Eight of Cups, at first, elicits the feelings of affliction and evokes human sentiment. Nonetheless, on a second look it becomes apparent that it is not a card of being rejected or left behind; but a depiction of disengagement and withdrawal for the sake of facilitating a new journey.
This card depicts a man walking away from the cups. The cups are arranged in two rows; and on the upper row, a space for another cup has been left. The man is dressed in red; and he has embarked upon his journey in the moonlight, passing the puddles and crossing the hills to his destination.
The central figure of this card is not an anchorite; on the direct opposite, as his red dress shows he is full of passion for life and enthusiasm. He is leaving behind his previous undertakings, responsibilities, relationships, enterprises and achievements (represented by the cups) as they have failed to fulfill him, as the space for ninth cup shows. He is embarking upon a new journey to find a sense of fulfillment. Still, he is forsaking his values, relationships and endeavours of a long time; and although he has suffered no loss, this is leading to a feeling of sadness. The moonlight and the layout of his journey imply that although he is eager to carry out this journey, he is guided by his sub-consciousness rather than consciousness; in other words, he is going into unknown.
The Eight of Cups calls one to question whether his current pursuits have been enabling him to reach the sense of fulfilment he has been yearning for. Surfacing the accumulated dissatisfaction; it opens the door for the passion for discovery. A person represented by this card would be fed up and ready to leave everything behind to follow the calling of his heart or a person who has gone through this sort of journey and re-discovered himself. In relationship context, this card indicates that there are some issues leading to dissatisfaction of at least one party boiling down; and if they are to let go unaddressed, the relationship might not be able to survive. Career-wise, this card signifies that the work environment is leading one to feel dissatisfied, bored and in vain, calling for either minor or rooted changes to get over this.
Well, I always know what I want. And when you know what you want – you go toward it. Sometimes you go very fast, and sometimes only an inch a year. Perhaps you feel happier when you go fast. I don’t know. I’ve forgotten the difference long ago, because it really doesn’t matter, so long as you move.-Ayn Rand
In short; Eight of Cups is not a card of loss; but one of feeling incomplete and fed up, and to keep the passion for life alive it calls for forsaking the source of this feeling and to seek what would flare up that passion and provide a sense of fulfilment again.