Apatheia – Virtue of the Four of Cups


We all have our keywords for each tarot card. Some keywords are universal, that they seem to appear everywhere and anywhere tarot is being taught. In this post we examine the Four of Cups and the key word apathy.

Apathy can be defined as a lack of feeling, emotion, interest and concern. The Four of Cups has then been often viewed as a card of indifference and presenting us a perfect image for the word apathy.

However, the word apathy has a deeper meaning, apathy is a Greek word, apatheia (ἀπάθεια), which means “without feeling” from the “a” without and “pathos” emotion. In the philosophical circles of the Stoics, apatheia was something to be desired. For the philosopher, apatheia is freedom from emotions. Freedom from emotions would lead you to ataraxia (ἀταραξία), which is peace of mind, tranquility.

In the ancient world, emotions were viewed as something that happens to you, a thing which we suffer. Emotions are called pathos in Greek and is translated as passion. Pathos has a duel meaning, emotions and suffering. Hence why they call it the Passion of Christ, for Jesus’ story of crucifixion.

Knowing this little bit of knowledge we can view the Four of Cups less of a card of feeling apathetic in the depressive manner. Instead we can view it as a virtuous card that helps us to mind mental tranquility, where external influences do not move us to suffer.

The Apatheia Spread

Use this spread when something is bothering you, to help find peace of mind.

  1. The external influence
  2. The internal influence
  3. How to embrace apatheia
  4. How to obtain ataraxia



The recipient of Tarosophist of the Year 2011, Angelo Nasios is a rising voice in the tarot community. Angelo is known for his popular YouTube channel in which he produces educational tarot videos. Tarot: Unlocking the Arcana, Angelo’s first book will be released by Schiffer Publishing.

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