Eight of Cups
In the Eight of Cups, we see a person who is walking away. The interesting part, is that there isn't anything inherently "wrong" in the situation he or she is walking away from. If this card represents you, it may be time for you to do the same.
In the upright, generally a person knows that it is time to leave a situation, and does so willingly. This is not to say that you really WANT to walk away, but that you recognize the need to, and are able to do so. Notice the eight Cups in the foreground of the card. They contain all of the things in your current situation that you already have. These cups contain all of the things you have acquired, all of the things one has accomplished. Yet there is room for another. There is a space. That is the secret of the true understanding of this card. The core meaning. In that space, lies what you are looking for. But where to find it?
This card is of a journey, and many times it can be a journey of self-discovery, such as the one sought by the Hermit, though it can play out in the reality of your everyday life. In the current situation, you no longer feel the joy and happiness you once felt. Now it is a feeling of discontent. Something is missing. This is what you are pursuing. This is a card of withdrawal from a situation or person. You are choosing to walk away BEFORE it all falls apart. That is the test of this card.
As a number eight card, it is associated with the Strength card of the Major Arcana, and in the suit of Cups, it is emotional strength. You will need this now, and in the upright, you generally have it. There is a sense of discontentment, and the choice to walk away is usually not a very difficult one, emotionally. Generally you are not going back and forth over the decision. If anything, there can be a sense of disappointment over what was, yet will not continue to be. But there is usually acceptance. This card furthers the work of the inner search one did in the Seven of Cups, and sometimes even takes the journeyer on a spiritual quest. You are to look for what is missing.
In a relationship, this can indicate leaving the relationship when you feel you are no longer growing and learning together in it. While things may be ok, ok is not what you are looking for. We are not meant to merely survive, but to THRIVE. In this card, you are willing to walk away from a perfectly decent, albeit ho-hum situation, in search of something amazing. When you free up space in your life, you open up space for something new and better to enter.
In a material sense this could be about leaving a high-paying but soul sucking job. This could be about walking away from the busy corporate life to spend more time with those you love. Turning your back on all of your worldly pursuits and riches to spend more time finding yourself. There is nothing forcing you out of your current situation. Only your own desire to reach greater heights, just as the man in the picture is ascending to higher ground, you are seeking to do the same. You have outgrown your current situation, but chances are, you already know this.
Eight of Cups Reversed
Like many other cards, in the Eight of Cups reversed, we have an imbalance, and you could be in one of two positions. In the reversal, you are either not leaving a situation in which you should, or you are walking away from something prematurely.
The Eight of Cups is a card of emotional strength. When it is reversed, you are lacking in this area and need to consider what you can do to cultivate more of this in your life. Going back to the upright Seven can provide clues. It can help you to see what it is you are really searching for in your life, what needs you have to be met, and if your current situation offers ways to meet them.
The first way this card manifests is by telling you that it is not yet time to leave a situation. Many times when this card appears, things are not going well, and you question why you are here, and believe it may be time to leave. But this card cautions you to take a closer look before you walk away. Again, as a card of emotional strength, when that is deficient, it can lead us into fear-based behaviors. Is it really time to walk away? Are you certain that the situation or the person has nothing left to offer you?
Sometimes when this card is reversed, we are upset by things that we don't know how to fix or do not think can be fixed. So we think it must be time to walk away. And that will end the pain. Not so fast! Life has a way of re-presenting the lessons we most need to learn in this lifetime over and over again until we get it right. Many times, when a situation is difficult or challenging, there is a lesson in it for us. If we are bravely able to put our fear aside and see the situation, and our part in it, clearly, we may also be able to see the lesson in it, and see that it IS worthwhile, that the situation still holds value. It is not time to walk away.
Conversely, the reversed eight can indicate the other extreme, that it IS indeed time to walk away, yet you are not doing so. Unlike the upright eight where the person sees that it is time to move on, and does so willingly, in the reversed card, that is not the case. The person may or may not see that it is time to move on, and is having difficulty doing so. In this case, the situation has nothing left to offer, but you are unable to let go of it. Why?
Again, this is where the emotional strength and fear based-behaviors meet head to head. It can be frightening to let go, to move on, to do something different. We may also be strongly attached to the person or situation, even though they are no longer serving our highest good. For example, a relationship that once brought us a lot of love and joy, has degraded into something that only brings us unhappiness. We know this, and we know this is NOT the relationship we want to be in, but we have a hard time giving up what used to be and the idea of what it possibly COULD be. This is where the emotional strength is required. It is a challenge, but again, when we remove what no longer serves us, we make room in our lives for that which does.