Nine of Cups

Element: WATER

Upright: Achievements, Recognition, Pleasure
Reversed: Disappointment, Lack of Fulfillment, Pessimism

Symbology, Meaning and Interpretation


Achievements, Recognition, Pleasure.

When the Nine of Cups appears in a spread, it is generally a sign of success and achievement in the material world. Things seem to work well materialistically because we find luxury and comfort as a fulfilment of our desires.

The long journey started in the Eight of Cups culminates here, in this scenario of contentment and self-satisfaction. That means that the hard choice in the Seven of Cups resulted in an adaptation to a new lifestyle or hard work in the following card, and now the most satisfactory outcome is gained. As you can see, many times the hardest choice has the best, long-term rewards.

This wealthy scenario of prosperity could not be the last step of our spiritual development, yet it feels good to have a moment of enjoyment, especially after a period of hard work or painful events. In life, sometimes we just need to have a good time.

The character of the card reminds us of a merchant who sits happily on the ground, enjoying the simple pleasures of life. For this card, we took inspiration from the smiling Buddha imagery and statuary in Chinese culture. In China, the smiling Buddha is a symbol of friendship and good fortune, and promotes the happiness of shared moments. It is also related to abundance, joy and the comforts and pleasures of life. In this card, the merchant’s facial and body expression inspire us with a tone of peaceful and relaxing energy. Like him, you can let yourself appreciate the moment without feeling guilt.


Disappointment, Lack of Fulfillment, Pessimism.

In reverse, this card indicates that you have been working hard and achieved something, but it looks like the reward is not what you expected. For example, you may have achieved materialistic gains but your social and emotional life is a disaster so you cannot fully enjoy this moment of prosperity.

This unsatisfactory result may say that you have been working in the wrong direction due to a poor decision in the past. The Nine of Cups in reverse implies that you actually achieved your goals and your dreams came true, however, you might feel devastated because they were revealed as nightmares.

This shocking revelation might let you down and make you pessimistic about the future, though this kind of attitude will put more obstacles in your life and constrain you from seeing the right path. It is demanding to clean yourself from negativity so you can come back to the search for your dreams in a different direction.

It is probably a good time to rethink your goals and choices. Not always we have the price we expect, but each time we fail we grow up, and every new choice is wiser than the previous one. Sooner or later, you will achieve your greatest reward, you just need to keep trying and never stagnate.