Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Tarot Card of the New Moon Week, March 23-29, 2020: Nine of Cups

If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.
Carlos Santana

For this week of the Aries New Moon, shadowed as we are by the economic and pandemic crisis, I was itching to know if another Very Big Card would show itself to guide us. Although not a Major Arcana, our visitor this week does depict a rather large gentleman, who is the guardian of the Nine of Cups.

As you may know, the Tarot’s Cups suit is concerned with our rich tapestry of human emotions. They address the gamut of our joys and sorrows, as well as our intuition, dreams, and love. They are also cards of empathy and healing.

And the Nines of the Tarot are about completion, when the gifts and lessons of the Ace through Eights have been fulfilled and integrated. (The Tens, as I have often noted, are an overflow, and foreshadow the suit’s next cycle).

The Nines are also known as very magical numbers, for nine is the result of the lucky three, multiplied times itself (3×3).

We can assume from his clothing that this is a man of some means, yet the setting is quite simple. He sits on a small bench, smiling straight at us, his arms crossed. Behind him, we see a curved table, covered in a cloth of blue that could remind one of a waterfall. On it, as if for a banquet, there are nine cups lined up.

Although many people feel that Pixie Smith’s depiction of the gentleman in the card reveals a smug self-righteousness, I have not found him to be so.

Arthur Waite describes him as “a goodly personage [who] has feasted to his heart’s content, and abundant refreshment of wine is on the arched counter behind him, seeming to indicate that the future is also assured.”

While his crossed arms may invite an interpretation of intimidation or keeping the seeker away from his table, I prefer the idea that his posture is yet another depiction of the cosmic lemniscate — the sideways figure eight — symbol of infinity.

It’s a symbol used in The Magician, Strength, The World, and the Two of Pentacles. I believe it is also implied in Temperance, and here in the Nine of Cups.

The seated figure suggests that our emotions may manifest in the physical world, and thus, contentment arrives. After all, the yellow sky and land beneath him point to the magical truth of “as above, so below.”Beth Owl Tarot Card of the Week Ten of Cups

If seen in the context of the suit’s “story,” the Nine shows us the successful outcome of the Eight’s quest. Here on this draped table, we are shown the Cups of emotional satisfaction and longings fulfilled. The arched table, in turn, foretells of the rainbow in the final pips card, the Ten of Cups.

While Waite admits this card “offers the material side … there are other aspects.” Here we are reminded that love is the truest wealth.

With his enigmatic smile, this card of contentment is traditionally known as the Wishing Card. So be sure to make a wish — or two! Or nine! — especially on the New Moon Tuesday. We certainly could use some wishing magic!

You need only ask it of this seated gentleman. Do you dare?

Initiation of the Heart

The nines of the Tarot are about completeness. Nine is a very magical number in many traditions, for it is often associated with leadership, initiation, and altruism. It is a threshold number reminding us to balance between idealism and realism, and is a number strongly associated with creativity and fate.

With the suit of Cups, we are talking about emotional satisfaction, perhaps a dream come true.

This card reminds me of the process of magickal initiation. After a period of study, practice, and preparation, which one might view as steps depicted in the previous cards in the suit, the initiatory rite itself begins with a challenger.

The challenger demands the name and intention of the seeker, and possibly asks other test questions.

Similarly, our Nine of Cups protector is all that sits between you and your fulfillment. But before you may move ahead, perhaps you must declare who you are and what you seek.

When you are deemed ready by your faith and intention to pass with his blessing, your wishes can be granted.

Love in the Time of Pandemic

Monday sees the last winking out of the dying, balsamic Moon. Then on Tuesday, Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, oversees the birth of the first moon of the new astrological year. That’s a lot of brand new.

As our trusty adviser, Annie Heese of Cafe Astrology tells us:

This is a strong cycle under which to re-evaluate our relationship to ourselves. With this potent Aries energy, we have the chance to make important changes in our lives. It’s time to make some solid yet realistic plans and to set the stage for reaping the rewards from our new beginnings, as little or big as they may be, in approximately two weeks’ time after the Full Moon occurs.

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, and thus a New Moon in Aries is especially ripe with opportunity for new beginnings. We might consider acting on a constructive impulse and following a hunch or taking a risk. Aries learns through experience and action, so we might treat ourselves to a little adventure now.

It’s also a good cycle under which to discover the benefits of expressing ourselves with authenticity – expressing ourselves as we are, without putting on airs. We might also find ways to learn how to rely on ourselves and to be happy about doing so – it will go a long way towards finding inner happiness when we know that we can be self-sufficient without blaming others for not helping us out.

It’s a time to revitalize ourselves through experiences that break the routine and that involve doing something new and fresh.

The Nine of Cups is a supportive benefactor who suggests that it’s time to awaken our authentic selves, knowing that, regardless of what we think (Swords) or how the physical world is behaving (Pentacles), we are given a long, abundant pause to feel, to love, to dream, and thus heal from the inside.

Who or what now offers you great contentment and the recognition of your most sincere longings?

As I have noted many times, every Tarot card has aspects of light and shadow. Many readers perceive this husky figure’s expression to be a bit too pleased with himself.

Thus, we must beware of over-indulgence or complacency. Let us remember that there are others who need care. Our care.

This is the worst possible time for selfishness. Our lives now depend on our acceptance of the profound ways we are interconnected.

As legendary astrologer Steven Forrest explains:

Many astrologers have been pointing an accusing finger at the current planetary traffic jam in Capricorn, with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction as the main culprit [regarding the COVID-19 pandemic], and Mars currently helping it along. Neptune in Pisces has a correlation with contagion too, as Maurice Fernandez has emphasized.

All that is solid astrology, but it leaves out an important piece of the puzzle – one whose significance has been banging us over the head since 2005, but which astrologers still tend to ignore. That is the planet Eris, which is currently squaring the Pluto-Saturn conjunction, and doing so from the edgy sign Aries.. I believe the Eris-Pluto square is actually the heart of the matter.

His entire article presents one powerful insight after another, and I recommend it, especially for those of you who are conversant in astrology. But for our purpose this week, I want to highlight his conclusion:

I believe that Covid-19 is fundamentally a manifestation of the Pluto-Eris square. The essential underlying evolutionary purpose of the configuration is the realization that selfishness – both in individuals and in nations – has just collided with its own end game.

The myth of the rugged, independent individual separate from everyone else has finally hit the wall. As we have seen, we are all in this together. Denying that reality simply no longer works in a practical way for anyone. Anyone who does deny it is more likely to get sick.

Even money can’t keep anyone safe. Our anger with each other, our divisions, our brutal competitiveness, our sense that national boundaries reflect some immutable law of nature – all of that is collapsing right now before our eyes.

The smiling gentleman in the Nine of Cups could be seen as the antidote to the death throes of the failing paradigm. While strong, grounded, and focused, he does not represent a wall, but is, as is the way of all magical guardians, a protector who tests our confidence and resolve.

Deep Listening to the Wish-Maker

Will we at last reach out for the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible? The only real barrier between the wish and the outcome is the awareness of the love that moves us.

The challenges you may be experiencing at this time can be resolved. What does your intuition say? Let yourself know what you know!

Turn down the volume on the shrill, unending media spectacle that is loaded with frustration, blame, despair, and overwhelm.

Find your center. Go within, to your unwavering heart of hearts: the ancient witness of your being that has seen multitudes of lives come, and go, and return again. And from that empowered soul-place, let us offer one another a helping hand (while, naturally, emulating the Nine of Cups and keeping our literal hands to ourselves).

This week we arrive at a doorway of new beginnings. Give thanks and take the time to savor and appreciate all that you do have.

Protect and replenish your spirit with simplicity and restorative pleasures. The deep well of joy in your heart can heal any moment.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • March 24, 2020, 4:53 am Niamh

    Hello, Beth. For what it’s worth, the 9 of Cups has always been connected in my mind with the 4 of Pentacles. I think of the 4 of Pentacles as the archetypal Miser, holding on to his wealth for dear life. I would choose this card to represent Pres. Trump. To me, the person in the 9 of Cups, seated with his arms crossed in front of his chest, (much like the 4 of Pentacles) is so secure emotionally and materially, that he is closed off from the rest of humanity – he does not feel others’ pain. He is, if you will, an emotional miser. Again, like Trump. We, I believe, are being challenged to do the opposite. We must care so much about each other that we will make the necessary personal sacrifices to keep each other safe, to self-quarantine so that we can slow down the Covid-19 pandemic. Paradoxically, we need to love others by physically, but not emotionally, separating ourselves from them for a time. So that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. What do you think, everyone?

  • March 24, 2020, 8:11 am Beth

    Awww, golly. My poor 9 of Cups gentleman! 🙂

    Well, yes, I can see your point, Niamh, but I think that is how this guy continues to get a bad reputation (which I feel in my bones and in my experience reading with him, is mostly undeserved).

    It’s funny — as I wrote about him, I was actually thinking about the 4 of Pentacles, too. But the petty king’s defiant, unhappy face betrays his anxiety and insecurity.

    And despite the 9’s arms being crossed (hmmm..seems to be a theme lately!), I just can’t help but see him as more benevolent and welcoming. Maybe because he is the culmination of the Cups, and those draped arms look so much like the red ribboned leminscates in The World.

    I very much experience him as a ceremonial initiator, asking the final question for the seeker, before the rite’s completion.

    But your view is quite thought-provoking. What say the rest of y’all? Feel free to post – that’s what the Comments box is for.

  • March 24, 2020, 2:27 pm Jacqueline

    Interestingly, I land sort of in-between… the man in the 9 of cups has everything he could want but the lemniscate (which I also feel is represented by his folded arms) is to me a POTENTIAL. The man can fold his arms and keep everything for himself, OR he can use his potential for the higher good. He has the means to share and bring joy to the many if he CHOOSES. I see this card as a gift bestowed by the Universe without strings – it is the individual who gets the gift that has the power to decide what to do with it – part of the gift to the man is that it comes with free will : )

  • March 24, 2020, 4:18 pm nofixedstars

    great post!

    you know, normally i think of the man depicted on this card as simply pleased with and appreciative of his array of riches; not gloating or smug, but just really appreciative of the good in his life. but with the timing of his appearance, i had to wonder: is he a warning about hoarding?

    it shows how one’s state of mind or circumstances can impact the reading of a card! today he looks like a smug bastard, sitting there barring others from accessing the good things he has stored up behind him. but in a more optimistic or generous reading, i could see him as a reminder to us all not to worry or “borrow trouble”, to remember our blessings and how much we probably already have in our pantries; he’s not worried, because he knows that he has enough and trusts in the abundance life has shown him so far.

    take your pick, lol!

  • March 24, 2020, 5:44 pm Beth

    I agree, y’all! I think it is a great litmus test for our current emotional state (thank you, Cups).

    But one additional insight since I wrote this yesterday: I have noticed that THE most frequent thing I have heard from friends and neighbors lately is: “Please let us know how we can help. You have only to ask.”

    That is exactly what I think he is saying: “You have only to ask.”

    I am loving the comments and thoughts here! Thank you!