Nine of Cups

9 of Cups from Anecdotes Tarot: Animals at a gate, running from a flood

so the muddy mouths of baboons and sows, and the grouse, and the horse, and the hen
grope at the gate of the looming lake that was once a tidy pen.

Joanna Newsom, “Emily” (Ys, 2006)

Image Description

A monkey, a pig, a hen, a grouse, and a horse rush toward a red gate with an image of a large cup on it. Behind the fence, a huge wave rises, and above the wave are towers and steeples burning with pink flames. Another horse is collapsed on the grass, and there are three more panicked horses in the foreground.


Like the other Nines, this card shows a crisis point, where the building strength of the suit’s element becomes too much to support. The image can be interpreted with a typical water-as-emotion metaphor, as feeling overwhelmed with dread building like a looming wave. The familiar sanctuary of the animals’ pen transforms into a foreign scene of terror and anxiety.

In this card, the vision below the surface in the Two of Cups moves into the waking world.