The Nine of Cups is the 9th tarot card in the Minor Arcana suit of Cups and embodies a feeling of satisfaction and pride in one’s accomplishments. This card relates to themes of contentment, pleasure, and the hopeful anticipation of receiving good fortune. It speaks to the ways that an attitude of joyful anticipation can be its own reward.

The Nine of Cups is associated with the element of water and the second decan of the astrological zodiac sign Pisces (10-19 degrees); it is ruled by Jupiter. Jupiter in Pisces, a sign of its traditional rulership, is empowered to bring forth the potential for expansion and blessings and catalyze the search for what is truly meaningful.

Nine of Cups Keywords

Upright Keywords

Reversed Keywords

anticipation, flow state, taking pleasure in life, indulgence

materialism, dissatisfaction, difficulty accessing joy or pleasure

Description of the Nine of Cups Tarot Card

In the preceding Minor Arcana card, the Eight of Cups, the figure in red left behind an emotionally unfulfilling situation in search of new horizons and greater expansion. Through this act of bravery, he was able to seek out what was missing.

In the Nine of Cups, he appears to have found a sense of true happiness, which resulted from his willingness to take a risk and leave behind his known reality. Tarot readers and tarot guides sometimes refer to the Nine of Cups as the “wish card” or “wish fulfillment card” because drawing it during a tarot reading can signify a good omen.

In the classic Rider Waite Smith tarot deck, nine cups encircle the man, displayed on a raised platform reminiscent of a theater stage or a display for prized trophies. The cups symbolize his emotional fulfillment and the connections and accomplishments he’s accumulated in his life. In contrast to the previous card, where one cup seemed to be missing, these cups are lined up in a neat row, their completeness mirroring his internal sense of satisfaction.

The man sits before us with his legs spread wide and his arms crossed, indicating confidence and, potentially, cockiness. His rotund belly signifies his large appetite for life and his feeling of satiety and contentment. His red feathered cap indicates that he’s driven by passion and a desire for adventure. His smile communicates a blissful if slightly smug comportment.

The bright yellow background speaks to the feeling of optimism, hope, and joy associated with this card. The man sits on a wooden bench with four legs, indicating that his sense of fulfillment is built on a sturdy foundation and that his expansive sense of joy is rooted in material stability.

Nine of Cups Upright Meaning

The Nine of Cups upright symbolizes a feeling of joyful contentment as you reflect on your relationships, accomplishments, and personal milestones. You can relax into the feeling of satisfaction as you review your journey up to this point and feel a sense of pride knowing that you have arrived here because you followed your authentic desires and were not willing to settle for hollow pleasures.

The Nine of Cups can appear when you are immersed in a state of flow with life. This can be felt as a creative flow, a harmony within your relationships, or the sense that the gap between your internal desires and your external world is satisfyingly thin. There is a feeling of possibility and expansion as you connect to what brings you feelings of pleasure and abundant happiness.

The upright Nine of Cups can symbolize a feeling of joyful anticipation and an openness to life’s mysterious surprises. This card can speak to the feeling that anticipating positive results is its own kind of joy and that when you access this state of mind, you are even more open to the blessings that life has to offer.

Love and Relationships (Upright Meaning)

In a love tarot reading, the upright Nine of Cups symbolizes a feeling of joy and connection within a relationship. You may be reflecting on the ways that your beloved embodies the qualities you deeply desire in a partner and the ways that your relationship enhances your life. Your relationship is a vehicle for your own growth and expansion and connects you to your innate sense of possibility.

The Nine of Cups is a reminder to prioritize pleasure and enjoyment within your relationship. If you have become bogged down by the demands of everyday life, this card encourages you to make time to enjoy the range of life’s pleasures and sensual delights, including making love. A touch of hedonism may be the antidote to breaking out of your routine habits.

Love/relationships upright keywords

Career/finance upright keywords

joyful connection, prioritizing pleasure, hedonism

pride in accomplishments, achievement of dreams, trusting abundance, sharing good fortune with others

Career and Finance (Upright Meaning)

The Nine of Cups upright symbolizes a feeling of pride and satisfaction as you reflect on your hard work and career accomplishments. You may have landed in a place where you can finally relax into the feeling of having achieved your dreams, trusting the abundance in your life, and enjoying renewed self-esteem. It is a reminder to bask in these feelings of gratitude and pride and to savor the sweetness that your life offers you.

This card is an encouragement to truly savor the moment and indulge in all the pleasures that are available to you because nothing in life lasts forever. Rather than hoard your good fortune, this card encourages you to increase your joy by sharing it with others. You can anticipate that life will continue to surprise you with blessings, acclaim, and an abundance of pleasures.

Nine of Cups Reversed Meaning

The reversed Nine of Cups speaks to difficulty in accessing joy, pleasure, or trust in life’s goodness. It may feel difficult to believe that you can achieve your dreams because of previous experiences of rejection or failure. This card is a reminder to look past shattered dreams and reconnect to your belief in yourself in order to feel empowered and open to life’s goodness again.

The Nine of Cups reversed can speak to an over-indulgence in life’s pleasures and an inability to moderate hedonistic impulses. You may be taking a short-term approach to pleasure at the expense of self-satisfaction and longer-term consequences. This card asks you to reflect on any area of life where there is excess and to come back into balance by moderating your approach.

The reversed Nine of Cups can also indicate the pursuit of happiness that is driven by superficial desires. You may be motivated by an outsized hunger to acquire more and more material goods, status, or external markers of success that ultimately leave you with a sense of emptiness. This card can symbolize a need to reassess your goals to ensure that they are in alignment with what will bring true emotional fulfillment.

Love and Relationships (Reversed Meaning)

In the reversed position, the Nine of Cups can speak to a relationship that has become bogged down by the demands and concerns of everyday life and would benefit from the conscious cultivation of time for enjoyment and relaxation. If you can find a way to make pleasure a priority, you can rekindle the spark between you and create a sense of shared enjoyment again in your love life.

The reversed Nine of Cups can also speak to a relationship that does not bring a sense of true emotional fulfillment. This card asks if you have been pursuing relationships based on superficial desires rather than on forming deep and meaningful connections. It can indicate the pursuit of relationships based on an attraction to external rather than internal qualities.

Love/relationships reversed keywords

Career/finance reversed keywords

bogged down by the demands of everyday life, need for enjoyment and relaxation, emotionally unfulfilling relationships

hollow achievements, superficial markers of success, fear of disappointments

Career and Finance (Reversed Meaning)

In the reverse position, the tarot meaning of the Nine of Cups may speak to the successes and achievements you once thought would bring you happiness but has instead left you feeling unsatisfied. This card asks if you have been chasing superficial markers of success at the expense of satisfying your desire for meaningful achievements. It may indicate a need to reformulate your goals based on your authentic desires.

The reversed Nine of Cups can also symbolize that you are finding it difficult to nurture your dreams and hopes for the future. You may be afraid of feeling let down by disappointments and are not allowing yourself to get your hopes up or imagine a brighter future. This card reminds you that you are allowed to open yourself up to the bigness of your dreams and encourages you to have the courage to feel your true desires.