In Focus: 9 of Cups

Cups 09 SThe 9 of Cups is often perceived as the wish card by many readers. It brings about abundance and in this illustration, we can see a man who has already begun to enjoy the contents of the cups on the shelves behind him. He has one at his feet and could probably still be living the dream.

When we look towards trends for the future in a reading, this is not a bad card to see. In fact, it is actually good, since it could be suggesting that your wishes will manifest in the physical world. If you were looking for some kind of resolution in your tarot reading, then this would herald a positive one.

However, when the card sits in our past, it speaks of wishes which have already been acknowledged. How do we feel about those cups on the shelves? We may have emptied their contents some time ago. Did we get everything we dreamed of? Did we ask for the right things?

9 cups hermitWishes and dreams come with responsibility. We may have enjoyed the blessings bestowed upon us previously, but at what cost? This guy is drinking alone, after all. When the card sits with The Hermit (also a ‘9’), it paints a lonely picture.

These cards could represent a person who’s dreams have ended up separating them from others. Were they a spoilt child or a selfish adult, who’s friends have all disappeared? Does this combination describe the businessman who got everything he wanted, but has nobody to share his dreams with. What is it they say? It’s lonely at the top.

9 Cups temperance copyBut sometimes, the cards can act as a warning or possible deterrent. When Temperance sits with the 9 of Cups, it suggests we monitor and moderate our intake. It might be that we do not want all of our cups at once or do not desire our wishes to be granted without our putting in some of the hard work. Is it really rewarding to receive our greatest wishes without effort? This combination could suggest that we reject the quick-fixes in life and consider whether our wish would really bring lasting satisfaction if it were acknowledged and granted right now.




© Steven Bright Tiferet Tarot 2014

Illustrations by Steven Bright




11 thoughts on “In Focus: 9 of Cups

  1. Oh, that Temperance image is great, Steve! The background colours/record colour, and the concept of mixing – just perfect 🙂 Though I don’t know if my DJ partner would recognise the idea of DJ’s being temperate! 😀


    • I’m really glad you like it, Chloe.

      I really enjoyed the concept of this one, so it is a bonus when someone else likes it also. I thought about the traditional mixing of the cups and then came up with illustrating that ‘mixing’ by using the two different sides of the card (fire and water).

      Then I thought that the idea of using two tunes to make one would be something others could understand in modern society and would be a good example to use when teaching. Maybe the guy is mixing a few modern beats with a little classical?

      I guess we could all be the ‘master mixer’ in our own lives, working out what goes with what and not letting one type of ‘music’ dominate our ‘record collection’.


      • Those are some great additional concepts to bring into the card, and into readings. Hmm, master mixer, or just playing things and seeing how they flow…


        • Thanks Chloe. Making these cards really refreshes the meanings of the cards for me and gives me an opportunity to use my own symbolism when describing their meaning. It is so fun to see other people’s interpretations as well. There will always be things I’d never considered when making them, which is great,


  2. Brilliant image for Temperance! 🙂 Whenever I see the Nine of Cups, I see someone who feels happy and content, but who doesn’t have anyone special (in a committed sort of way) to share it with. Yet I think it is important that a person learn to be content and happy with their own self before they try to truly find the fulfillment of the Ten of Cups. That happiness needs to come from within.


  3. This shows how subjective tarots can be: when I see the Nine of Cups and the Hermit together I see my dreams come true. Peace and quiet, solitude and silence: a piece of heaven 🙂


    • Fab interpretation too! The Hermit is one of my personal cards. I often enjoy to take myself away like the figure in that card, so I can relate to your way of seeing this duo.

      This is the great thing about pairs. You can really pull so much from them. I believe in teaching the traditional meanings, but I’ve met people who find them constrictive. This example just goes to show that a little grounding and study of traditional tarot doesn’t clip the wings of intuition at all. In fact, it aids them to fly further and more successfully.


  4. These card pairings are excellent. We here are all opening our minds to new ways of seeing things. The way you’re doing it, it’s beginning to look like each card is an ideogramme and when placed next to other ideogrammes, create a sentence.
    I did a reading not too long ago and while looking at 3 cards strung together saw something that was spot on in the querant’s life and very important. It was like seeing a flash of lightening in the sky or reading a sentence on a billboard whilst driving by at top speed..Later on, I pondered on those 3 cards and wondered how in the world I had chosen that particular interpretation above so many other possibilities. Those are the moments I love!
    Yes, that Temperance card is so cool! or should I say hot? lol
    I also thought of the 9 of Cups paired with the Hermit as the secret wish to be alone and away…Hermit card is always so beautiful and this one is no exception. 🙂


    • Thanks Nathalie. I hope this means that you are enjoying the new blog here 🙂

      I think that my style of reading was probably inspired by my study of playing card systems, where series of cards are read [as you say] like sentences. People often wonder if cards repeat the same thing each time, but when combined, they rarely do. It’s up to the intuition to step in and play with the components.

      Card combinations can mean many things. One of the things I believe we should do is trust in that first hunch, despite other ways they could be read. I think our initial feelings are important, even if we might come back to those cards and think ‘it might have meant that’.

      Haha to the hot Temperance card 🙂


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