The Thoth Tarot 4 of Cups-Luxury & The Wild Wood Tarot-Four of Vessels-Boredom,
refers to the 4th Sephira Chesed in
the suit of Water.
Here the Pure Water
the Supernal Triangle (the upper 3) 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.
Understanding the importance of idea,
may be helped by knowing that the word, idea,
comes from the Greek-Eide
-which means "the goddess within" and/or Imagination.
that the Moon
is in the goddesses own house, the zodiacal sign of Cancer, one would think it was
well placed. However, Cancer is so placed that this implies a certain
weakness, an abandonment to desire, causing one to overly fantasize and not really understand reality. Which reminds me of the statement
made by the boxing champ Mike Tyson:" Everybody has a plan until they get hit"
On the Thoth Tarot card,
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 on it less stable. The Spirit of the Lotus, the
Dryad, has gathered strength, growing multiple stems, supporting one
Lotus Blossom, spewing forth water. The Four stems, are the number of
manifestation for the Dryad, it is also secretly preparing catastrophe by
The Wild Wood Tarot-Four of Vessels, is also depicting and unbalance, as two vessels, tip an pour out their water into two lower vessels, that support vines that have grown into an arch over a uterine cave entrance. The Feminine figure sitting in-front of this triangular cave entrance (symbol for feminine womb) is decidedly bored and lack-luster. Here, she is lazy, locked in lethargy, and not paying attention to the sources of inspiration all around her. Here, she is in a state of inaction, which is contrary to the Universal or Higher Self, which responds to individual action. Here, is a "black hole" of despair, from which one must eventually emerge, for the Spirit to assist them in their forward motion.
By understanding that the number 4
is an "awkward" number; alone among the natural numbers, as it is
impossible to construct a "Magic Square" of four cells. Four being a
"dead stop" number, a different idea of Order is necessary to carry on
the series as the only motion now is towards decline. 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, i.e., the
"hit" is on its way.
In the Hermetic Qabalah and Tarot,
the 4s represent solidification and manifestation
and are attributed to Chesed (mercy)-The Architect . The 4s are
"below the Abyss" and express the Rule of Law (Laws of Physics etc.)
which is represented by the Major Arcana Key 4- The Emperor.
It is done, and now it belongs to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which is enforced by the Emperor/Chesed. This law states: "All things proceed from order to disorder",
this is often called the "law of entropy", showing the imbalance of the
4's, as all energy forms must transform. Entropy is the next step
Hence, the 4 is a very solid number as it
has dominating influence on all the cards, for it is the "Manifested
Form of the thing", a type of oppression that will come undone.
However, the 4 of Cups-Luxury
acts "watery", and thus less concise as there is a
natural weakness in water to take on the impurities of its environment,
that alone threatens its purity; it is not quite strong enough to control
itself properly and is therefore controlled by environmental
circumstances. This makes Luxury a little unstable as the process of
emotional satisfaction has made it impure. The Luxury implied here is thus known
fleeting as it slowly transforms into the 5.
Since the element-water represents
(Energy in Motion) and since energy is kept pure by
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 "Four walls" etc, and as a cage, it shows a certain
amount of stability, until the energy gets tired of confinement. We all
know the weakness of putrefaction in stable water; it must keep moving
to stay pure or become a stagnant swamp. We also know that whatever
keeps out the "bogey man", becomes a prison and locks one in. So it
behooves one to be very flexible in their enjoyment of luxury and accept
changes with gratitude, even when the emotional dam breaks.
Therefore, the 4 of cups, being the Moon in Cancer,
is the influence of Chessed (Mercy)
in the unconscious mental realm. Hence, there is a certain self-satisfaction
with this card as an emotional luxury that is often felt as
flowing from an unconscious source.
However, the outpouring of emotional
luxury from above, is not overflowing in the lower cups, symbolizing
that this pleasure will soon end but for now, the feeling of you having
everything you need in your life is luxuriant and you are not now open
for suggestions. One is more or less, "resting on their laurels", as a cycle ends.
Chokma (Wisdom), the second Sephiroth on the Tree of Life, is really the energy of Chesed, Mercy, but as Chesed is below the Abyss, this makes Mercy unbalanced.
there is Promise here; a promise of mercy, healing, empathy,
trans-personal love, forgiveness and taking away of the soul's burdens.
may feel a soon fleeing-easy compassion and find that we are forgiving of those who
against us. There is a luxuriant feeling that we all belong to each
other: a larger sense of emotional-family than is normal. This is a hard
one to hold in this realm of fear. For it is the pusillanimous
invertebrates and witless sycophants, that make money their life; who
value money as life, and see not the luxury of Life itself even though
it is all around them and in them, in its luxuriant displays of
When the 4 of Cups or Four of Vessels card is thrown during a reading, it represents:
- Slight discomfort and anxieties over receiving pleasure.
- Blended pleasure and success approaching their end.
this is a stationary period of happiness that may not continue as it is
too passive of a symbol to represent perfectly complete happiness. Nor
does it suggest love and marriage as powerfully as the Three of
- Some drawbacks to pleasure are implied, such as contention with acquisition and sometimes injustice.
- It is a gentle passive card like warm water, Feels good for the moment, but that moment soon cools.
card cautions us not to "sit long on our laurels" ; take a brief
respite from your impassioned labors but be ready to gear up the power
soon to keep luxury in the future.
- Is blended pleasure and success, receiving pleasure but with some slight discomfort and anxieties. This
is because this pleasure radiates from our unconscious mental realm and
our consciousness is still feeling its normal uncertainty, as it is
still bound in survival thinking.
- A moment of emotional
stagnation, discontent with ones environment, and weariness will
manifest before the true Pleasure of the Six of Cups, where both the
unconscious and conscious flow in pleasurable communion becomes
- There is a certain inner warmth experienced here, so enjoy the moment and relax in the luxury of the emotional pleasure.
- The querent will be or is experiencing pleasure, but with some slight discomfort and anxieties.
- They are 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.
is both acquisition and contention in this card. It is not wrong to
enjoy the luxury of your labors, but labor will soon have to begin again or you will lose it.
- This card warns us not to get lost in desire-enjoy the moment and release it without losing yourself.
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper.