This card is the only one in the Tarot that refers explicitly to the past, and of memories and good times experienced there. After losses such as those on the Five we sometimes have to take a time out to heal, to look back on the past and all the good that lies there. And during such times it’s never the right thing to focus on the negative, and that’s why this card is so positive and full of light. The fallen cups are now full and upright again, but with blooming flowers that cannot be spilled or washed away. Now that you have looked back, maybe now the way will be clear to look forward.
Often, people tell others to concentrate on the present and not get stuck in the past, but this counsel only applies when a person stops looking back at his past and starts dwelling on it, wishing he could change it and make things better. There is nothing wrong with looking back at the good times for inspiration when things aren’t going so well. In the midst of change and crisis, looking back at what you have endured is often a good way to assure yourself that, whatever trials lay ahead, you will meet them and you will overcome them as you overcame others. Take a look at your emotional trophy case, then go out and win another cup!
The Six of Cups almost radiates an aura of joy, because it represents the past with all its memories, the present with all its gifts, and the future with all its wondrous opportunities. It has ties to all kinds of pleasure, particularly sexual pleasure, but it can also refer to smaller, everyday pleasures. Simple gestures of affection, such as the gift of a cup pictured on the Rider-Waite version of this card, are still meaningful despite our modern world and its frantic pace. The Six of Cups can thus signal a gift given or received, or some other similar gesture.
Since the Six of Cups has ties to sex, it follows that it is associated with fertility, childbirth and childhood. Children are a good role model to follow when this card’s energy is about. They see the world as a completely perfect place, and their hearts are totally open to experience all the myriad pleasures of the world around them. When the Six of Cups suggests a path to follow, it tells you to open your heart to all the possibilities of life. Live in quiet harmony with those around you. Live in constant peace and joy. Live in the moment, remember the past, dream for the future.