We've seen children do this all the time – folding their arms, closing their eyes, turning their heads away, and uttering a little “humph”. Sadly, kids aren't the only ones to display this behavior. Sometimes, the behavior is needed – the child is denying something that is unhealthy of unwanted. Other times, however, this is referred to as a “hissy fit” - a child doesn't get exactly what they want, or are forced to do something for someone else, and simply won't stand for it. The possibility for this attitude lies within the Four of Cups.
On this card, a man sits propped up against a tree, his arms folded and his eyes on three cups that lay before him. He is staring at these three cups with some intensity. In front of him, however, is a hand jutting forth from a cloud, holding a cup. But the young man can't see the cup being presented to him, as he is pointedly staring at the three on the ground. The man is entirely missing out on the gift or offering from the cloud.
Introspection can be both a positive and negative thing. On the one hand, we get to discover more of ourselves and have a deeper understanding of the world and our place in it. Everyone needs time to turn within, and those who deprive themselves of it are missing out. On the other hand, it is possible to turn inward at the wrong time. Many times we turn inward to protect ourselves – this mechanism prevents us from caring too much about what is going on outside of ourselves, therefore protecting us from any potential pain of loss or fear. There are also times where our introspection becomes self-absorption, and we become so focused on our own needs that we no longer care about the needs of others. Assess your attitude towards the world outside of yourself, and analyze if you are missing out on anything (the cup held by the cloud) because of your introspection of self-focus.
Another meaning for this card is outright denial. The man may be able to see the cup, but his arms are crossed and he is refusing to take it. This denial can be a positive or negative thing – he may be denying the cup out of spite or anger, or he might be denying the cup because it isn't what he needs right now. In your readings, assess what you are actively denying entry into your life... and whether or not you should change your mind about accepting it.
A few questions to ask yourself when pulling this card: What are you actively denying in your life? Why are you refusing it? Could you be denying it out of fear, or is it really something that should not be in your life? What is your attitude towards new experiences? Is your introspection helping or hurting?
When you take a look at the Four of Cups, you might start to think of the Hermit. The introspection aspect of both cards is a common tie, but it is the nature of the introspection that varies – the Hermit turns inward to learn and grow, while the man in the Four of Cups seems to be trying to ignore reality rather than learn more about it. The Four of Swords shares this self-removal with the Four of Cups, but again the thing that varies is the nature of the alone time: The Four of Swords asks for silence for contemplation and lack of movement, while the Four of Cups displays a less healthy denial of outward input.