Card Meanings,  Cups,  Sacred Circle

Journey Into: 5 of Cups

Written by: Emma Sunerton-Burl

Continuing her series, Emma Sunerton-Burl looks into the cards of The Sacred Circle Tarot, by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason, published by Llewellyn:

I look at the card and am struck by the colour of purple-blue through the whole card, there seems to be a peace about it. The moon is reflecting its light on the surface of the water, yet there is a lot of light in the card. Pink bindweed is in the foreground.

I walk into the card.

I am drawn to the two cups in the foreground and have an urge to untangle them from the bindweed surrounding them, so I do so. As I do, I ask them what their lesson is.

“We, the cups, are the things you have lost – you cannot have us back yet the memory haunts you and as it does so you become engrossed in trying to change things.”

“We the bindweed are here to hold these things from you – whatever you do we will not let go, for it is our role to hold tightly on to things – this is our nature – but is it yours? In this card we represent the part of you that holds onto things too tightly when they are already lost; you strive to get them back and to make things happen your way rather than surrender to what is. Stand back you will see much more beauty in this card than you think – you do not have to follow that urge to make things go back to the way they once were.”

“Oh thank you” I say, I understand their message well.

I do stand back and allow the past to go, as I do so I see ahead of me three shining perfected cups with beautiful liquid within them – rich and full.

“What do you represent?” I ask.

“We are the riches; the glorious emotional landscape you have within you. You have this regardless of what you have lost and what may not be how you would like it to be. We are what remains and we are good and pure. As you let go of what is no longer, you can really appreciate your strengths and also those of the people around you. There is much love for you and we are the symbol for all the love around you – drink of us and know that what is lost is merely travelling a new path and that you are not alone nor have you lost anything of true value to you at this time.”

I take one of the cups and drink from it. I feel the liquid warm and loving fill me with its nourishment – I have a sense of renewal and rejuvenation. I feel full of positivity and hope for the future.
I look up and see the moon. It is big in the sky ; I see its reflection on the pool below. I ask the moon for its message.

“I am the great reflector and I myself am reflected. See that what you lose only indicates what you no longer reflect in your heart; you have changed and the mirrors of life are shifting now to reflect that change. This is a natural process, a process which is actually a step up to the next level if you can embrace it as such. Those who leave you, the situations which can no longer be, are only being taken from you as you have better mirrors for your beauty coming towards you. You need the space created, by letting go of the old, to be able to accommodate the new. Just allow now – you need not do anything – the reflections will come by themselves now. Allow yourself to let go and see what comes at this time. It is not the time for you to be active, but the time for you to be in a receptive state. Accept what life gives you now. I am the moon. I am powerful and I control the ebbs and flow of the seas, yet I am receptive, passive and reflect the light of the sun as the water reflects the light of me. You too need to allow yourself to be the reflector of those around you, as they reflect you. Be not concerned with acting to stop others’ patterns acting out, but allow yourself to react naturally to others’ behaviours and actions. All is as it needs to be for each person involved to gain their highest potentials. Allow and observe yourself. Let your inner world be peaceful. As you see the surface of this lake, there is a great peace in times of sadness when the sadness is accepted. You can allow things to go with a sense of rightness and peace. The time of striving and of struggle can now be put to rest.”

“Thank you your words hold great wisdom.” I reply. I dive into the pool and say I would like to experience this pool and its depths.

I feel part of the water and its cool gentle flows. I am aware that there are rivers into this pool and rivers flowing out, so there is a feeling of movement, though gentle movement, and peacefulness. I dive down to the bottom and ask:

“What do you mean in this card?”

“You are travelling the depths of your feelings. Deep down you have knowledge of more than you allow into your normal awareness. As you let go of the past you can see that there is a knowledge in you that can come to the surface. Take time and space. Go within and allow these gems of wisdom to come from within you. You know the answers to the questions you seek; you know the next steps; you know where you will be going, even though right now you feel unable to move. Let yourself experience the peacefulness of the end of one phase and the imminent beginning of another. Do not regret any action, for all actions are lessons and there is no ‘wrong’, only lessons. As you go within and find peace you will understand your own lessons in this time; you will understand from the changing reflections around you what needs to be carried forward from the old and what can be discarded as no longer part of your reality or your belief system. Take time.”

“Thank you.” I say. “This is very useful.”

I come out of the lake and walk to the side where I find a bench to sit upon for a moment. I contemplate the scene in front of me and I am reminded of a lake in Wales I visit from time to time, a place of great joy and a place that symbolises the beginning of the phase that has now ended. I wonder what of it will come through to my new phase. I rest. I do not push one way or another. I feel happy to allow things to unfold in the way and time they need to.

I look to the card as a whole “What do you represent if you are reversed?” I ask. The bindweed answers:

“We hold on tighter and tighter and will not let go, spiralling down, we pull all with us strangling the life force out of you. There will be no respite until you walk away from our grip. We will not change things for you and for every cut you make of us to regain the old we will multiply our efforts, as each cut vine takes root and becomes a new plant to hold the old from you. We are the lesson at its highest strength, holding you back, bringing you in a state of fear for moving forward. ‘What if there is loss again…?’ We bring you down until you understand the need to let go. The sooner you can overcome your fear of being let down, your fear of making mistakes and your fear of letting go of the old, the sooner the card will be righted. We do not ask you to ignore your hurt, merely look to the wider picture. There is more truth in the picture as a whole, than if you focus on this one loss or event exclusively.”

“Thank you” I say. “It is like when reversed then someone is caught up with the loss so much it is hard for them to move forward and appreciate the positives in their life at the time and also that they are missing the opportunity that the loss opens up to them. Would that be right?” I ask.

“Yes indeed.” They say.

“Thank you – I understand” I reply.

“I thank you all – you have been very helpful.” I say to the whole card and leave it. I will take with me the feeling of peace and rest that has come through the experience of this card.


Emma welcomes any comments on this article or the visualisations you do following this method. Email her on

Emma works as an intuitive psychic tarot reader and runs one to one online training courses on reading with the Thoth tarot deck using a unique blend of intuition and psychological techniques. This has now been extended to working intuitively with RWS style decks too. She also mentors other professional and non-professional tarot readers. She offers visualisation MP3 downloads for intuition development, tarot readings F2F, telephone or distance, and healing – see her website for details:

Emma has a Bsc in Psychology and is a trained counsellor, counselling supervisor and trainer. She integrates this experience in her Tarot work, and in her self-written training courses for personal development, Tarot, and Tarot mentoring.

%d bloggers like this: