As a child, I was extremely fond of sweets. (Come on, who isn't?) My family had a strict no-desert-until-after-dinner rule, which bothered me to no end. I would sneak down in the middle of the night to have a cupcake or a cookie. I'd go to a great deal of work tip-toeing on squeaky floor boards and climbing up shelves to get to the spot where my parents had hidden the sweets. Once I'd gotten there, I was as happy as could be... but would usually end up eating way too much, and getting sick later. This satisfaction (and potential for over-indulgence) is the story of the Nine of Cups.
Here we see a man sitting on a stool, his arms crossed and a grin on his face. He sits in the midst of a round table – the table is completed covered in cups. Everywhere the man looks he is surrounded by his cups. The man seems to be fairly pleased with himself – his arms aren't crossed to use as a shield, but more as a sign of his contentment. The man's clothing is notably rich and colorful – he is most likely a wealthy individual.
Satisfaction – it's a great feeling. The man on the Nine of Cups seems like he would agree! His smiling face says it all: he's thoroughly enjoying having gathered all of his cups, and now displays them together in one place. We work hard in our lives, and there's no getting around struggle when we're aiming our goals high. When we get what we want, it can be a fantastic moment. This card could be telling you that satisfaction is on the way, or that you should revel in satisfaction you have readied for yourself through tireless work.
Luxury is also evident in this card, and is something that it's presence in reading often signifies. It's nice to have what you need, and sometimes even nicer to have high-quality items that you know won't fail you. On the flip side of that coin is the potential for over-indulgence in this world of luxury. When you have it all, it's easy to suddenly want more. Hoarding your wealth, becoming stingy with it, or experiencing satisfaction when none is truly due... these are all potential negative aspects of the Nine of Cups.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you see the Nine of Cups in your readings. Are you feeling a healthy level of satisfaction for your recent deeds? Have you over-indulged in gloating, or lording your luxury over others? How do you feel about wealth? How do you feel about indulgence? Can you own wealth experience satisfaction without over doing it?
The Empress shares the potential for wealth and luxury that the Nine of Cups holds, but there is a balance that the Empress maintains carefully when it come to indulgence versus over-indulgence. The World can impress the same feeling of satisfaction that the Nine of Cups does, but the World does not necessarily imply wealth or stature – simply contentment. The Nine card has the potential for simple contentment, if carefully balanced.