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The Six of Cups in Tarot and How to Read It

Andrea has a background in Myers-Briggs and Western astrology. She mostly writes about relationships.

The Six of Cups is about reconnecting with your past. You're trying to remember the good parts of your childhood. You may also be reconnecting with old friends and siblings.

The Six of Cups is about reconnecting with your past. You're trying to remember the good parts of your childhood. You may also be reconnecting with old friends and siblings.

Six of Cups in Tarot

The number six has a positive meaning in Tarot. It is usually associated with victory, accomplishment, and moving toward greener pastures. More specifically, the Six of Cups is a lovely card to receive. It's about innocence, nostalgia, and golden memories. If this card presents itself for you, you might have rose-colored glasses on. Perhaps you're feeling hopeful and blessed with optimism.

In the reversed position, this card serves as a warning. It suggests that you are delving into nostalgia too much. Perhaps you're stuck in the past or are being naive and unrealistic. This spells trouble because you're not putting enough thought into the present or your future.

My suggestion: when you receive this card, you should reflect on your positive memories. Think about what made you happy as a child. Stop thinking so much about your worst childhood trauma. Acknowledge bad memories, say you're sorry, forgive yourself, express gratitude, and release those suckers.

This card is all about young connections. It's about children, siblings, and first friends. Children hold onto love and express themselves freely. They're wild cards. Adults manage their emotions, and sometimes, they overly manage their emotions. This card encourages you to be imaginative, express what you love, and boldly go toward your interests.

Card Description

The six cups on this card are filled with white, five-pointed flowers. There is a boy smelling a flower, which he hands to a younger girl.

In the background, a figure walks away from the children. There is a house and a garden. The card is mostly yellow, hinting at how we tend to glorify our childhood memories. We see our childhood as our golden era.

This card gets an extra boost in energy if paired with the Sun.

The Six of Cups is about positive experiences. It's about harmony, togetherness, and cooperation. It's what you desire for the world.

The Six of Cups is about positive experiences. It's about harmony, togetherness, and cooperation. It's what you desire for the world.

Card Alignments

Upright PositionReversed Position

Revisiting the past; nostalgia

Stuck in the past

Innocence; youthfulness






Hope; optimism



Struggling to connect with others


Fuzzy mind

Water Element

The Suit of Cups is about the element of water, which represents emotions, social connections, relationships, and intuition. Water deals with matters of the heart and looks at your support system and available resources.

While the earth element looks at tangible or physical resources, the water element deals with immaterial resources. The water sign teaches us how to mature our emotions and how to cultivate charisma.

In Western astrology, the three signs based on water are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. All three of these signs are relationship oriented. They seek out romantic connections and desire to merge with another. They can be moody, spontaneous, flirtatious, charming, and sacrificial.

Water is one of the easier elements to understand. We can identify our emotions and know when we're sad, angry, happy, frustrated, or worried. Emotional maturity is the goal of the Suit of Cups. The suit has many lessons on how to better handle your day-to-day relationships. It also gives hints on how to mature and become a master of your emotions.

Specifically, the Six of Cups is about your relationship with your inner child and also carries messages about old friendships and siblings. The card also comes up for adults with children.

This is an optimistic card. You want to be connected with others and also desire unity within yourself.

This is an optimistic card. You want to be connected with others and also desire unity within yourself.

Upright Six of Cups

The children on the card represent childhood memories. The girl and boy are playing together without worldly concerns bogging them down. They play in harmony.

The older man walks away into the horizon, which suggests that you should let go of adult worries. Turn your focus to enjoying the moment and allowing yourself to be free again. We often trouble ourselves with unnecessary burdens and get caught up in material things. This card suggests that you need to return to your spirit.

The children are standing in the garden of a large home. They're safe, comfortable, and relaxed. This is a reminder that reflecting on the happy memories of your youth will support you. The card suggests that you may be revisiting memories or have gone to your childhood home. Many of us have boxes with mementos from our past. It's okay to browse through these things. Take a trip down memory lane and try to remember how the choices of your past brought you to today.

This card could represent a high school reunion or something to that effect. You might have bumped into your high school sweetheart or a past lover. These connections can bring up a sense of joy. If so, remember that it is good to reminisce about the fun you had in the past. Your old friend might be someone you want to bring into the foreground of your life.

A Reminder to Get in Touch With Your Intuition

The Six of Cups is a positive card. It indicates an increased level of harmony with your friends and cooperation in your relationships. You are ready to give and receive without expectation. The best news: you've moved on from the challenges of the Five of Cups.

This card is a reminder that you need your inner child to guide you. It can get buried by work, bills, household projects, and the like. While you still need to make these adult demands a priority, don't forget to sing, play, laugh, dance, and get colorful. You weren't born to be a dreary person. You're meant to glow, have fun, and be a positive force for this world.

The Six of Cups begs the question: are you in tune with your inner child? It's a gentle reminder that it is time to take a deep look at yourself. If you are struggling with negative self-talk, then you likely are out of tune. The card invites you to listen to your mind and try to get rid of negative thought patterns. When you can better hear your inner child, you are likely to be more creative, excited for life, and ready to embrace friendships.

If the upright Six of Cups shows up in your reading, I would invite you to try and allow yourself to be free—free to think, feel, move, and act. When you're comfortable with yourself, you'll be in better tune with your intuition and better able to make decisions for yourself.

Children and the Six of Cups

The Six of Cups may refer to your current or future children. It can suggest that you will have multiple children and that they will play well together. You will spend more time with your kids, and they'll help you to laugh and learn.

Children make for great teachers because they're sensitive to your needs. They're not ruined by work and dishonest people and have sweeter intentions. They set good examples of how to stay present, be curious, and be open-minded.

When you're a child, you go toward your interests and your creativity knows no bounds. You make playtime mandatory. As an adult, you need to remember to include the lessons of your youth in your daily life.

When you're a child, you go toward your interests and your creativity knows no bounds. You make playtime mandatory. As an adult, you need to remember to include the lessons of your youth in your daily life.

Reversed Six of Cups

The reversed Six of Cups is a cautionary card and suggests that you might be struggling with staying present. Perhaps you're stuck in the past, going over your memories again and again, or feeling trapped by your feelings.

The big question is: why are you rejecting the present? You likely aren't in tune with your inner child if this card is in the reversed position. You may be in a situation that doesn't feel like it has a connection to you. This could mean you're in a job that's ill-suited for you. Or maybe you don't feel like you connect well with others, so you're thinking about past relationships where things had a better flow.

The kind of nostalgia you're going through could be negative or positive, but by reflecting on the past so much, you are not participating in reality. You're missing out on opportunities and likely not giving your best to others who are currently in your life. This could be really bad. For example, you might be daydreaming about a past lover when you're already married to someone and have kids. Daydreaming like this isn't great for you or your loved ones.

It's okay to indulge in a little reminiscing, but you don't want it to become an addiction. If you're having trouble getting out of your head, counter it with some movement. Go for a long walk, add in more exercise, go tour a museum, or play a game of basketball. Movement has the ability to ground you in the present.

An Invitation to Forgive Yourself and Others

The reversed Six of Cups indicates you need to make peace with your past. You're holding onto something and refusing to process it, let it go, and let other things serve you. You may have junk around your house that's invasive. You don't need to hold onto every little thing that has a memory attached to it.

If this card comes up reversed, try to focus on learning from your mistakes, forgiving yourself, and keeping your chin up. You don't want to slide back to the Five of Cups. Keep moving away from that card. Try to stop fretting over regrets and recognize that we all make mistakes. We are all human and imperfection is reality.

Take time to acknowledge your past. Acknowledge that you're evolving and that your demands and needs have changed. You might not fit into your favorite skinny jeans anymore, and that's okay. Don't be nostalgic over a pair of pants. Your jeans don't define you and recognizing that bodies change is a means of granting yourself some freedom.

A Sign of Too Much Mediocrity

You might be rejecting reality and feeling stuck in the past because you're finding things repetitive, boring, and stale. If so, you need to use your inner child to get you excited again. Add spice to your daily routine. For example, try walking a different route, try new foods, or do something unpredictable. You may actually find security in being unpredictable because then people can't figure out your patterns.

If you seriously can't find time to be playful, then schedule time for it. Pull out your calendar and make time. Honestly, though, if you can't even find a little bit of time in your day to play and you have to schedule it, perhaps this is a sign that you are feeling unbalanced in your life. If the reversed Six of Cups presents itself in your reading, it may be a signal that playfulness is mandatory for you right now—not an optional side quest.

A Warning Against Bad Old Sweethearts

The reversed Six of Cups could also mean you're revisiting someone that others think is a bad match for you. You may have called up an old flame and are perhaps meeting with this person in secret because you don't want your friends and family to judge you.

If this is the case, consider the possibility that you are making decisions based purely on your feelings and may not be taking into consideration how things could turn badly for you. People you dated in the past are often in the past for a reason. The only way an old flame could be a good match later on in life is if that person, and you, have significantly changed.

It can be so tempting to call an ex and try to rekindle an old flame. You might find the forbidden nature of it inviting. If you are feeling this way, I would invite you to stop, evaluate, and lean on your close friends. Don't get involved with someone who is likely to make you relive the same nightmare(s).

If you've got a bad case of feelings for an old flame, consider the adult in the Six of Cups card—he's leaving the picture. I encourage you to try and take the card's suggestion that being an adult in this situation might mean separating yourself from your old feelings. The memories you have been dwelling on are likely tinted by the rose-colored glasses of memory. You could be highlighting the good parts and forgetting the bad parts. If you continue to dwell on your past flame, you run the risk of regressing rather than moving forward in your life. Keep it up and you'll be back at the Five of Cups.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2021 Andrea Lawrence