I’ve written interpretations for every card in the Wild Unknown Tarot. As the box of the deck states, there are no rights or wrongs. These are simply my perspectives on the tarot card meanings. I hope you find them useful!
Click here for a directory of all posts in my Wild Unknown series.
Creator’s keywords: selfishness, greed
Carrie’s keywords: withdrawing, apathy
Four of Cups Tarot Card Meanings in the Wild Unknown
We go from the landscaped colors of the previous card to a monotone scene. Four cups line the bottom of the card, and a rat has himself sprawled out over the whole shebang. Rats are often associated with being sneaky and generally icky. This rat sure looks like he’s trying to hoard these cups to himself.
The bottom of the card is dark, giving the impression that the rat is in some lower dwelling, perhaps a sewer or a hole. But the bright white light of the moon spans the top half of the card. The rat doesn’t have his eye on the illuminated world though – his focus is on the underbelly.
Now, an aside: clearly, I adore the Wild Unknown. I wouldn’t be writing about each card individually if I didn’t! But this is one of the cards in the deck that baffles me more than others. It certainly conveys the keywords given by the deck creator (selfishness and greed) but to me, it doesn’t open up as many complexities as the Waite-Smith tarot depiction of the Four of Cups.
That being said, there are two ways to look at selfishness, and we can use both of these as a lens for interpreting this card. In some circumstances, selfishness is merely… selfish. The rat is guarding what he has, unwilling to open himself to other possibilities, keeping himself focused on his own emotional landscape.
But in another view, emotional withdrawal does not have to indicate a negative form of apathy. Sometimes you need to hole yourself up, forget about what shiny things the outside world is offering, and let your emotions stabilize. After all, four is the number of structure and stability, and cups are the suit of emotions. Therefore, the Four of Cups can advise you to come back to your own emotional center.
Four of Cups Tarot Card Meanings in General
The Waite-Smith tarot version shows a person sitting under a tree. A hand extends from a cloud in the sky, holding out a cup towards the person. He seems to be unaware of (or entirely ignoring this offering). His arms and legs are crossed, body language that suggests boundaries.
This card tends to get a bad reputation, but it’s one of my favorites, and it has a very nuanced message. In some circumstances, this card suggests a person who is closed off from opportunities. Being too absorbed in your inner world can be a detriment, leading you to miss golden opportunities. Disconnection and apathy can be inherent in this card.
But saying ‘no’ to things that are offered to you isn’t always an indication of apathy. Sometimes it is an indication you know you know you need to withdraw inwards instead of seeking what the outside world has to offer. As such, this card can also be associated with meditation and other forms of stabilizing your emotions.
In a reading
In some instances, the Four of Cups may ask you to consider if you’ve been being whiny, sulky or apathetic. It’s easy to get stuck in a “poor pitiful me” mindset, and if you’re in that energy this card may be asking you to reasess your attitude.
In other instances, the Four of Cups might indicate that a healthy type of withdrawal is in order. Instead of looking to external factors to fix you, this card can indicate a need for you to come back home to yourself. Especially if you’ve been feeling emotionaly wonky, this card can ask you to give yourself the space to let your feelings be processed and integrated.