Six of Cups
I believe that if you are familiar with tarot, you have already read a lot of articles which represent Six of Cups in very romanticized manner. There is all about love, pleasure and happily ever after. And of course, if you are doing readings for yourself or others you might be very happy and feel blissful when Six of Cups comes up. And there we come to the topic of big expectations and idealization. You have also probably noticed that very often Six of Cups is related to sexual pleasure and joy in many books and articles about tarot cards meanings. Well, I feel responsible to make something clear here.
There are traditional decks and there are modern decks, more importantly today, there are decks based on Golden Down Riders-Weite tradition and decks based on Crowly's Thoth Tarot, among other currents.
In general vast majority of decks shares similar ideas and philosophy and have something in common, but they also diverge from each other to some degree. There are few cards with which it is more obvious than with the rest of them. And one of them is the famous Six of Cups. So if you are familiar with Thoth tarot or work with it, it is quite normal that Six of Cups for you is majorly about pleasures at all levels, especially those of emotional and sexual nature, speaking in terms of devotion, blissfulness and fulfillment through the physical aspect of love. This description fits also very well with astrological correspondence of this card - Sun in Scorpio, as Scorpio is known as passionate, sensual and potent sign of zodiac which is always seeking sexual pleasures and deep experiences. Based on that, Six of Cups would be manifestation of pleasure in its highest and purest form. Maybe the right words to describe this would be tantric experience. Other side of the Scorpio coin is jealousy, manipulative behavior, vengefulness, strong tendency toward dominance and overpowering others, extreme negative emotions and others which surely don't fit beautiful expression of this card which esoteric name is Lord of Pleasures. No doubt, astrological correspondences applied to certain cards may seem quite lame ;).
Well, enough with Lord of Pleasure from Thoth Tarot, my main focus here is meaning of Six of Cups in RW tarot.
In RW deck, Six of Cups has more innocent tendencies. It is mostly related to childhood, past and memories. It is about the past in term "How something was beautiful once" or "It is not now as good as it was before". In such words we can clearly notice a certain idealization of past events and feelings. There is quite an amount of sentimentality toward the previous life. For this reason Six of Cups is often related to childhood memories, because of people's tendencies to be quite sentimental especially about that part of their lives. There are innocent joy, happiness about small things, early close friends, happy families events etc. Six of Cups is your old photo album, your photos with friends, captured moments from your birthdays, it is also memory and database stored at your comp such movies, music, books what you like, anything what awakes certain feelings in you, anything with which you strongly identify yourself. It won't be wrong if I say that Six of Cups is our personal history. Many things are included in personal history, but in few words personal history is everything what has made you you till today. Which means these are all happenings, events, experiences, especially people, you have strong identification with, those you have strong attachment to, those which have had strong impact on you and everything that means or meant to you a lot.
As you already know, not all memories are positive... their quality will be mostly defined by surrounding cards, or if you use reversed cards in reading, Six of Cups Rx might represent those not so positive memories for you. I personally see reversed cards as weaker influence of upright ones. In the sense of Six of Cups reversed, it would mean to me that influence of the past events is getting weaker, it is still present there but with tendency to fade till finally get overcome, i.e.. lose its importance to me in an emotional sense. Six of Cups Rx is clearing personal history, that's why it makes me satisfied to see it in readings for me or someone else, especially when it's about bad memories. Clearing personal history means we are no longer attached to the past which means we are getting opened to welcome new experiences in our life, to continue our growth, widen our horizons and transform. Being attached to the past, no matter how good are those memories, is a trap. Being sheltered there may seem comfortable, but as you know it's already gone and will never come back in the same form, unfortunately. Such opinion gives a sad and nostalgic tone to this card.
Healthy approach to Six of Cups is to be grateful for those events and people from the past what made you once feel happy and secure, appreciate everything you got from them, return affection if possible but without clinging and being dependent on it. Those memories are there to support you in life and not to prevent you from life. To teach you what you like and dislike, what makes you comfortable so you naturally gravitate to. Being compassionate is another aspect of this card. Six of Cups also reflects your soul mates because, as it's already mentioned, there are certain people in your past who were important to you in one way or another. These people were not necessarily lovers, they could be friends, relatives, even a strangers with whom once you got in touch and it felt important. Since it has strong relation with past, you may find many authors who ascribe past lives as well to this card.
Six of Cups is maybe the only card among 78 which has everything with the past and almost nothing with the present or future. That is its mystery. When it appears in the past position in the spread it has similar meaning as when reversed. When it comes out in future or present positions it means recalling memories or announces appearance of something/someone from your past but not restoring of that past event or connection. These are some hints of how Six of Cups works in practice.
Chakras related to Six of Cups: Sacral and Heart