Each tarot card is infused with symbols, philosophies and meanings – giving the cards a limitless intrigue. In the Life Lessons :: Tarot Card Meanings series, I will explore one card and some of the lessons it has to offer. Each card has a wide spectrum of meanings, so this post is not meant to be all inclusive!

Four of Cups Tarot Card Meanings Keywords:

  • Detachment
  • Absorption
  • Reflection


I was recently having dinner with a group of friends. At first everyone was talking and laughing. There was a momentary lull in the conversation, and the next thing I knew, I was alone at the table.

Did all of my friends suddenly disappear? Well, not physically. But emotionally, they were gone…sucked into the technology whirlpool of their smartphones. (I’ll spare you my hoity-toity “I don’t have a smartphone” remarks, because I’m planning on getting one soon.)

As I sat alone gazing around the table at the blank stares and listening to the soft cacophony of bleeps, I realized something.

I was looking at a modern-day image of the Four of Cups.

The character in this card sits with his arms folded, his body language indicating that he is withdrawn into his own experiences. A hand emerges from a cloud, offering him a cup, but he does not budge. Is he consciously refusing the cup? Or is he simply too engaged in his own little world to notice?

As with any tarot card, the Four of Cups has a wide spectrum of meanings. Sometimes it is wise to withdraw from the outside world. Sometimes it’s good to be so emotionally stable that you aren’t knocked over by the offer of the proverbial cup.

But other times, you’re so sucked into your own smartphone world that you are missing the offerings of the world around you!

I know I’m often guilty of the same behavior. Even though I don’t have a smartphone, I do have a laptop. And I spend a lot of time on this sucker. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has tried to talk to me and I’m half-listening and half staring at the mesmerizing computer screen.

In one of my favorite movies, WALL-E (yep…I’m a total sucker for anything Pixar!) humans maneuver around in whizzing chairs, allowing their full attention to be fixated on their smartphone-like devices. At one point, a character who is idly browsing her device is interrupted by the hero, WALL-E. This disruption forces her out of her technology vortex. As she looks around in a daze, she exclaims “I didn’t know we had a pool!” Like the hand offering the cup, the pool was there all along, but she was too absorbed to notice.

Once in a while, let’s challenge ourselves to step away from the smartphone and really engage with the world around us. The next time you see the Four of Cups, come out and take a look around. Are you too absorbed to notice your surroundings?

Maybe there’s a pool nearby that you didn’t even know about.

Did ya dig this post? Sign up for my newsletter & get goodies in your inbox.