In the eight of cups we see a figure making his or her way along the coast. His way is illuminated by the moon, with the sun in the background, possibly an eclipse. A face is depicted upon the moon. Eight cups are stacked in the foreground, five on the bottom row and three on top. The background is a mix of rocky outcrops and sea.
A curious card, the eight of cups depicts our never ending journey. In a sense, we are methodically making our way along. Step by step our journey continues. That we continue our journey through the middle of the night depicts our determination to achieve our goal. Even in difficult times, we have a clear destination that we must reach. In work, we may be putting in long hours, we may be going the extra mile in our relationship. Times may be tough, there may be obstacles in the way, the journey may seem long, but there is nothing insurmountable to block us if we continue taking it step by step.
Cups in the Tarot are primarily concerned with emotions. In the eight of cups we see the moon illuminating our way. The moon is feminine, also associated with emotions (as is the water in the background). The face sketched onto the moon is symbolic and may represent our emotions being reflected back upon us. It may also symbolise a watchful presence over us, a message that even in difficult times we are not alone. The great spirits watch over us and illuminate our journey through rocky and dangerous paths.
It is also possible that the figure in the card is in search of some solitude. A period of reflection on our journey or path may be in order. The face upon the moon suggests melancholy or inner reflection Life is never about the material riches we gather but about the spiritual understanding we attain. We should reflect therefore on what to do with the wealth we have accumulated in our eight cups and what we further wish to achieve in our lives.
That the moon is in front of the Sun depicts some kind of eclipse. Like many things in the Tarot, this could symbolise a number of things. Our difficult journey may be temporary, just like an eclipse. That it is night only heralds that it will be shortly be day and easier times may be ahead.
Reversed: The eight of cups reversed tells us that we may experience difficult times ahead. Work, relationships or emotions may become fraught and we will have to work harder to overcome them. The eight of cups reversed does not indicate failure, but does signify obstacles that will test us. These problems may extend over a longer period.