powers you have invoked for their gifts and their presence, and extinguish any candles (or fires) you have lit. As you extinguish the candles say:

As I extinguish these lights, may their flame burn brightly within me, and may I carry what I have gained with me through the day.

So may it be!

Ring a bell or chime, pause briefly, then exit the space.