The eight of cups denotes walking away from a situation that has simply played itself out. There is no sadness, regret, or remorse here. If you look at the depiction of this archetype in the Rider Waite version of this card, you will notice all eight cups are still upright. Nothing has spilled out, and nothing is lost. There is harmony. There are no hard feelings. It is just time to walk away. Simple as that.
In the reversed position however, the story is a little different. Yes, you are still walking away from a situation, but the feeling and the attitude about it is not the same. There is that moment when you realize that a situation is as bad for you as it can be and you realize that this is not what you want, that this situation is detrimental to your spirit. This is the moment when you either become a martyr or use this feeling of negativity to propel yourself to a better feeling situation for yourself. In the reversed position, the eight of cups suggests a martyr complex.
In the reversed situation, we no longer see somebody walking away from a situation with their head held high, accepting the need for change with dignity. No, here we have a “poor me” attitude. “This is just so terrible! Look what this is doing to me! Look at what I have to put up with!” This is not somebody who can walk away with equanimity. They have to make sure everybody knows their suffering. Those bearing witness to the suffering may consider it to be overly dramatic and downright obnoxious.
When the eight of cups comes up for you in the reversed position, ask yourself, “What’s the big deal? Do I have to drag other people into my problems? Can’t I deal with this simply and in my own way?” If it is time to walk away and be done with it, just do it. Be thought of as somebody who can handle life’s adversities without being bowled over by them, and not as somebody who can’t handle a little trouble.