What happens when you feel a lightening of the atmosphere, and the sense of possibility? More than that: what happens when you feel the sense of being at the helm of a ship that you can steer to waters that have the capacity to yield something wondrous and valuable – whether a ‘catch’, a tropical idyll, or home?
You see, this is what is facing you in the Nine of Cups. Can you feel that possibility when you look at the image in front of you? That sense of what might be wondrous; what might be beautiful; what might be Happiness?
Do you reach for it with a sense of, “Yes! I’ll take that. Thank you!”
If you do, then you’re already there. Enjoy the ride into the vortex of possibility. You have ridden it before; you have co-created with it – that part of you that is not stuck in the past and not stuck with the limitations that life, others, your thoughts, impose on you. You are primed to be able to recreate it. Reach for it. Once again, it’s yours.
If, however, you have an attack of the “too-good-to-be-trues” when you look at the Nine of Cups, then it might be that your predominant feeling is a sense of what might be possible, theoretically, but which feels tantalisingly, even hopelessly, out of reach.
But is it really out of reach – or as out-of-reach as you’ve believed it to be? Is choosing something new an impossible dream?
And how do you feel about the prospect of magic? Is it something that you simply don’t believe in because it has suited you not to believe in it? Things can be far safer when you don’t believe – even if that safety is the safety of the oppressive known.
Or is magic something that happens to other people, and not you?
Or, how dare you wish for something more? Really: how dare you? (Obviously, I am playing devil’s advocate with this last statement – but I have a feeling that the phrase won’t be unfamiliar to some of you.)
Can you believe, even for a moment, that you have the right to the Nine of Cups? Nothing comes up in a reading if it isn’t present in some form or another. The work comes with making the most of its potential.
To make the most of its potential, what we first have to deal with are the practicalities of a reading with the Nine of Cups: what it means, and what it doesn’t mean.
In other words, we are going to (re)define the idea of “magic.”
When I write of “magic,” what I am not writing of is something known as the kind of magical thinking that wishes you out of reality and bypasses the concrete circumstances you find yourself in. You know – the kind of wish that we make when we’re in a nightmare and we want to avoid a confrontation with the monster in the basement, or the pursuer running after us, or the call of the strange unknown.
No. True magic does not spring you from the sentence of your own reckoning. True magic does not turn shit into roses.
True magic assists you in facing that reckoning and transmuting what comes from it. True magic works with your unique circumstances. It acknowledges the shit, and uses it to grow roses.
It’s a fine line – that line between bypassing yourself out of where you are on the hope of the Nine of Cups, and knowing in the very bones of you that you are not limited by your past nor your circumstances; that there is the possibility of something new; that you have the right to wish.
This is the difference between abdication and resilience. The Nine of Cups is the right to the pursuit of happiness. But that pursuit is in your hands. You are at the starting block, and you choose where, and how to make that pursuit. You don’t leave it up to others – especially others who are complicit in the eclipsing of that hope for happiness in the first place.
So how do you choose resilience over abdication? That lies in the other two cards – the Knight of Cups (resilience) and the Seven of Swords (abdication).
The Seven of Swords is what you already know in some respect. When you look at it, it may elicit a similar intensity of feeling as the Nine of Cups. Perhaps even moreso. If moreso – if there’s a visceral or emotional hook-in – then you know that the Seven of Swords has a message for you.
This message is about the difference between it (abdication) and the Knight of Swords (resilience) on the other side of the Nine of Cups.
If you give all of your power away and you abdicate your agency, then you’re in the land of the Seven of Swords. Fret not – it’s likely you’ve been here many times. (Anyway, it wants you to fret; it’s counting on you fretting. That way, you get to stay there and keep it company.) You know it already; you know what to avoid. You know that feeling of being stared down by a particular mental threat that tells you:
- “Toe the line!”
- “Don’t dare to be your own person in thought, word, or deed. We’ll all get on if you get along with us.”
When you listen to what you are told to do and it does not align with what you long to do, then you are abdicating responsibility and agency to an outside force.
When, however, you listen to your inner calling, an authority that burns with a flame of love, and you can feel that fire as a fire of authenticity and agency inside you, then you are in the realm of the Knight of Cups. He represents those ideals that are written next to him – the ones with which he is meeting the Nine of Cups:
- Ability to give
- Devotion to a loved person
- To reach higher emotional levels
- Spiritual Relations
- Family of one’s choice
All of these are pathways to Happiness. One of these, or more, will speak to you of resilience and agency. The Knight has the directed-ness, the passion, and the dedication and devotion to free you from the thrall of what holds you back in the Seven of Swords.
You embody the Knight – not on an intellectual level but on an emotional level – and that sense of what is possible becomes closer, and the voices of conformity grow quieter and fade into the background.
And if this isn’t yet possible: What if you were to start to believe in the possibility?
It’s a start. And that’s all that’s needed. But remember: true alchemy knows that shit needs to be transmuted, and that starts with an ability to look at it and to smell it for what it is. Rumpelstiltskin didn’t really appear magically from somewhere else: he is a personal mythos, the daimon who helps you spin straw, or shit, into gold. Find him inside, direct him to the purpose of the Knight of Cups, and Happiness becomes possible.
Astrology Correspondences: Seven of Swords (Moon in Aquarius), Nine of Cups (Jupiter in Pisces), Knight of Cups (the fiery aspect of water)