The Four of Cups
From the Starseed Tarot, by Patricia Cori
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood
In the above image sea and sky are barely distinguishable as they flow and merge together. Perched on a rock, the only solid ground in sight, a woman sits pensively. The three cups behind her, representing emotions already experienced, as well as the cup being offered by the dolphin, representing new situations and emotions not yet experienced, are ignored. Hands pressed to her heart she is taking the luxury of being in the moment, to let the waters rise and fall around and within her. Soon the incoming tide will force her to take refuge on the shore but, for now, she is free to just feel and be one with the elements around her.
The Fours of the Tarot are ruled by the Emperor who calls us to look at form and structure. The Cups are about our emotional world. To define form for our emotional body is very tricky. We have to consider our awareness, consciousness, what is hidden in the great depths of our subconsciousness, all the memories, hurts, loves, and fears we carry with us. We are also connected to the vast collective consciousness. There really is no way to make a form for all of that - it would be like trying to define the form of the ocean or to contain it in some giant bowl.
We cannot control our emotions or put them in a neat little box but we can learn to recognize and honor them. This is where the Four/Emperor energy comes in handy. We can use structure to create time and space to just sit and be with how we feel, to honor the pain or the frustration, the joy or the elation. We know water takes the form of what is is put into, and that it will find the path of least resistance. Given time and the right conditions it can permeate anything. Same with our feelings. If we give ourselves a loving opportunity to feel and process we can learn to recognize how our emotional body works - when it is healthy, when it is fragile and needs extra care.
This beautiful card reminds us to take a time out and not feel pressured to take on more that we can process at this time. Rather, as the waters swirl around us, the restricted emotional container of our feelings can then expand, flow away, and allow a natural ebb and flow to move through us. The ocean, constantly in a state of change yet always appearing the same, is held within its shorelines. How does it know where to stop? How is that proverbial line in the sand drawn so that the ocean stops just there?
Like the ocean we are constantly experiencing flux and change. Not unlike oceanic shorelines, we contain our emotional world with boundaries. We learn to honor how we feel and say “no” or “yes” or “I don’t know”. We can say nothing at all and reside in silence and stillness. We can be mindful of overindulgence, to be able to recognize when we have taken on too much and take time to withdraw and process. Are you carrying an emotional load for someone else? Is that serving you or the other person? Like the movement of the tides, our emotions will ebb and surge revealing different aspects of ourselves like exposed tide pools or force us to retreat to higher ground for refuge.
Are other people or even your own judgmental voice saying you are taking “too long” to “get over” a hurt or trauma? Honor your process and take as much time as you need. In that great ocean of emotion we can hide our feelings in deep underwater caves but sooner or later they come to the surface. As part of the great collective consciousness we are living in one big emotional soup. We feel things that are undefined and hard to explain because they are not always our own. It is important to know when to embrace the great ocean of emotions and accept love, joy, or beauty that we may have closed off to before.
We can sink or swim and even learn to surf the waves. The Four of Cups offers us a much needed time out to re-establish our boundaries so we can safely identify that watery realm of our emotions.
Embrace the process.
....Kathryn Ravenwood 1-28-2020