6 of Cups: Tarot Card Meaning

By Lauren Williams
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6 of Cups Keywords


  • Nostalgia
  • Fond memories
  • Childhood
  • Revisitation
  • Reunions
  • Innocence
  • Simple joys
  • Generosity


  • Living in the past
  • Forgetting the present
  • Naivety
  • Unsettled past
  • Overly nostalgic
  • Unresolved issues
  • Disruption of harmony
  • Unrealistic expectations

6 of Cups Essential Meanings Snapshot


The 6 of Cups upright signifies nostalgia, innocence, and fond memories. A powerful reminder of the joys of childhood, it brings forth feelings of vulnerability, purity and naivety. The good old days, reconnecting with people from the past, and visiting hometowns are common themes. This card encourages you to embrace simplicity and enjoy the art of giving and accepting gifts, in the purest sense.


In contrast, a reversed 6 of Cups implies being stuck in the past and struggling to move forward. The emotional ties to past events, traumas, or people are too strong to break. This can manifest as a fear of change or a reluctance to let go of old memories, regardless of their positive or negative nature. At times, it could even mean unresolved childhood issues affecting the present.

6 of Cups Description

The 6 of Cups visualization features a scene that is reminiscent of a serene and peaceful childhood. There are two children in what appears to be a courtyard. An older child, possibly a boy, hands a cup filled with flowers to a younger one, often presumed to be a girl. This exchange symbolizes giving and receiving, an act of kindness that brings immense joy to both parties involved.

Two children giving and receiving a cup with a flower in it as the six of cups tarot card.

There are six golden cups in total, all filled to the brim with beautiful blooming flowers. The cups sparkle with a special resonance, perhaps indicating blessings from the past, or the richness of the memories held therein.

The stone buildings in the backdrop give an atmosphere of protection and stability to the scene. A guard in the far distance, near a stony path, adds a sense of security, as if guarding the cherished past against any potential threats. The clear, blue sky above echoes a sense of serenity and contentment, reminiscent of a worry-free childhood. The whole scene is filled with innocence and nostalgia, evoking feelings of comfort and warmth.

Beyond the Surface: Symbolic Meanings

When exploring the symbolic meanings of the 6 of Cups, several potent symbols catch our attention.

  • The Six Cups: The number six symbolizes harmony and balance in numerology, which resonates with the serene imagery of the card. The cups, in tarot language, represent emotions, intuition, and relationships.
  • Children: The presence of children on the card symbolizes innocence and nostalgia. It brings to mind a simpler time, infused with joy and ease.
  • The Old Man: The man standing in the background could symbolize a guardian or a guiding force, offering support and wisdom from the sidelines.
  • The Flowers in the Cups: They signify rewards or gifts from past efforts, which is a profound message of this card. It’s reminiscent of the phrase, “You reap what you sow.”
  • The Tower or Building in The Background: This could represent an institution (like a school or a church), indicating a connection to a collective experience or memory.

Every symbol carries its unique meaning and, together, they provide a deeper understanding of the nuanced message relayed by the 6 of Cups.

Dual Perspectives: Upright & Reversed

Upright 6 of Cups

When the 6 of Cups tarot card surfaces in an upright position, it heralds a flow of nostalgia and memories from the past. This card may symbolize reunions with loves or friends from your past, cherishing shared histories and memories. It’s a signal to remember and reflect on childhood and joyous moments of innocence, extricating the essence of simplicity and pure delight.

Reversed 6 of Cups

Finding the 6 of Cups in a reversed position presents a contrasting chorus of messages to the upright alignment. The reversed 6 of Cups signifies getting stuck in the past, an inability to let go or move on. This position warns against the potential downfall of over-nostalgia, which may rob you off your potential growth and transformation in the present. The reversed card alerts you to unhealthy patterns relying heavily on past experiences, stating the need to unshackle these ties to foster a healthier future.

Whether it’s an upright charm of nostalgia, or a reversed alert against over-dipping in the past reminiscences, understanding the dual facets of the 6 of Cups guides one towards inner peace and tranquility.

6 of Cups in Life Scenarios

Growth & Self-Discovery

The 6 of Cups signifies a journey into the past for the purpose of self-growth. It is a reminder of the innocence, freedom, and joy of childhood. Reflecting on these times can help you rediscover forgotten aspects of your personality or past passions that can contribute towards personal growth. It can signify returning to your roots, reconnecting with your true self, and healing from past hurts.

Career and Creativity

In the context of career and creativity, the 6 of Cups calls you to infuse child-like joy and nostalgia in your work. This could mean seeking professions related to children or youth, maybe as a teacher or social worker. Or it could encourage you to incorporate your innate playful spirit into your job, making your workspace more fun and less stressful. It’s an indicator to find joy in what you do, to work with passion, not just for profit.

Relationships & Bonds

When the 6 of Cups appears in a reading regarding relationships, it often signifies a strong bond with shared history. This could be a rekindling of a past romance, renewed bonds with a childhood friend, or strengthening familial ties. It represents harmonious relationships rooted in shared experiences and mutual understanding. It serves as a reminder to cherish these meaningful connections and not let petty squabbles blemish them.

To read more about the 6 of Cups in the context of feelings, read our 6 of Cups as Feelings article.

Choices & Life Decisions

The 6 of Cups in the context of choices and life decisions suggests that you’ll need to consider your past to make important decisions. It may be about rectifying past mistakes or drawing from past experiences for wisdom. It also represents decisions that lean towards peace, harmony, and happiness. Whether you’re choosing a career path, a life partner, or a place to live, the 6 of Cups encourages decisions rooted in personal satisfaction and inner peace, rather than societal expectations or pressures.

To read more about the 6 of Cups when making decisions, read our 6 of Cups: Yes or No article.

6 of Cups from Past to Present

The 6 of Cups, an impactful card from the Minor Arcana of the tarot, has seen quite an evolution in its visual representation and connotation throughout history. From its origins in the 15th-century Mamluk game cards to its present-day digital depictions, the essence of this card has always been the same – reliving fond memories and nostalgia.

Earliest Illustrations

In the earliest tarot, also known as Mamluk decks, the 6 of cups was simple, showcasing six ornamental cups evenly arranged. There was less emphasis on detailed symbolism and more on numerical representation.

Rider-Waite Era

During the Rider-Waite era in the early 20th century, the aesthetic of the 6 of Cups undertook a significant shift. It started including symbolic illustrations – a depiction of six cups filled with flowers and one larger central flower, emanating a sense of harmony and unity. It frequently showed two children in a garden, instilling feelings of nostalgia and reminiscence.

Contemporary Depictions

In modern tarot decks, the card maintains the essential themes of past nostalgia and harmony symbolised through various means such as lush landscapes, children or even pets. The symbols vary, but the resonating energy remains the same.

Overall, the historical significance of the 6 of Cups sprawls across centuries. Despite its ever-changing visual representation, it has always encouraged reflection on past memories and experiences, thus fostering individual growth and spiritual evolution.

Synergistic Card Combinations

Tarot card readings provide intricate understandings of our lives by combining individual cards’ meanings. When combined with other cards in a spread, the 6 of Cups creates a variety of nuanced interpretations. Here are a few impactful combinations.

6 of Cups and The Sun

Highly linked to nostalgia, warm memories, and innocence, the 6 of Cups combined with The Sun card brings forward a radiant perspective. It signifies a moment of joyful reminiscence. It’s about basking in the glory of memories and letting the past’s radiant light restore joy in your present.

6 of Cups and Two of Cups

In combination with the Two of Cups, the 6 of Cups brings forward strong messages of reconciliation. The Two of Cups highlights connectedness and emotional bonds. This combination often suggests rekindling a past relationship or healing from a previous emotional wound.

6 of Cups and Five of Pentacles

The 6 of Cups alongside the Five of Pentacles indicates nurturing through times of hardship. The Five of Pentacles typically represents financial struggle or emotional sorrow, but when combined with the 6 of Cups, it indicates seeking solace in memories and deriving comfort from the past.

6 of Cups and The Tower

This combination of cards has quite a strong indication of past trauma brought to light. The Tower signifies abrupt change or unsettling revelations, and the 6 of Cups brings an aspect of childhood or past periods. It often hints toward unresolved issues from the past surfacing unexpectedly.

6 of Cups and Queen of Cups

A connection between the 6 of Cups and the Queen of Cups accentuates compassion. The Queen is emblematic of nurturing, emotional intelligence, and empathy. Paired with the 6 of Cups, this combination speaks of providing love and care to those around, motivated by fond memories or past experiences.

6 of Cups and Three of Swords

The 6 of Cups combined with the Three of Swords tells a narrative of heartbreak and its resolution. The Three of Swords typically represents pain and loss, and when mixed with the 6 of Cups, it suggests healing from old wounds or overcoming past grievances.

When working with tarot, remember, context matters – the other cards in the spread, the question asked, the energy of the reader and subject all contribute to the interpretation. The combinations mentioned above serve as a starting point for understanding the complex interplay of symbolism and interpretation in tarot readings.

Introspection & Meditation

Meditative Practices with 6 of Cups

Engaging in meditative practices with the 6 of Cups tarot card invites contemplation about past experiences and recalls memories filled with innocence, kindness, and simple joys. Visualize the card, focus on its symbolism, and enter into a meditative state to channel its energy. Feel the emotions rise as you recall moments of nostalgia, linking you to your simpler times.

Personal Reflections

In personal reflections, the 6 of Cups asks you to emphasize the essential elements of your past. Instead of burying your history, welcome it and recognize how your past shapes your current identity. As you meditate, imagine yourself reliving moments from your childhood. Channel these memories further to intensify feelings of joy and comfort. There’s a halcyon sanctuary within you; a wellspring of eternal youthfulness and joy. Tap into this reserve for a profound, transformative introspective experience.

Embrace these meditative practices and personal reflections centered around 6 of Cups. Cultivate a sense of nostalgia and innocent joy, enriching your spiritual journey. Mingle present experiences with the fondness of the past, immersing yourself in self-discovery and growth.


The 6 of Cups tarot card is a symbol of nostalgia, reminiscence, and a potent reminder of innocence. In an upright position, it indicates fond memories and encourages kindness and simplicity. The reversed version suggests difficulties in letting go of the past.

It entails potent symbols like six cups and children that signify harmony, emotions, and innocence. The card’s appearance in a reading can suggest personal growth from recalling past experiences, or an urge to bring a playful spirit to your job, among other things. Combining with other cards, the 6 of Cups can denote situations of reconciliation, nurturing during hardships, and compassionate love.

What Next?

Explore more insights with our detailed guides:

Lauren holding a crystal ball in her hands.


Lauren Williams
Lauren merges ancient wisdom with modern insights, offering a fresh perspective on life's mysteries. She's passionate about guiding individuals through the world of astrology, lunar cycles, numerology, and tarot. When she's not charting the stars or reading tarot, she enjoys getting out in nature, hikes and yoga.