Nostalgia ain't what is used to be. --Old Smart Ass saying.
Or maybe it was something I came up with...feels like I heard it somewhere before, and I am missing those days. We are back in the Tarot saddle this week with the Six of Cups. By all rights, it is a cute, endearing card for most people. And it is for Tarot readers too. To refresh your memory on Cups and Sixes as groups. Cups deal with emotions. They are the water element of the Tarot, and often cover topics around how we feel, emote, relate to other people. The Sixes are about balance, as all even cards are to one extent or the other, but the sixes are about restoring balancing after upheaval.
What we see in the Six of Cups is two children, one male and one female, standing in what looks like a village square. He has six cups each filled with flowers and he is handing one to a little girl. The interpretations of this card are so wildly varied that I often get whiplash reading them, so let's just begin with the clear cut interpretation, then delve a little deeper. When we talk about restoring balance after an upheaval, often this card comes to represent returning to a place of childlike enthusiasm after facing hard times. At work, we may relate to this experience of being bogged down with daily busy work, chores, responsibilities, and forgetting our excitement at being a teacher, or lawyer, for example, with all the ideals we once had going into our chosen profession. This card reminds us or validates for us, that we are remembering our ideals, the place we once held sacred for us.
Childhood's harmony, puppy love and happiness are all here in spades. I often pull this card in questions about marriage when couples are re-falling in love, or rediscovering that part of their partner that made them fall deeply in love to begin with. It can come on special days like anniversaries or birthdays. Love and family are strong in this card, so I often go there with general readings, than work or hobbies. This can also be about returning to the home or family, or country of origin. Sometimes when we return home to care for an elderly or ailing parent, or another sibling. So much of this card is about finding that joy of childhood again, and it is often a joyous, positive card to get.
HOWEVER, some Tarot readers see something completely different in the Six of Cups. Beth Owl's Daughter points out the seemingly off kilter perspective of this card. The children seem like tiny adults, and the cups are larger in proportion to the surroundings and children than other cups. So, what to make of that? For me, I think it is so perceptive and interesting this take. Because nostalgia and memory are such fickle friends. They remember things larger, more exaggerated, better even. The Good Old Days are often that good when we really break it down, but they are part of the larger greener grass syndrome some of us face. Particularly watery signs get stuck in a place that romanticizes the past. There is no mistake that this Six harkens to the Major arcana Six of the Lovers. Is this a little version of the Lovers? Or is it a perversion of the Lovers? Remembering a happy time that was just a wee bit off, like a dream, or a fantasy of happy days.
All this is also predicated on the assumption that you had a happy past. Many people have traumatic childhoods filled with scenes of flower giving and perfect Sunday school outfits hiding bruises and fighting. The Six of Cups is mysterious indeed, and we have to be curious when we pull this for a client. What of your childhood? Was it distorted? Was there a facade of normalcy, but something sinister underneath? What about the early days of your relationship? Perhaps you had foreshadowing of current issues.
Reversed, this card asks you to let go of the past and the romanticization of the early days. It can indicate a rigidity in one's beliefs and an unwillingness to move forward. Also, some of the latter points I brought up often arise in the reversed presentation of this card.
Let me know what you think in the comments. I'm excited to be readying for my Introduction to Tarot class this evening at Alta View Wellness Center in Harrisburg. We have room for more, so call to get in at 717-221-0133.