The Rider-Waite-Smith card is true to the nature of these tarot water cards as a mundane divination meaning. The energy of this card is shown as very passive as Smith's figure seems almost indifferent to the offered cup. The meaning of the Rider-Waite-Smith card is blended pleasure and success, receiving pleasure but mixed with anxiety and some slight discomfort.The Thoth 4 of Cups-Luxury, refers to the Sephira Chesed in the Pythagorean suit of water. Here the Pure Water of the Supernal Triangle has passed through the Abyss to Chesed (Mercy) and although ordered, balanced, or stabilized, it has lost the purity of its conception. You might say, that instead of pure energy in motion, it is now an emotional idea held in conceptional confinement. The meaning of the 4's is perfection, completion, and making a matter fixed and settled.
In the Thoth 4 of Cups-luxury,
the Moon is in her own house in Cancer where one would think it was well placed; However, Cancer is so placed that this implies a certain weakness, an abandonment to desire.
The calm Sea of the 3 of cups is still present in the 4, but slightly ruffled, implying a disturbance is building, making the 4 Cups standing upon this sea of the unconsciousness less stable.
Hence, the Spirit of the Lotus, the Dryad, has gathered strength, growing multiple stems, supporting one lotus blossom, spewing forth water. The 4 stems, are the number of manifestation of the Dryad, who is also secretly preparing catastrophe by emphasizing individuality.
By understanding that the number 4 is a "awkward" number; alone among the natural numbers, as it is impossible to construct a "Magic Square" of four cells, one doesn't expect this luxury to last for long. Therefore, since 4 being a dead stop number, a different idea of order is necessary to carry on the series. Hence, it is not long for the 5's. Thus, for now everything is seemingly luxurious in stability, but the changing of the Moon, its waxing and waning, is such that this won't last.
Water is conscious or willed e-motion (Energy in Motion) and for energy to keep moving, the damning effort of the number 4, will fail. Change is the formula for motion (Change=Stability). 4 is the number of restriction, as in "4 walls" etc, and as a cage, it shows a certain amount of stability, until the energy contained slowly breaks down the walls of confinement. We all know the weakness of putrefaction in stable water as it becomes a still swamp of decomposition for like emotions, water must keep moving to stay pure.
When the 4 of Cups card is thrown during a divination, the querent will be or is experiencing:
- Pleasure, but with some slight discomfort and anxieties.
- Experiencing a blending of pleasure and success but approaching their end. The querent is experiencing a stationary period in happiness which may or may not continue as long as desired.
- It is too passive a symbol to represent complete happiness and some drawbacks to pleasure are implied.
- Both acquisition and contention in this card. For it is not wrong to enjoy the luxury of your labors, but labor will soon have to begin again or you will lose it.
- Warns us not to get lost in desire.
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