7 of Cups – Temptation

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” – Alan Watts

Crowley’s Title: “Debauch”
Tree of Life: Netzach through Water
Astrology: Venus in the 3. decan of Scorpio
Suit: Cups
Arcana:  Minor

Initial Impressions

What are we told to value in life?  We are given our destinations prior to our birth; told to obtain wealth, or to obtain freedom, or fame, or wisdom.  We ruthlessly go about searching for these things.  No.  These “ideas.”  They are mirages.  The mind has a very intriguing ability; it can imagine things that do not truly exist.  What “is” freedom really?  When are you “wealthy“?  In the end, all of these things are empty.  They are devoid of any real ability to give your life meaning and are essentially temptations that remove us from living presently.

This card can mean desire leading to intoxication and addiction.  It can also mean imagination that can illuminate inner core desires.

When I was younger, I was a militant believer in “utopia“.  I would scoff at anyone who believed in subjectivity. For some godforsaken reason, I thought there could be an objective desire.  What should we want?

I started out as a Capitalist Utopian.  My ability to believe that this type of utopia was even possible died when I took a History of Capitalism class in college.  Then I became a Communist Utopian.  That was quickly quelled as well.  Then I became an Anarcho-Syndicalist…  The list went on and on, because I was so determined to believe these great manifestations of mind, these ideologies, could actually bring about a “utopia” (another manifestation of the mind).  In the end, I found that without constant comparison of these ideals with my direct experience of reality, the mental manifestations would only tempt me further and further from my core.  We must be able to entertain all perspectives in order to form the whole.  Each one, on its own, runs into its limitations – it’s shattered edges.

"7 of Chalices" Hexen 2.0 by Susan Treister

“7 of Chalices” Hexen 2.0 Tarot by Susan Treister


Rider-Wait Depiction


7 of Cups

7 of Cups

A person stands before 7 golden cups.  Each cup has within it some sort of human desire (what is within the cups varies from deck to deck). The cups sit upon a grey cloud with a vibrant blue sky behind them.  The character in this card is merely a silhouette, looking in awe at the cups before them.


The Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after his baptism by John. Driven by the Spirit into the desert, Jesus remains there for forty days without eating; he lives among wild beasts, and angels minister to him. At the end of this time Satan tempts him three times, seeking to compromise his filial attitude toward God. Jesus rebuffs these attacks, which recapitulate the temptations of Adam in Paradise and of Israel in the desert, and the devil leaves him “until an opportune time”. The temptation in the desert shows Jesus, the humble Messiah, who triumphs over Satan by his total adherence to the plan of salvation willed by the Father.” – Wikipedia, Temptation of Christ

Imagination and the ability to think abstractly allows us to make tentative plans about our movement forward in reality.  It can be very useful for creative problem solving, but often times we become consumed with its intoxicating ability to distract us from our inner source.  Temptations tie us up and cause disorientation.  If they get out of hand, they cloud our instincts.  Temptations to escape reality are magnetic.  We get throttled into a romanticized future, forgetting to maintain our fires in the present.  And then, one day, the fire dies and we are left with hollow ideals and dreams – vapid manifestations of the mind.

Temptations are intoxicating.  I mean, isn’t the promise of reaching some utopic state of being something we seem to innately crave?  The thing is, the options we are given are coming from outside of us – from the veil/Maya/Illusion.  We become so intoxicated, so attached, to these illusions, because we believe they will give us salvation.  This makes us become rigid when our essence is to always move, transform, trans-mutate.  This sort of inflexibility of values only brings us hollow experiences.  And when we are presented with other people’s realities, living in this fairy tale realm will keep us from actually seeing past the veil.

This card reminds us that the proper use of imagination is as a tool of investigation and transformation (which we know are ruled by Scorpio – this card is related to Scorpio in Venus).  We cannot stumble into the negative aspects of Scorpio and become hard headedly attached to ideas, dying when the tides change. Beware of becoming attached to specters.  These are merely mirages that try and sway you from your inner compass.

This card has been associated with temporary pleasures that lead to future pain.  Are you being avoidant?  Are you drowning yourself in temptations, coloring the world in illusion so you don’t have to deal with the punishment of not following your true path?  I relate this card to the Kali Yuga; the time when we are so far removed from “God’s plan” that we are almost fully immersed in the illusion.  This is a great energy for corruption and manipulation.

This is definitely a card I would relate to the magician – or the fox – using slight of hand in order to get what they need; learning how to manipulate the veil and use it to their advantage.  Sometimes we need to be masters of illusion in order to get what we need out of a situation.  The thing is, most of the time this energy is used against us (by us and by others).  So, with the 7 of Cups, handle with care.  Make sure that your imagination is helping you actively manifesting from your core needs instead of a caging you on the couch as a daydreamer.  Do the things you are imagining actually have an ability to manifest?

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