Indolence: Surrender, Disrespect, and Weariness
The Eight of Cups. Indolence. Surrender. Disrespect. Sloth. Loss of will. Disease. Moving on. Weariness. The Eight of Cups corresponds to the Sefirot of Hod; knowledge, intellect, structure, and the intellectual weakness that comes as a reaction to the degenerate weakness of Netzach. After the degenerate nature of Debauch, the energy of the suit of Cups shifts violently to counteract this; instead of living in an overindulgent and corrupt fantasy world, the Eight of Cups represents a more “grounded” aspect of the energy of cups, but instead of the degenerate weakness of Debauch, responds with a more intellectual weakness; a weakness of the mind as opposed to the spirit.
This weakness is, of course, Indolence; sloth, disrespect, surrender. Not willing to fight for a cause, if indeed you have one. This card is in many ways the antithesis of the passionate fire of the suit of Wands. Corruption becomes Disrespect (for others, in a similar way to corruption, but more abstract), Overindulgence becomes Surrender (after one has had too much, their will is eventually sapped out of them), and Fantasy gives way to Weariness; for no matter how nice a fantasy might be, there is always something missing, and one will eventually tire of it. This card is in some ways representative of a disease of the spirit, will or mind, sapping energy and replacing it with laziness and surrender, and takes away what respect you may have had for other human beings.
This card, in its aspect of surrender, also illustrates the idea of wearily moving on; one has tired of something (perhaps the Debauch of before?) and is moving on, leaving the past behind them. They have surrendered to the flow of timeand moved on simply because it is the easiest thing to do.
The Rider-Waite illustration shows a man carrying a walking staff and wearing a thick cloak, turning his back on an ordered and structured group of cups. The image that comes across here is that of a weary traveler finally moving on and putting the past behind him. Note that the pile of cups seems to be incomplete; the man seems to have given up. The Thoth art is even less positive; eight cups are shown against a darkened sky and sea, and though water pours from flowers, it does not reach every cup; an air of defeat and surrender surrounds the card, and the water seems lazy and not particularly energetic.
In a reading, this card asks you to examine the role that surrender, loss of will, disrespect, and weariness have played in your life. It asks you to consider whether or not the time has come for you to move on and surrender; or maybe it encourages you not to do this. Have you been slothful? Lazy? Disrespectful? Are others looking down on you for this? Do you look down on others? Reversed, this card’s energies are blocked, hidden, or twisted; are you in reality being disrespectful when you feel as if you aren’t? Are you hiding your laziness? Is someone else hiding theirs? Are you weary in the inside, but not letting yourself move on and put the past behind you?