At the surface level, the 9 of Cups relates to wishes, desire, and comfort. But as we dive deeper into its energy, we understand that this card tests the boundaries between our comfort and discomfort, while we revisit our practice of setting our intentions for manifestation. Being a Number 9 card in the Cups suit, it refers to an advanced, deep understanding of the realm of the Water element. It invites us into a heightened practice of emotional acceptance of the present reality, while leaving room for our dreams and desires to come through. A card also associated with cycles, including the moon cycles, 9 of Cups calls on us to find comfort amidst the shifting cycles of life; and to remain in the center as these cycles move around and through us.
In the spiritual path, dealing with comfort can be an important part of our practice. On one hand, we extend our gratitude for the circumstances that allow us to be comfortable, to feel safe, and to have a place to live. On the other hand, when we are comfortable, our growth can be stunted. In this place, we are not stretched nor challenged, and apathy and complacency can set in. When we feel cozy, that’s when we can become totally enmeshed in the illusionary realities of samsara. As Chödrön puts it, “… it helps to remember that you are going through an emotional upheaval because your coziness has just been, in some small or large way, addressed.”
So, 9 of Cups and its 9-energy stretches and pulls us, particularly at a deeply emotional and subconscious level (because it is ruled by water), as it guides us towards a liberated relationship with comfort, life, and discomfort.
If you are in a comfortable place and the 9 of Cups appears for you, you are invited to (1) practice deep and sincere gratitude and (2) practice release of the circumstances of your comfort, perhaps visualizing what it would be like if your rug were pulled from under you, in a memento mori-type of practice. How would you cope? It’s easier to feel centered when all is well. Could you maintain your gratitude if you were tossed towards the unknown?
If you are in a place of deep discomfort with your surroundings and life circumstances, the 9 of Cups appears as a balm, reminding you that you are undergoing advanced-level (Number 9) courses in emotional liberation, and that this moment is a prime time for harnessing a freedom that will carry you through the challenges of life. This is the time to deeply realize that your soul is free from the constraints of this world. This is the time to merge with the cycles, letting them carry you forward, knowing that this waning moment will pass as sure as the Moon will wax once again.
9 of Cups is a place of miracles. In this nexus of desire and surrender, miracles are made. This current cycle may be deeply uncomfortable, but in the next cycle our wishes could very well be made manifest. The secret is not grasping for them, but instead entering a dance with whatever-will-be. When our only wish is that the Highest and Best be made, that’s when we touch some of our greatest resilience.
Whenever the 9 of Cups appears for you, plunge into your relationship with comfort and discomfort. Practice liberation from coziness while surrendering in gratitude. Write down your wishes, dreams and desires and then practice completely letting them go. Check in with the moon or other life cycles and trust that any challenges will either pass or be transmuted and overcome. Enter a dance with manifestation and surrender; with desire and non-attachment; with gratitude and release. You will realize that with practice, the human soul can find comfort and resilience amidst all sorts of situations. In any event, the 9 of Cups is a miraculously liberating card.