Five – Disappointment

Five of Cups – Disappointment

The synonyms of disappointment are failure, defeat, frustration.

The Five of Cups shows that Four of Cups in the cold light of day; the emotional excitement or expectations of the Two and Three, may not have been as good as you thought. The Five of Cups shows that your own emotional fulfilment has to come from within – your partner can not provide you with all that happiness and emotional support that you expected. You may feel some emptiness or loneliness even during those times of happiness, but you suppressed or ignored them.

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Image of Five of Cups - Rider-Waite
Five of Cups – Rider-Waite

A dark, cloaked figure, looking sideways at three prone cups two others stand upright behind him; a bridge is in the background, leading to a small keep or holding.

It is a card of loss, but something remains over; three have been taken, but two are left; it is a card of inheritance, patrimony, transmission, but not corresponding to expectations; with some interpreters it is a card of marriage, but not without bitterness or frustration.

Additional Meanings: Generally favourable; a happy marriage; also patrimony, legacies, gifts, success in enterprise.


News, alliances, affinity, consanguinity, ancestry, return, false projects.

Book of Thoth – Disappointment

Image of Five of Cups minor tarot card - Disappointment, in Book of Thoth
Five of Cups – Disappointment

Disappointment, as is only natural, because Fire delights in superabundant energy, whereas the water of Pleasure is naturally placid, and any disturbance of ease can only be regarded as misfortune.

More information

Golden Dawn – Lord of Loss in Pleasure

Trouble, worry, loss, possible onset of disease. (Recourse to or ability to act as a Healer).

Additional Meanings: Return of some relative who has not been seen for long.


Union, Junction, Marriage, Inheritance.


Arrival, Return, News, Surprise, False projects.

Image of Etteilla Five of Cups
Etteilla Five of Cups


Legacy, Succession, Bequest, Gift, Donation, Dowry, Patrimony, Handing Down, Will. Tradition, Decision, Conspiracy.


Consanguinity, Blood, Family, Forbears, Ancestors, Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, Uncle, Aunt, Cousin. Filiation, Extraction, Race, Lineage, Alliance. Affinity, Contact, Relationship, Connections.


Inheritance, legacy, succession, gift, testament, transmission, tradition; all of them “not corresponding to expectations; with some it is a card of marriage, but not without bitterness or frustration.” (W.) Reversed: Family, forefathers, ancestry. Liaison, alliance, affinity, acquaintance, consanguinity. Race. “It is a card of loss.” (W.)
The Water coming on the First house, the ascendant, and water having to do with the family, we may conclude, that family matters will come naturally to the querent in this case, just as they were swept from him or evaded by him in the preceeding one. Still we cannot see, that the card should denote the members of the family in particular, as mentioned by P. and others. Now ‘family-matters’ may include inheritance as well as marriage, but so many other things may also be included that it is difficult to enumerate them, and none of them is indicated particularly. So we do not think it wise to say anything more definitely about this. The water of the feelings coming on the ascendant indicates sensitiveness and emotion, which may bring sorrow A or pleasure, but generally mixed experiences and not without care. There may be material losses in consequence.
Family-matters, care to be taken of them, sorrow or pleasure, emotion, material difficulties; there may be some advantage and some loss at the same time. News is certain to arrive. Subject to influences from the surroundings and apt to react too quickly thereon.

Paul Foster-Case  – Defeated desire

A serpent rises in the vesica over the cups. It is the ancient symbol of the sign Scorpio, to which this card specifically refers. Yet it is also the serpent-power which brings illumination; so there is a flame of light over its head.

Time period

First decanate of sign Scorpio, October 23rd to November 1st, ruled by Mars.


No meaning of this card is really good, but they are worse if Ill-dignified. Loss in pleasure; vain regret; disappointment, sorrow and loss in those things which have been much desired; treachery, deceit; unexpected troubles and anxieties; disappointment in love, broken engagement, broken friendship.

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Five of Cups Disappointment tarot meanings
The Five of Cups shows that your own emotional fulfilment has to come from within - your partner can not provide you with happiness and emotional support.

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