6 of Cups – The Past

The six cups in this card are all filled with flowers. An older child offers one of these flowered cups to a younger child. The only adult in the card is in the distance and he is walking away from the children. The house in the background, the field in which the two children stand and the six cups are all painted golden yellow, the colour of joy.

Generally, this card is about children, childhood or the past. It can also represent the happiness and nostalgia associated with the past. When this card shows up in a reading, it can mean that we are dealing with our past or addressing our inner child.

The 6 of Cups reminds us that it is important to take time out of our lives to reflect, especially during or after difficult times. In the midst of challenging times, we can draw strength from recalling happier moments. Happy memories remind us that we haven’t always been sad and frightened and give us faith that these times of difficulty will pass and we will experience peace and joy again.

In addition to giving us strength, reflecting upon the past may also provide us with the solution to our current struggles. Many of the mental and emotional problems that we experience in adulthood, especially ones dealing with self-esteem and addiction, stems from negative childhood experiences. Only when we address our wounded inner child can we truly move forward.

Besides difficult times, we also reflect upon the past when the end of a phase in our lives draw near. When we sense that a period is coming to an end, take time to sort out the feelings and memories we’ve accumulated so that we can learn from this stage and properly move onto the next. Peaceful and non-judgemental reflection nourishes wisdom and gratitude.

As useful as reflections can be, however, we must be careful to differentiate between thinking and indulging in the past. It’s nice to spend an afternoon looking at old pictures but harmful when we mourn the passing of youth to the point where we dread the present and future. Also remember, while childhood is filled with innocent happiness, it is also filled with childish and outlandish fantasies that cannot be fulfilled. Know the difference between worthy goals and unrealistic ideals that lead to nothing but feelings of failure and disappointment if you hold onto them.


Hexagram 40 – Relief

The two trigrams that form this hexagram are Thunder and Water. Since Water carries the association of danger, this hexagram creates the image of a violent storm. As frightening as roaring thunders can be, however, storms are often welcomed because they bring relief from built up heat and tension. Furthermore, the rain can cleanse and nourish seedlings into life.

Hexagram 40 describes a period of change that releases us from the burdens that drag us down and immobilize us. There is a possibility for a fresh start and the Oracle recommends two ways to take advantage of this new beginning.

First, the Oracle advises those without destinations to return to where they came from. The first step towards gaining relief is to release ourselves from battles that can’t be won. There is no glory in continuing on a path for the sake of movement and no shame in returning. Just as the 6 of Cups teaches us to learn from the past, this hexagram advises us to return to wherever it is that we call home in order to rest and repair. Utilize this period of peace to learn to let go of our pain and forgive ourselves and others.

Second, the Oracle advises those who do have clear goals to proceed without delay. Timing is one of the most important factors of success in any endeavour so take advantage of the enthusiasm and momentum of new beginnings and steer your life towards the direction you want by taking that first step.

Six on line 1:

Letting go of something that can’t be obtained and admitting defeat when you know you’ve been beaten isn’t a sign of weakness.

Nine on line 2:

There are times when we are in bad situations because we’ve placed ourselves there. In order to escape these situations, we must first see illusions and delusions for what they are. Once we become aware, we can take responsibility by making better choices.

Six on line 3:

While line 2 addresses difficulties due to not seeing the world and others as they are, this line speaks of the difficulties caused by not seeing ourselves as we are. Know our own capabilities and align our desires and goals as such. Don’t live beyond our means and don’t try to hold onto what we cannot secure.

Nine on line 4:

Once we see reality as it is, we can release our grip on our fantasies and fears. No longer will we be fixated with how things should be but respond spontaneously to how things are. This attitude not only frees ourselves but those we bind with our expectations and judgement. This is the spirit of trust and friendship.

Six on line 5:

Those who can find relief by releasing themselves from desire and fear will inspire others.

Six on line 6:

Once the source of danger is known, decisive action must be taken to remove this danger. Be quick and have confidence that we have the ability to deal with this situation.



Not everything we put our time and effort into will last. There are times in life when we must let go of certain things, ideas and people in order to move on. To prepare for new beginnings, we must release ourselves from the chains that bind us.

Note that the act of renewal and moving on is different from running away. Escapism is a result of one’s inability to deal with the situation. In preparing ourselves for a new start, we are actively facing our past and present. We are taking control by deciding what to cherish and what to leave behind.