The Nine of Cups is the next-to-last pips card in the suit of Cups. This means that it represents the final step before the completion of a cycle.
If you look at the suit of Cups as a story, then the Nine of Cups is the descending action right before the conclusion.
It’s the start of a happy ending, where wishes come true and hard work pays off.
About Nine of Cups
- Keywords: Joy, fulfillment, dreams coming true, celebration
- Keywords (Reversed): Misery, failure, unhappiness
- Yes or No: Yes
- Yes or No (Reversed): No
- Element: Water
- Zodiac Sign: Pisces
The Nine of Cups is a very satisfying card to get. In the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, it’s oddly calming — there are no gray skies, no mountains, and no signs of strife, struggle, or obstacles.
Pamela Colman Smith illustrated this card as a happy man who appears to be wealthy. He’s dressed in immaculate white clothing, and wears a plumed red hat. He’s sitting on a seat, with his arms folded over his chest and a very pleased expression on his face.
Behind him, there’s a kind of semi-circular shelf draped in a blue cloth. Nine golden cups sit atop it in a neat row.
The story here seems to be that the man has worked hard to obtain all that he desires. Even though he’s a regular man — he isn’t dressed like any of the kings in the deck — he’s still living a very satisfying, enjoyable life.
Cups represents the element of water, which deals with the emotions. Even though this man appears to be wealthy, this card generally doesn’t deal with material wealth.
Instead, he’s enjoying deep emotional fulfillment. His wishes have come true, including those that have nothing to do with money.
Nine of Cups Meaning (Upright)
The Nine of Cups upright is a sign of happiness. If you’ve been going through hard times, they’re about to ease up. If you’ve been working toward a goal, you’re about to achieve it. It’s a sign of fulfillment, success, joy, and overwhelming positivity.
Notice the way that the cups are arranged behind the central figure, almost like an audience sitting in a balcony. In addition to success and pleasure, this card also related to positive recognition.
Nine of Cups Meaning (Reversed)
When reversed, the Nine of Cups usually represents one of two things: Either dreams that go unrealized, or desires that are fulfilled in the worst way possible.
Like wishes answered by a malicious genie or a monkey’s paw, the goals represented by the Nine of Cups reversed seem to be overwhelmingly disappointing. It has connotations of things “going horribly right.”
See also: Check out alternate Tarot decks here.
Nine of Cups Meaning – Love & Relationships (Upright)
The Nine of Cups upright is one of the best omens in the deck when it comes to love and relationships. The suit of Cups deals with emotional matters, so this card indicates a very loving, thriving, harmonious relationship.
This partnership is fulfilling on every level, from the physical to the spiritual. In the future position of a relationship spread, it can also indicate engagement, marriage, or pregnancy.
This card is also great for single people. It represents being emotionally healthy, confident, and secure enough to nurture a relationship. This is a good time to meet potential partners.
Nine of Cups Meaning – Love & Relationships (Reversed)
If the Nine of Cups is reversed in a love or relationship reading, it usually indicates disappointment. You may have goals for the relationship that you and your partner haven’t achieved, or you may have done so only to find that they don’t fulfill you.
You may have gotten married, and discovered that marriage isn’t what you’d hoped for. You may even have had a child, only to be disappointed by parenthood.
In some cases, it can also represent the end of a relationship’s “honeymoon period,” and feelings of tedium and stagnation.
For single people, the Nine of Cups reversed may indicate lacking the confidence and maturity for a healthy relationship. It can also hint that you’ve felt let down by your previous partners, or are engaging in unfulfilling, shallow relationships.
Nine of Cups Meaning – As Feelings (Upright)
As far as cards about feelings go, few of them are better than the Nine of Cups upright. This person feels relaxed, happy, and fulfilled around you.
They enjoy your time together and feel like you really appreciate them. It’s a card of overwhelmingly positive emotions.
Nine of Cups Meaning – As Feelings (Reversed)
Reversed, the Nine of Cups says that this person feels positively toward you, but not as much as they’d like. Something is missing here.
There could be an emotional disconnection, mismatched life goals, or just a lack of a certain spark. This person wants to be fulfilled by you, but it’s just not clicking the way it should.
Nine of Cups Meaning – As Reconciliation (Upright)
The Nine of Cups upright hints at a happy reconciliation. Your ex recognizes what they lost and they’re not happy about it.
They either remember feeling happy and fulfilled and they want that again, or they know that your relationship could be a source of that feeling and want to work toward that with you. A successful reconnection is likely.
Nine of Cups Meaning – As Reconciliation (Reversed)
The Nine of Cups reversed points to a lack of certainty. Your ex may feel like they should’ve been happier in your relationship, but something kept that from happening.
Was it them? Was it you? They’re not sure if a reconciliation is a good idea right now, so they’re not likely to try for one.
Nine of Cups Meaning – Careers, Business & Money (Upright)
When it comes to careers and business, the Nine of Cups is a great omen. It doesn’t always indicate lots of material wealth, but it points to success, happiness, and a sense of fulfillment.
Even if your current job isn’t making you rich, chances are you’re in a position that helps you thrive. Since this card deals with recognition, it’s likely that you’ll also be seeing a promotion, award, or some kind of acknowledgement of your hard work soon.
If this card shows up specifically in a financial context, then it can indicate prosperity. Money is flowing in like water, and you’re likely to feel very happy and secure right now.
Be sure to use some of your abundance to help people who aren’t doing as well as you are, and you’ll feel even better.
Nine of Cups Meaning – Careers, Business & Money (Reversed)
For career and business readings, the Nine of Cups reversed often reveals that a job you once loved has become a problem.
You might have entered a field for fame, fulfillment, or wealth, and found that those things come with a very high price. It may also indicate that you’re having a real problem finding a job that brings you joy, or feel like all of your hard work has been for nothing.
In financial readings, it can represent investments or money goals that don’t turn out as expected. You may find that moneymaking ventures end up costing more or returning less than you’d hoped.
Beware of scams that promise incredible results with minimal time and effort.
Nine of Cups: Yes or No?
The Nine of Cups is a very positive card. In a “Yes or No” reading, it’s a very strong “Yes.” Considering that it represents success, fulfillment, and your dreams coming true, that’s probably not too surprising!
When the Nine of Cups is reversed, however, the opposite is true. This card is a strong “No.” It takes all of the positive energy of the upright Nine of Cups and flips it on its head, becoming a symbol of frustration and shattered hopes.
The Nine of Cups is a wonderful card. When it shows up upright, it’s like a sigh of relief. It tells stories of dreams made reality and wishes fulfilled.
When reversed, it becomes a dark reflection of itself. It describes situations where the things we desire end up causing us pain instead, and cautions us against deceiving ourselves with our expectations.
See also: For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our full list of free Tarot Card Meanings here.
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