The Meaning of
the "Nine of Cups" Tarot Card
Tarot Quick Info
What is the inverted meaning of
the "Nine of Cups"?
The Meaning of
the "Nine of Cups"
The Symbolism of the Nine of Cups:
A successful looking merchant wearing traditional Eastern robes and an elaborate red turban sits gloating on a low wooden bench.
The man appears to be deeply satisfied with himself. His arms are crossed over his chest, and he has an almost smug smile on his face.
In the background, a curved counter draped in blue fabric, arcs around the merchant. Atop the counter, a well-organized display of nine cups is evenly arrayed.
NOTE: Is the man in the Nine of Cups a merchant? Given the man's style of dress — which is foreign to most of the other characters in the Tarot — and the curved, tall counter behind him, it's reasonable to assume that the man is a proud and successful merchant from afar, displaying his wares. But as with anything else in the Tarot, the role of the man in the illustration is open to your interpretation. Other interpretations see him simply as a man who is proud of his wealth.
How to Interpret the Nine of Cups
The Nine of Cups tarot card signifies success, particularly business or career success.
The card does not indicate the end of a journey, but instead references a time of things going well. Independence, business success and rewarding endeavors are indicated here.
While it's important to be proud of one's accomplishments, those successes are merely mile-markers along the road towards ultimate, greater victory.
It's important to note that the Nine of Cups does not just represent "wealth", but rather increasing wealth and increasing success. The merchant in the card is not shown in front of a house or an estate, as is common in other Tarot cards indicating a final state of being wealthy.
The merchant in the Nine of Cups gloats over his place of work — showing pride over his winnings, which are the fruits of his own ongoing labor.
The Nine of Cups is a very promising card with very positive messages: What is strived for is attained. Hard work pays off. Risks are rewarded.
But the Nine of Cups also carries a subtle warning as well:
Save for the fact that the merchant is well dressed, well fed, and proud of himself, no obvious signs of wealth are visible in the card. For all of his obvious self-pride, he sits on a very modest-looking wooden bench.
In other words, true success has not yet been attained. While it's important to be proud of one's accomplishments, those successes are merely mile-markers along the road towards ultimate, greater victory.
Do not rest here, or be too proud of what has been acomplished so far. While bountiful success is indicated by the card, so is pride.
The Nine of Cups Inverted
The reversed Nine of Cups often indicates a false sense of pride. Someone who is resting on their laurels rather than earning their success every day.
While the card in the reversed position may still indicate a level of success, it carries strong warnings about our attitudes towards success.
It may indicate someone who gloats after a minor battle, when the greater war is still not yet won.
It may indicate someone who over-indulges, or someone with a poor work eithic. It may also indicate too great an emphasis on image over subtance. Or it may indicate someone who gloats after a minor battle, when the greater war is still not yet won.
When the Nine of Cups appears reversed in a reading, ask yourself what victories are being taken for granted? Are mere stepping stones along a much longer journey being mistaken for places to stop and relax? Is success inspiring and motivating? Or is someone's success leading to laziness and negative lifestyles?
The inverted Nine of Cups asks us a simple question: When success happens, what happens next?
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