9 of Cups

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The 9 of Cups, sometimes referred to as the wish card, is one of the few unequivocally positive cards in the entire Tarot deck.

When the Nine of Cups Minor Arcana card appears in Tarot readings, it indicates that you are in a fruitful and fulfilling place in your life where you have both the material things you need and a deep sense of emotional satisfaction. You are truly recognising the blessings that the cosmos has bestowed upon you so far, and are feeling grateful and appreciative of everything you have.

This doesn’t mean that things are necessarily going to be smooth sailing from here on out – like the character in the Nine of Cups Tarot card you likely have ambitions and goals still waiting to be fulfilled. But because you are in a stable, nurturing and positive place, you are coming from a place of strength and balance as you go about setting and reaching for new goals and accomplishments.

When the Nine of Cups shows up in its reversed position, its positive Tarot card meanings are flipped on their head. In this case, gratitude becomes ungratefulness and contentment becomes entitlement. Among other things, the 9 of Cups reversed can be a wakeup call, telling you that you are focusing on the wrong things and are looking at the one dark cloud in the clear blue sky.

What the Cups mean in Tarot

In the pictorial language of the Tarot, the Minor Arcana suit of Cups represents the water element, just as the suit of Wands embodies fire, the suit of Pentacles earth and the suit of Swords air.

The element of water is associated with emotion and feeling, interpersonal connection, intuition, dreams and psychic perceptions.

Numerological number 9 in Tarot

The number 9, according to numerology, contains all of the previous single digit numbers within it. It represents both fulfilment and finality, but also transition. The very shape of the number forms a spiral, a portal leading to a higher state of being.

9 of Cups Tarot card description

Depictions of the 9 of Cups card differ between different Tarot decks, but most of them are based on the classic Rider-Waite Tarot and includes its essential symbols and details.

The man

The main character in the Nine of Cups Tarot card is a man seated on a wooden bench in front of his collection of golden chalices. His arms are crossed and his face is beaming – he looks both proud and content, pleased with his situation and his accomplishments.

The man is dressed in a white tunic and wears a red hat with a feather plume. The tunic’s colour suggests purity and clarity of character and intent, while the red hat suggests drive and passion. The man’s expression speaks for itself.

The wooden bench that the man is sat on indicates that, while being satisfied with what he has accomplished so far, he is by no means complacent. Rather, he has only paused for a moment to relish his achievements before he is on to the next one.

The nine golden cups

Behind the man, lined up on a structure covered in blue cloth, are nine golden cups or chalices.

In the Tarot, cups represent emotional fulfilment and satisfaction. While we don’t know much about the man’s material wealth, one look at the many cups he has in his possession tells us that he is a very wealthy man when it comes to emotional attainment, pleasure and overall life satisfaction.

9 of Cups Tarot card meanings

When the upright Nine of Cups appears in Tarot readings, it is always positive news. Here are some of the most prominent Nine of Cups Tarot card meanings.

Wish come true

A key upright Nine of Wands Tarot card meaning is wishes coming true.

The Nine of Cups often shows up in Tarot readings when a long-held wish has just, perhaps unexpectedly, come true. Needless to say, the result is happiness and great emotional pleasure at having accomplished, achieved or received something you have been hoping and striving for.

A successful outcome

Closely related to the wish fulfilment aspect of the Nine of Cups Tarot card is a successful outcome.

Whether you have been waiting to hear back from a prospective new employer, your doctor regarding the results of your CAT scan, or have been trying to attract the attention a new love interest, the Nine of Cups indicates a successful and positive outcome to your hopes or efforts.

Emotional contentment

The Nine of Cups card is not always related to a specific situation and can sometimes point to an overall, general sense of emotional contentment and happiness.

You may not have achieved every goal or dream you ever set out to achieve, but you view your current surroundings and situation with a sense of appreciation and you have every confidence in your own ability to keep growing as a person.

Gratitude

The Nine of Cups signifies a sense of gratitude.

You are not oblivious to the blessings you have in your life – on the contrary, you are deeply grateful for what you have learned, experienced and achieved in your life so far. Of course, when you are grateful for what you already have and are viewing your life through a lens of love and appreciation, any success, abundance and love you that exists in your life is likely to grow. What you focus on, you get more of.

Reversed 9 of Cups Tarot card meanings

When the Nine of Cups card shows up reversed in Tarot readings, its meanings become inverted and distorted. Here are some of the most common Nine of Cups reversed Tarot card meanings.

Dissatisfaction

A key reversed Nine of Cups Tarot card meaning is dissatisfaction.

Whereas the upright Nine of Cups Tarot card meaning suggests satisfaction, appreciation and gratitude for your life and the people and blessings in it, the reversal flips all of these positive connotations on their heads, to the point where they turn into their negative counterparts.

Overindulgence, greed

The Nine of Cups reversed can be a sign of overindulgence and greed.

Because you are emotionally dissatisfied and unfulfilled, you might find yourself trying to fill that void by overindulging in an excess of food, alcohol, shopping etc.

Toxic materialism

The Nine of Cups reversed sometimes indicates toxic materialism, a hyper-focus on acquiring possessions and deriving happiness exclusively from what you own and what you earn. You might value money, status and even fame over authentic happiness and connection.

Here, instead of being able to appreciate things like nature and the quality of the relationships you have with the people around you, you are focusing exclusively on external markers of happiness and worthiness. In other words, you are placing yourself in a vulnerable position where you are completely at the mercy of the outside world by letting it dictate your emotional state.

Shattered dreams

Since the upright Nine of Cups is the wish fulfilment card, the reversed Nine of Cups might indicate dreams that have been crushed or shattered.

You might have been putting all of the hard work and good energy, and yet the great romance you were hoping for has failed to manifest, your book launch flopped, or you got passed over for the dream job that was just within reach.

Nine of Cups Tarot card interpretations

The Nine of Cups contains within it a plethora of meaning. Which ones of its many layers and facets of meaning stand out in any particular Tarot reading is always going to depend on a number of moving parts, including any other cards that show up in the reading, and the individual Tarot reader’s take on the card. Here are some examples of how the Nine of Cups might be interpreted in the context of different readings.

What the Nine of Cups symbolises in a love Tarot reading

Upright

The Nine of Cups is a decidedly good omen when it comes up in a love life Tarot reading.

It indicates that all is well with the world when it comes to your relationship or romantic explorations. You are in a positive place and are having a great time simply enjoying what you have. You are feeling secure in your romantic relationships and you are in a position to freely express your feelings, safe in the knowledge that they are being reciprocated.

Reversed

This is not exactly turning out to be the relationship of your dreams.

You are not having much success with the person you are involved with, or the romance you wished for keeps evading you. There is an overall sense of emotion dissatisfaction and of desire not being fulfilled or met. Don’t sit on your feelings, but open up about what your needs and wishes are. A lack of communication is often at the root of relationship problems.

What the Nine of Cups symbolises in a career Tarot reading

Upright

The Nine of Cups is undoubtedly one of the most pleasant cards that could come up in terms of your career.

You are in a positive place and are actually having an excellent time when you are rolling your sleeves up and getting on with the work. Your financial situation is secure. What’s more, you have obtained a level of success, achievement, clout or experience that you can be proud of, as well as build on top of. The self satisfaction you are feeling in relation to your career is entirely justified.

Reversed

The Nine of Cups is bad news when it comes to its career meaning.

Your current work situation is not bringing you much joy. Sure, it may provide you with the money you need to eat and keep a roof over your head, but it doesn’t have much to offer in terms of emotional fulfilment. Perhaps you have learned all of the skills that the job had to offer, or perhaps your relationships with some of your colleagues or superiors is strained and forced. Whatever the issue may be, consider whether it is time for you to move on. Where might you put your active mind and talents to better use?

Lucius Nothing

Lucius has been slinging tarot cards professionally since 2014. He’s taken the tarot to places most wouldn’t think of: His best-known patrons include Torture Garden, The Dark Circus Party, Handel & Hendrix, A Curious Invitation and The Candlelight Club, where he has been resident tarot reader for the past half-decade. His writing on divination, magic and creativity has been published in Sabbat Magazine and on Medium.

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