When you see the Six of Cups and the Four of Pentacles together, there is a good chance that someone is holding on to the past. With the Six of Cups reversed, that past probably has too much of a hold over them, and might even include trauma experienced in a family situation or a relationship, which could include abuse, neglect, instability or insecurity. As a result, that person could have difficulty letting go as well as being closed off to new experiences.
The Six of cups has a child-like energy to it. It speaks of innocence, security, feeling loved and protected, maybe even a love relationship of the seemingly fairytale variety. It is just as likely that you are experiencing this energy as happy memories.
So what happens when the Six of Cups is inverted and that energy becomes blocked or distorted in some way? It could be that you are simply stuck in the past, longing for the days when you were carefree and innocent like a child. Adulting can have it’s downside, and even people who are good at it wouldn’t mind taking a break from it once in a while. Oh, to have nothing more to worry about than homework, have your dinner made for you, and be tucked into bed at night. Recalling those days is fine, dwelling on them could get a bit depressing for some people.
On the other hand, there could be something darker going on here. Maybe there was an abusive parent, or a lack of security in the home—instability either in a living situation or a parental relationship, apathy, or abuse for example. Maybe the reason that person is stuck in the past is because of childhood trauma that has stuck with them into their adult life. Or, if this card is part of a reading about a past relationship, maybe the fairytale was more of a nightmare behind closed doors.
The Four of Pentacles reinforces this inability to let go of the past. Not only that, but there is a wall of defence around this person—they are not going to let themselves be hurt again. Sure, they are protected, rooted in the material, safe in their own world, but they are closed off from everything else. The Symbolism of the RWS Four of Pentacles couldn’t be more obvious—one coin blocking the heart chakra, another blocking the crown chakra, and one for each foot, blocking the connection to earth. Most of these coins are held as tightly as possible—this security is not getting away from me! But what is the cost? Life is to be experienced, and it is at it’s best when we can be open and vulnerable with each other. These cards together can indicate that there is some serious healing to be done in order to get to that openness.
I recently did a reading where the Six of Cups reversed came up as the root of the situation, and the Four of Pentacles came up as an action card. Why would someone be advised to take up the energy of the Four of Pentacles? Perhaps because the Four of Pentacles also speaks of setting boundaries. So maybe the energy of the Six of Cups reversed is still very much active—it’s hard to heal while you’re still in the midst of whatever you need to heal from, even when what you’re experiencing is more memory than events transpiring in real time. In this case, the Four of Pentacles might be advising that person that they do need to put up a wall around themselves, at least for the short term, in order to get stop feeling all that negativity from the Six of Cups reversed. There’s a bit of yin and yang going on here, because the Four of Pentacles is about holding on to things too. Letting go of past pain is easier said than done. Well of course it is. But remember that the minor arcana cards are about transient energy. Do what you need to do for now. This too shall pass, though you may need to put in the work to put the past in the past.