The 4 of Cups was the first arcana to be drawn when I launched this blog on Ash Wednesday 2019 where I wrote that it reminds us that Lent is a season of contemplation. The fours are influenced by Jupiter and so there is a beneficient quality available in all the fours, even our Four of Cups, which is ruled by the Moon in Cancer, and which is often seen as conveying a sense of idle discontentment.
Actually, Jupiter is exalted in Cancer, so if we have been busy, we can enjoy indulging in the comfortable homey relaxation of this arcana. The risk is that we may be tempted to enjoy too long a nap, or to remain ensconsed in our comfort zone at the expense of progress.
In a sense, this arcanae is working together with Mo(o)nday’s Seven of Pentacles suggesting that now is time to pause and take an inventory of our projects and our emotions in the light of the Full Moon in Leo. At the same time, with the Sun moving into Pisces, the reflective side of today’s arcana is given a more emphatic edge. Remember, though, that our Sunday arcana this week is the Queen of Pentacles so what we are seeing is an opening for our reflective side to work in harmony with our practical use of resources.
In this video, Trevor Thorkelson refers to the 4 of Cups as suggesting a time to take an emotional inventory:
The Four of Cups and the Lenten Hermit
Like (9) The Hermit, who is the Lenten Arcana of the Liturgical Year, the figure in the 4 of Cups has withdrawn from the world of affairs, or at least from going outside to do business in the hurly-burly of the market place. (Nowadays the Internet affords us the ability to work quietly on our business projects while remaining at home, an option to consider in the current climate of fear over the Coronavirus epidemic.)
The cups on the ground are full and remind us of the blessings that are manifested in our lives and suggested by the 3 of Cups. So in taking inventory of our emotions during Lent we might ask ourselves “how do I feel now” and develop a sense of gratitude for what is given to us here and now.
At the same time, we refrain from taking everything that is on offer. We give up something pleasant that remains “on offer” and before our eyes. In so doing we train ourselves to some degree to resist the Devil and his pomps (the Devil is the Ash Wednesday Arcana of the Liturgical Year) and practise living quietly in our own room like the hermit in his cell.
The Morgan-Greer 4 of Cups
Wrapped in the cloak of humility, (9) The Lenten Hermit retreats into the wilderness. The figure in the 4 of Cups retreats into nature, a sort of “green man” who at one with the wild wood and is passively contemplating the scene before him and feeling the approaching spring germinating within and around him.
In the Morgan-Greer depiction, the figure has three full cups but is looking across them at another cup that is being offered to him by a hand out of a cloud, which suggests the blessings of Jupiter that are available to us through this arcana.