Astrologically, this card is Saturn in Pisces, which brings about a sense of disinterest with the material condition.
Heavy Saturn in the Water sign Pisces, causes a certain introspection of subtle problems turning one's focus away from the material condition; a subtle depression of a sort and a neglect of physical presence, i.e. a discontent.
The mundane divination meaning of this card is the abandoned success, or decline of interest in anything.
Emotional stagnation is a sense of being overly tired, drained, depleted and exhausted. Hence, on the Thoth Tarot 8 of Cups, the two central golden cups are shown flowing emotionally downward into our lower emotional natures. What we once thought of as previously emotionally rewarding ( Open lotus flowers) is no longer satisfying our higher sense of being; the three top cups represent our higher sense of I AM ME. It could be said that the trinity of empty cups represents our lower sense of I dislike me. Therefore, the 8 implies It is time to reevaluate and set different emotional goals.
As Spirit, each of us, is energy-in-motion; as Spirit and Soul we activate the animation of our bodies through breath. This card says that the Spirit-Soul is not gleeful in its performance as a body. In fact, it is wondering if it is all worth the trouble. The breathing tends to be shallow, when one is in this mental state. This is what many call "self-absorbed" behavior, were we concentrate on failure to succeed or our "inner pain", rather than instigate a new motion in our life. This is easily changed just by, taking deep solar plexus expanding breaths and taking time to smell the Roses and go about "designing a new garden plot". So take heart, for in 8 days, or 8 weeks , you will feel a renewal of cascading energy that launches a new direction in your life!
There is a sound reasoning in calling the Thoth 8 of Cups Indolence. For the word indolence, means entropy, laziness and sloth, which is brought on by the heavy influence of Saturn in Pisces; where the weight of time weighs down one's heart. The Thoth Deck Eight of Cups represents indolence in every symbol it's art consists of. The number 8 is associated with Hod (splendor) on the Tree of Life and shows the influence of Mercury which would seem all well and good until we realize that Saturn is in Pisces. Pisces is calm but stagnant water/Emotion; and the heavy lead influence of Saturn poisons it completely. Thus the symbolism of dead water is everywhere on this card. Water, being represented as emotions in the cups, shows dead- stagnant emotional issues.
The bright side is: that all this isn't permanent and that once we acknowledge that we are being miserable because it is a type of martyr's complex--that makes us feel special in a negative way, we can begin the process of emotional recovery. Being able to let things end, is a skill that must be practiced like any other.
I often find myself saying to that emotional child within who fears abandonment,"Get over yourself and get on with you, impeccability is what we do". There are Three States of Conscious running this individual show we call " our Life"; The Original "I" that began our Soul, the "Am" that began our Force, and the "Me" who is our Form. Three of us, a ternary being, who talks to itself all the time. Yes, we Three communicate to each other, and when the Me feels down and out in its survival-mind-world, the Infinitely Greater Worlds of I AM can come to our rescue. It's not only "Okay to be Me", it is Okay to be Three in balanced union, all focused on the goal of expanding and liberating the Alive from their own short- sighted-self- absorbed realities. By listening to the silence behind the screaming emotion of the frightened child. we can hear our Guardian Angel (our own individual God identity--I AM.) say to us," It's okay, I haven't abandoned you, you're still breathing."
In the Thoth 8 of Cups-Indolence, there is only the end of the 7 of Cups-Debauch. The gluttony of the 7 has succumbed to the putrefaction of the 8.
Hod is the 8th Sephira ,and means Splendor; being in the Suit of Water and with the influence of Mercury (splendor), we would expect a "shimmering, dancing Water"; However, we have to understand the influence of Saturn in Pisces which rules this card. Pisces, is calm but stagnant water and Saturn completely deadens it, as if lead was added to the pool.
There is no sea, only pools and the fluorescence of putrefaction ( as shown in the 7), is long gone into complete stagnation. To drink this water is to die today and have a faux life of only "yesterdays".
On the Thoth Card, the completion of the stagnation is shown in the drooping lotus bosoms who lack both Sun (Bright Mind) and rain ( rain would be applying "new emotions") and the soil is poison to them (a sickly foundation), growing only two sickly-blooms. The cups (vessels of thought that the emotions fill) are old and broken. The three row arrangement of the cups (Three states of Manifested Mind), shows only the slow filling from two central cups, that spill into the lower cups (lowest emotions). The back ground of the card shows only "the bad lands" of a poisoned landscape.
This seeming over stressing of Indolent behavior, a kind of emotional "hang over", is shown on the Barbara Walker Tarot, as overturned cups flowing back into a "Willow pool", while a satyr hangs its head in misery, as Helice, the name of a Greek muse meaning "Willow", over looks him. Both the Imagery of the Thoth and Barbara Walker Tarot Card should get the point across, that whom ever this card is about, is wallowing in self pity, making the conscious mind (Self-Conscious) a poisoned morass of negative perspectives. Hopefully the 8 of Cups card is not surrounded by negative cards, or suicide is a possibility and/or being contemplated!
Therefore the Thoth and Barbara Walker cards makes us aware of suffering as our sense of " self-importance", has received a shocking loss. This can happen when we have a emotional shock, such as a loss of a relationship or even more extreme, a loved one dying. Often we are quilt ridden with the thoughts of " I should have done or acted different" etc. Soon enough "survivors quilt" drags us down into a morass of suffering, that becomes more important than our health. The martyrdom of such thinking, allows only emotional decay and everything or everyone, just adds to the misery of the self-absorbed.
The correction to this swamp of self-misery, is as the Buddha was quoted as saying to a beggar woman who lost her child to an ox-cart accident at a certain cross-roads, where she sat in misery, never leaving the place of suffering; He said, as he picked her up off of the street," I greatly suggest that you go forth and find someone who has not lost a loved one". In other words he just gave her a purpose for movement and therefore, living.
In my own personal experience as a Soul experiencing itself as a personal psych: In a time long past, I was such a self-absorbed one, when my great teacher, Yo Chen, also taught me a lesson in strength, as he looked down on a suffering 12 year old and said, "If you wish to speak to me, you must stand for I'll not kneel to your weakness". Not only did my self-importance receive a shock, as he called me weakness, but because of it, I found that just standing above my misery, became my purpose. So when this card is thrown, it suggests to the querent it is time to stand up, and look above the swamp of your own emotional quagmire, and support yourself in-motion rather than seek support of your pain.
Hence, The Thoth, 8 of Cups-Indolence, & The Barbara Walker 8 of Cups: Loss, also represent emotional over-extension; where your giving of yourself to others and taking time for yourself is out of balance. Emotional happiness often depends on a balance of give and take.
Emotional stagnation is a state of inertia brought on by over-extending oneself beyond personal limits and boundaries. Either, we ignored our limits and boundaries or just didn't know them. This card reminds us to set our boundaries and emotional limits and to honor those limits and boundaries if we are to experience emotional health.
The eight of cups suggests that we are feeling tired, depleted, and emotionally short-circuited as a result of fulfilling others needs to the brim and ignoring our own. The symbol of the lighted holes in the sea of emotion, depict over-extended energy which results from over-giving or the random actions of over-extending oneself. This just radiates off into the atmosphere where it is wasted energy.
The 8 of cups card reminds us to honor the inner strength in all of us and not do for others what they must realize for themselves. It's okay not to cure everyone. Do for others not what they allow you to do but what doesn't overstep your personal boundaries of honoring the Divine in yourself and others. Everyone has the right to their own imbalance so that by experience they can learn to correct it. Emotional over-extension helps no one, it only magnifies the error. So "Above all things, know thyself"!
The Barbara Walker Tarot-8 of Cups: Loss, uses theancient imagery and wisdom of the Greeks, to get the point across.
In the Helicon, Helicon (river), a former river in the Macedonian city Dion, mentioned in Greek mythology, resides the classical Shrine of the Muses; Helicon translates to English as "Willow Stream" and circled the sacred mountain of the same name.
The virgin form of Hecate, was a combination of the Muses as a shape shifting nymph, Helice, who would often take the form of a willow tree.
As depicted, her lover was the goat footed god Pan, meaning "All Father", an whose cult was universal throughout the Aegean. As the old story goes, Pan was the deified goat-king, fathered by Hermes, and carried up into heaven where he became the Capricorn zodiac.
Pan was also a master of magic and an invincible warrior. Therefore, the word "Pan-ic", was supposedly a result of his spell-cast battle-cry, causing his enemies to flee. Even in old Palestine, Pan had a plethora of followers, known as the goat god Azazel, he received each Yom Kippur sacrifice.
Because of Pan's popularity, there was considerable
Church opposition and the Church Fathers, naturally use him as a model for their Devil, and insisted worship of him cease.
However, Pan and Helice, were both still part of "underground" worship on up into the 19th century.
Even the poet/ author Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote his friend Thomas Hogg: " I am glad to hear that you do not neglect the rites of the true religion. Your letter awoke my sleeping devotion, and the same evening I ascended above to the high mountain behind my house, and suspended a garland, and raised a small turf altar to the mountain-walking Pan."
Pan and the willow goddess Helice, represented to poets, the inspiration of the Muses. Therefore, the eight cups spilling, and Pan crying for the loss of his muse-Helice, signifies the loss of inspiration in the "age of ignorance and shallow materialism". A loss felt in the hearts of many people today.
When the 8 of Cups card is thrown during a reading, it implies:
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