Nine of Cups Explained - Upright & Reversed Meanings
Last Updated: November 7, 2023
The Nine of Cups is the ninth card in the Suit of Cups (also known as the suit of Goblets or Vessels) and one of the fifty-six suit cards from the minor arcana. In divinatory tarot, the Suit of Cups is typically associated with the element of water. It traditionally represents emotions, intuition, relationships, and creativity. Each card of this suit can provide insight into different aspects of our lives such as love, friendship, family, and emotional well-being.
The Nine of Cups is a self-interested and introspective card that taps into this watery realm of our feelings, intuition and innermost desires. Let’s dive deep into the symbolism of the Nine of Cups and discover the treasures it holds.
Divination practices such as cartomancy can help us make decisions, offer guidance, and help us tune into our intuition when we are at a crossroads in our lives. Understanding the meanings of each tarot card can help you sharpen your interpretative skills so you can get the most out of your readings.
In this article, we will discuss the meanings of the Nine of Cups in various tarot reading contexts as well as the different symbols and nuances that can be found within this court card.
Pictorial Symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck
The Nine of Cups, also known as the “wish card”, depicts a man sitting in front of a table with nine golden cups arranged behind him. He appears satisfied and content, with a smug expression on his face. All nine lined-up cups represent emotional fulfillment and abundance. The man in the card has achieved material and emotional success, having everything he desires. The man is seated with his arms crossed, which symbolizes a feeling of self-satisfaction and self-assurance. In regards to his hat, the color red symbolizes passion, energy, and confidence.
This suggests that the man in the card is confident and self-assured and that his thoughts (on his head) are of his desires and passions. The blue background represents calmness, tranquillity, and emotional stability. This also reinforces the idea that this man has achieved emotional fulfillment and balance.
In theory, the nine cups, with the posture of this man’s placement, reminds us to take pleasure in our accomplishments and to appreciate the abundance in our lives.
The Nine of Cups key correspondences
Wishes coming true, dreams actualised, self-care, treating yourself, positivity, joy, contentment, satisfaction, celebration, success, fame, pleasure and acclaim.
Unfulfilled wishes, unhappiness, broken promises, burnout, self-hatred, addiction, neglecting needs, dissatisfaction, depression, and disappointment.
|Yes or No|
Jupiter and Neptune
Jupiter in Pisces
March 1st - March 10th
What does the upright Nine of Cups mean in the Tarot?
The Nine of Cups symbolizes the reward from “you’ve done it!”, whatever it is this cycle. Lining up your accomplishments you’ll see you’ve got exactly what you wanted, although it doesn’t necessarily mean it is what is best for you.
When you wish for something, and work hard to accomplish it, then there is so much more satisfaction to reap from your success. Take pride in the hard work you put into making this come to fruition, but also remember that sometimes it is worth putting the effort into something that may not have the most immediate gratification.
Additionally to this, being handed everything on a platter can take the substance out of the reward for you. This card could be an indication that you’re not taking responsibility for your success, and this can lead to a feeling of emptiness.
Generally speaking, this is a happy card, of joy and prosperity and abundance. Finding some positivity provides you with fulfilment, so if this hasn’t been the case for you recently this card placement may indicate that it is time to find joy in the little things.
Appreciate what you have and feel contentment, joy and satisfaction in every aspect of your life. If you have been working hard towards a goal and feel that it has nearly reached its completion, the Nine of Cups could be an indication that you are on the right track, and that your wishes or goals will soon be realized.
What does the upright Nine of Cups mean in a love reading
When this card appears in a love reading the Nine of Cups card can mean that your wish for a loving relationship has been fulfilled. It could be an indication that you have found the perfect partner to make all of your dreams come true, heading towards your Ten of Cups moment, as well as you feel emotionally fulfilled and contented.
It could also be a sign that in order for your relationship to move forward, it’s time to let go of certain expectations and accept the person for who they are. Showing unconditional love to your partner will be essential in order to truly experience the depths that your relationship potential holds, making sure that any issues and obstacles are faced together.
If you’re single, the upright Nine of Cups indicates that this period of self-love and self-care is paying off. You’re finding the balance between your needs and wants, and you’re feeling emotionally content.
This is a great time to take the plunge in looking for someone special, if you want to, and to make sure that you’re taking the right steps towards manifesting your perfect relationship.
What does the upright Nine of Cups mean in a career reading?
The Nine of Cups in the context of your career can represent a job well done. It could be an indication that you have been successful in achieving your goals and ambitions, and this is reflected in the rewards which may be a pay rise, more vacation time or even a promotion that helps you build more of a personal life that you want.
It could also be an indication that the effort you are putting into your job is being seen, and it’s time to step back and appreciate how much you really have achieved. This is a good reminder to take a moment and appreciate the abundance in your life, especially with regards to how far you’ve come and the impact you’ve made. It’s truly a congratulatory moment.
What does the upright Nine of Cups mean in a health reading?
When the Nine of Cups is pulled up in a health reading it can generally indicate you should take some time to rest now that you’ve been working so hard to make your life a better place for you.
It could be a reminder to take some time for yourself, whether it’s doing something you enjoy or just taking some time to relax and reflect. Nine’s in tarot are typically quite reflective and introspective anyway, and as one cycle of your life is coming to a close, this Nine is sharing that looking back with love and gratitude could be beneficial for the next phase – which will massively impact how you feel in general, including your health.
Find ways to limit overindulgence, and ensure that money stress is not part of your daily routine – you deserve a break from the worries and emotional pressures right now.
The Nine of Cups as feelings/emotions
In the context of feelings and specific emotions, the 9 of Cups tarot card can indicate your feelings of joy, emotional contentment and satisfaction. It could be a sign that you have been working hard towards achieving something in life, and the pleasure from triumphs make that life feel a little bit easier right now. Be wary of being too prideful or too snobby, and don’t let your success get to your head.
If you are wondering how someone else feels about you, the Nine of Cups suggests that they are relaxed, enamoured and so proud to have you in their life. They feel lucky just knowing you, that you make life happen with them and for them, and that they can completely trust in you.
It could also be a sign of them giving you the green light to move forward with something, as they are wishing for more. This calls for a very intimate conversation, so don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with this person at this time.
The Nine of Cups as a person
As a personality archetype, the Nine of Cups represents a person who is sometimes handed things very easily, like a Socialite, Influencer or a Businessperson born through what could be considered as nepotism (but not necessarily making them a bad person!).
They are often very successful and have a lot of material wealth, but it’s important to remember that the Nine of Cups is also indicative of when someone has worked hard for their status and comfort, which is just as admirable.
This person looks to lead a life of inner peace and contentment, with a strong sense of security. They are very generous and supportive of their inner circle, especially with emotional support – they will always be there to listen and help out where they can, even if it means making sacrifices.
They have a big heart and will often try to give too much, so it’s important for this person to take time for self-care and recharge.
The Nine of Cups as advice
If you are asking the tarot for advice regarding a specific situation in your life, pulling the Nine of Cups advises you to appreciate the things you have worked for, and be grateful for those that you haven’t. It’s time to look at what you have created and the successes in your life. Celebrate them, then make room for more by letting go of anything not serving your highest good.
Additionally, it reminds you that physical and emotional comforts should be appreciated, but also can lead to complacency and stagnation. Seek out opportunities to challenge yourself, as this will encourage growth and expansion of your life’s journey.
Finally, take action on what you have expressed to yourself and others, as this will create lasting satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. This means if you are the type of person to say “I’d love to just work remotely from Portugal and enjoy Mediterranean living” to friends or loved ones, ensure that not only do your actions support this (such as looking for a new role or job that gives you this opportunity, or having a more serious conversation with family about it) but also look within to see if it would really provide you with a route to inner happiness.
What is the zodiac or astrological sign associated with the Nine of Cups?
Pisces is the zodiac sign associated with the Nine of Cups. Pisces is a mutable feminine water sign known for its empathy, sensitivity and intuition. This sign is all about emotion, as it looks to understand and befriend the unknown.
People with strong Jupiter in Pisces energy have the ability to manifest their dreams into reality, as they can envision a better world and create it. They have an incredible creative power, so don’t sleep on calling them if you need help bringing something to life.
They also love to give and receive unconditional love. With the Nine of Cups, Pisceans are likely to grant wishes, so don’t hesitate to ask for that support. The tarot timing of this card is March 1st to March 10th.
Is the Nine of Cups a yes or no card?
When the Nine of Cups is pulled in the upright position it is a clear ‘yes’. This card is a positive omen of success, abundance and good fortune. It carries the message that whatever you have been hoping or wishing for will manifest itself, but be wary of lacking gratitude and overdoing it – themes like gambling, partying and overindulgence are problems that can accompany this card.
Below are some of my interpretations, as an experienced tarot practitioner, based on different types of questions:
Querent Question: “Will I get the job?”
- Card interpretation: This card brings good news! If it was for a promotion or more money and typically gets you creatively closer to your final career, I’d be very happy to say this is a yes from the tarot.
Querent Question: “Is this new person in my life good for me?”
- Card interpretation: It’s likely to be wary of overdoing it, overindulging and over-partying with this person – but yes. They can offer creative solutions, they can help you get closer to what you wish for, and they can help you start something new that’s exciting.
Querent Question: “Will I achieve my current goals?”
- Card interpretation: The card suggests it’s a yes. The Nine of Cups encourages you to be open to the opportunities that could come with achieving your goals, and don’t let doubt or fear hinder your progress.
Querent Question: “Should I start my own business?”
- Card interpretation: At this time it’s a yes, but before you get into the very labor-intensive work of self-employment, do you think you should check in with yourself and what makes you happy and feel fulfilled? You need to have a strong foundation to work from when starting a business, and I’d prioritize self-care for sure.
What does the reversed Nine of Cups mean in the Tarot?
When the Nine of Cups appears reversed in a tarot reading, it indicates unfulfilled wishes and unhappiness. You may feel disappointed and let down by broken promises, you might be on a road leading to burnout, and generally neglecting your needs.
This can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction, depression, and self-hatred. It’s important to take care of yourself and address any addictions or unhealthy habits that may be contributing to your current state. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help and prioritize your own well-being.
While the reversed Nine of Cups can be a challenging card to receive in a reading, it’s important to remember that it is not a permanent state. It may simply indicate a temporary setback or a delay in achieving your goals and desires. It’s possible that you may be struggling with the feeling of unfulfilled wishes or broken promises, leading to more feelings of unhappiness or disappointment. It’s genuinely important to take a step back and assess whether your goals and desires are truly aligned with your values and needs, and that’s why this card has shown in this position.
Dissatisfaction with our life and depression are all potential risks when we become too fixated on external validation, and ignore our own emotional well-being. It’s now a gentle reminder to take care of yourself and prioritize your own happiness and satisfaction. This may involve taking a break, seeking support from loved ones, or even seeking professional help if necessary.
Remember that it’s okay to ask for help and take the time you need to heal and move forward.
What does the reversed Nine of Cups mean in a love reading?
When this 9 of Cups appears reversed in a love reading it is a callout card. Where are you not providing your love life with an indulgent dose of self-love? What’s the dissatisfaction coming from here?
If you’ve recently gone through a breakup, this card is calling you towards more self-care and self-preservation at this time. Don’t look to seek happiness through partying all the time or being seen out having a great time, no. This is a time for connecting with you, and prioritizing your health, your well-being, and being around those who truly love you who want what’s best for you.
If you’re already in a relationship, this card is asking you to be mindful of how much you’re giving away. Are you sacrificing too much of your time and energy? Do you find yourself saying yes too much or feeling like you’re not getting enough in return? It’s important to make sure that the relationship is balanced and healthy, that both sides are getting what they need.
If it’s for someone who is single, it suggests that you are focusing too much on the idea of finding love and not enough on a relationship with yourself. The reversed Nine of Cups is an indication to pause and reflect on what it is you really want to wish for here.
How can another person love you like you want, when you are seeking it outside of yourself? Why are you not deserving of a date, a new gift, words of affirmation or acts of service to yourself with yourself first? This reversed card is flagging that you do not need someone to save you from singledom, but to join you on a journey as you have a fierce and fiery love for yourself.
What does the inverted Nine of Cups mean in a career reading?
In a career reading this card is a sign of concern, as it can signal a lack of motivation or satisfaction with your current job. You may find that the work you’re doing is not providing you with the challenge or reward you desire.
The reversed Nine of Cups is a reminder to take the time to assess the state of your career and work out what it is that you really want. It’s important to prioritize your goals and make sure they are in alignment with your values and needs. Make sure to take the time to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and use this information to pursue the career that you truly want.
This card may also be looking at greed; not just financial, but power and authority too. But by taking on all of the tasks, being the “go-to” person for a task, being the main port of call and the one in “control” are you already overburdening yourself? Are you putting yourself at risk of burnout and imbalance?
This card calls out such behaviour, and therefore it comes with a warning of the costs to indulge in this behaviour. Be mindful of your decisions and actions in the workplace lovely, and maybe temporarily put a few things on pause or step back from it all.
What does the upside-down Nine of Cups mean in a health reading?
Pulling the Nine of Cups reversed in a health reading can mean you are allowing yourself to head towards burnout, that you’ve not been prioritizing your own needs, and that you may even be at risk of addiction.
It can also be a sign of imbalance, and you need to take time to evaluate your health from all angles. Don’t allow any feelings of discomfort or even low self-esteem to snowball towards self-hatred, as your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
Take time to care for yourself, seek help if necessary, and catch up on any missed self-care.
In conclusion, the Nine of Cups card is a powerful symbol of wishes coming true, dreams actualised, self-care, treating yourself, positivity, joy, contentment, satisfaction, celebration, success, fame, pleasure and acclaim. When this card appears in your reading, it is often a sign that you are in need of some self-care to celebrate all of your accomplishments so far, especially if they’ve got you headed towards burnout. Don’t allow overindulgence to spoil a good time for you.
Despite its association with mysticism and occultism, the tarot has grown to become much more than a simple “fortune-telling” tool. For many tarot practitioners, it is a complex system made of symbolic imagery and psychological considerations (Jungian archetypes for example) that can be used for self-exploration, meditation, and personal transformation.
The 56 lesser arcana cards relate to the day-to-day events of our lives, the more mundane aspects of our existence. Even though that part of the tarot is about the “smaller picture”, it symbolizes the constant choices we make that shape our lives, our characters, and ultimately our destinies.
Have you ever had a reading where the Nine Of Cups appeared? What was the outcome? What does that card mean to you personally? How do you interpret this card in your own tarot practice?
Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below. Additionally, If you want to know more about the different tarot cards, feel free to check out my complete list of all 78 tarot cards and their meanings.
I have been reading Tarot for more than 15 years. I have always enjoyed using my intuition to provide clarity and insights to others. Tarot is one of my favorite forms of divination, and I love sharing that passion with like-minded folks.