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9 Cups - new insights

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 02 Sep 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Soraya  02 Sep 2002 
I would like to share the following experience with you which brought me new insights regarding the 9 Cups.

Up until now I have always thought that the 9 Cups is an easy card to read. It's the wish card, right? Well, I have come to know better.

The 9 Cups was my monthly card for August in the yearly overview spread which I did for 2002 in the beginning of the year. "Oh goodie," I though. "August is going to be a great month. Some wishes will come true. I'll be very happy ..."

Well, I was wrong. No wishes came true in August. In fact, nothing spectacular happened to me. Quite on the contrary. I was feeling very down this last month. So I have come to the conclusion that the 9 Cups really symbolised something quite different in this instance: it was about the missing cup. It was about realising that even though my life is filled with good things and I have nothing to complain about, there is something missing (the 10th cup) and there are things under that long table-cloth which I have turned my back to and fear to face.

I should have known, really, that August was not going to be marvellous, considering that the previous months were represented by 5 wands, 7 swords, 3 swords and 7 pents. Not very positive cards altogether.

So now I know that there is much more depth to 9 Cups than I though and that there is a darker side to that card too.


amyel  02 Sep 2002 
Soraya, you are right on one level - it is, overall, an optimistic card. But...Anthony Louis' "Tarot: Plain & Simple" indicates the reverse of this card is, in fact, unrealistic dreams, self-centered-ness, not getting what you want - or getting/having what you want, but "rubbing people's faces" in it.

NOW! I am *not* suggesting you do this, but there is a negative side to this card that alot of folk try to ignore. You've found it. I don't know whether to say 'I'm sorry" or "Congratulations! One less lesson to learn!"

I'm sorry August was a crappy month for you - the last two weeks have been for me, too. It might have something to do with the astrological forces at work (Mercury trining something - see the Astrology forum a little lower on the page - I'm not great at astrology, as you can tell by my technical languauge here...LOL).

So be gentle on your cards (and yourself!) - maybe they *were* indicating good things after a difficult time. Personally, I think Tarot can only show what is possible given a certain set of parameters...maybe one of your earlier parameters wasn't met or changed? 

Jenny-Li  02 Sep 2002 
THANK YOU so much for sharing this insight! I get the 9 of Cups a lot, even when I'm very down, perhaps this way of thinking can get me to find the 10th cup, or at least to open my eyes to seek for it instead of just glooming around...!

I use the Robin Wood mostly, so the table cloth thing doesn't quite apply for me, but I have always thought the wide smile the man has, shows a certain potentiality towards the grotesque, you knowthe kind of smile that can turn into a stale grin of horror or sorrow... (Or maybe I just read too many Stephen King-ooks when I was a kid...! ;)) You know like the second you realize what you have planned on has a tiny little detail missing that you just haven't thought of...

Thanks, once more, for sharing!
Light and love,
Jenny :) 

Alex  17 Sep 2002 
meaning of "easy pleasure" or "incomplete pleasure" and even "denial" associated with the reversed meaning of this card. The nine of cups reversed may indicate an addiction, either to substances or processes. One can get addicted to alcohol, cocaine, gambling, sex, TV, Internet, psychoterapy, or "games people play", what ultimately is a way to avoid facing oneself and to avoid achieving intimacy in a relationship.

So it's not a "good" card but it's a card of wish granted or pleasure or enjoyment that may have a healthy or not-so-healthy component and that may come to one's benefit on the long run, or to one's ruin and misery.

It all depends. 

Diana  18 Sep 2002 

Sea Sprite  21 Sep 2002 
Wow...thanks for sharing Soraya! I was like you, thinking that its the wish card, a really positive card now I know better. :) 

nina  24 Sep 2002 
I am a new member and I'm sure, compared to most here, a beginner at tarot.
The Barbara Walker deck is not my favorite, but I love the way she handles the pips in cups and wands. The nine of cups is called "happiness" and the picture looks almost insipidly sweet. An attractive couple holing hands over a beautiful floral dias which displays the ninth cup and the other eight are arranged around them. They are in a peaceful, semi-tropical grove. It always spoke to me of a superficial contentment, the desire to stop short of real fufillment and rest on your laurels. The ten in her deck is called "salvation". It's a much more austere picture of Elaine pointing Gallahad down the road to the grail. At the end of the road is a steep peak he must climb to reach the castle. The trees in this card are not palm-like but evergreens.

Moongold  24 Sep 2002 
Great discussion.

I get this card a bit too. Rachel Pollack has a fairly benign interpretation: " .....avoiding worry and problems by concentrating on ordinary pleasures........At times, especially after troubles or a period of long hard work, nothing can serve us better than a simple good time"

In the Morgan Greer the card depicts a jolly, well fed looking character with a contented smile on his/her face underneath the nine cups. I got a bit concerned about the possibly connotations of complacency, self-centredness et al, but it really depends on the context. Sometimes it is good for people to lighten up and have a good time. Taking a break from ceaseless introspection or hard work can't be a bad thing!

One of the beaut things about the Tarot is that it is only a window at a particalar time. Tomorrow a reading might indicate that I need to behave a little differently about a particular matter.

Thanks for the discussion!


Trogon  25 Sep 2002 
I have had the 9 Cups come up in a couple of readings for friends. And, interestingly enough, I had it come up just yesterday in a 5-card linear layout for an internet friend. It came up in the first position - indicating something in the past. I interpreted the card as simply indicating happiness and material success, but not a deep spiritual happiness. She had just gotten her seasonal job back a few weeks ago. She said she had been enjoying the time off from work but was very glad to be getting back to it and getting off of unemployment insurance - naturally she makes more money at work than on U.I.

I was using the Röhrig Tarot. The 9 Cups in this deck shows the 9 cups as being images on flags or banners - indicating (to me) a thinness or instability to the happiness being discussed. The little bit of text showing from behind the image has the words "happiness", "overflowing love", "deep joy", "blessing" and "rapture". The LWB for the Röhrig Tarot has this for the 9 Cups card: "carelessness; pleasure; joie de vivre; sociability, team spirit." So it is indicating the pleasure in the material parts of life.

Just my $0.05 worth... ;) 

ihcoyc  25 Sep 2002 
My personal key phrase for 9 Cups has ever been, Now, it's Miller time. I never interpreted it so much as getting your wish as with basic material and emotional happiness.

In my readings, all the 9's have more or less the meaning of "a complete fulfilment of the promise or gifts of the suit." The 9 is a card of pure emotional satisfaction, of rest, of jolliment and joie de vivre, but it isn't so much a matter of your wishes coming true as much as it is a good party.

Reversed, something is hidden or askew here. You may wake up with a terrible hangover come the morrow. }) 

juice  26 Sep 2002 
Although Mythic agrees with versions already stated: reward for efforts made and validation of ones commitment. time of satisfaction and pleasure, ancestral path and medicine woman have a slightly different view. Comeing home to your spiritual family is the shorter one. Ancestral's LWB include community rituals and interesting reverses, hollow rituals, meaningless celebrations and events devoid of substance.

Medicine woman brings out another point. You have reached a point where you realize that you are not alone and that there is world out there to reach out to. This leads to the more permanancy of the 10.

This reminds me of the nine of pents discussion where we wondered why the woman was so alone. 

The 9 Cups - new insights thread was originally posted on 02 Sep 2002 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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