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9 of Cups
by Mari_Hoshizaki

Symbolism & Card Meaning
Artistic Media
Artist's Bio


We painted pictures of cups
filled with radiant things.
Everyone else has pictures full
and vessels of clay, glass and metals
shining smooth or clear.
Their pictures were full of musical shades
or tones that rang of violins,
flutes and chiming bells.
My cups are tilted or tossed
in a bed of growing green
Maybe children had just emptied a basket
of old cups in careless play.
Above the green sheaves and cups
You can see a sky
almost bare but for
moving stipple strokes---
a half circle of distant birds.

Symbolism & Card Meaning

My idea for the Nine of Cups is in agreement with one meaning, 'the wish card'. For others, I envisioned that they would paint their Nine of Cups full of beautiful things. I could see people with cups of gorgeous manmade materials. I could almost hear a musical score full of shades or tones as people visualize if their wishes were granted.

My vision was different--I thought of seeing old cups in a field of ivy or growing plants. I imagined a child wanting something to do, curiously finding the cups. Then the child begins to play with new toys, enjoying time and space to explore, playing and discovering different ideas.

For me, the magical process of exploring, playing and discovering were a threefold blessing. If I have empty space to do these things at my own speed, my overall feeling of fulfillment usually results. My wishes have come true.

9 of Cups Reversed: My 9 of Cups had dulled metal shapes. They pulled only dim reflections in the shady green leaves. Only hollow pools of shadow below each cup rim.

It was one of those days.

This was when plans, the news, things related to my pay and benefits, and my own aching shoulders just felt badly. When one's optimism is being chewed down, what does one do?

I looked at a copy of an artist's portfolio from 1903. I could feel the gentleness and hope she had when making these leaves. "My Green Sheaf," she wrote, "might small, but it is fresh and young." I put away the portfolio and with a quieted mind, began working with my own little stash of projects. Sometimes, the bravest thing a person can do is to just face the distressing times with a creative balance, small and quiet. For a treat, a cup or two of tea and a comforter too. I tossed all my scraps on the floor for the next few hours. I eventually cleaned up---but making the mess first with my creative scraps felt healing.

My recommendations above for those who want a nine-of-cups metaphor of having wishes come true. In my case, my hope was to feel like there were possibilities for radiant things. If I can take some time to do clearing, then quietly look and assess strengths, there is a calming effect. I take a small collection or stash of things that feel healing or good. If I dare to promise myself a few minutes or hours to do one or two small steps of creativity---then I am ready for the possibilities that emerge.

The portfolio that inspired me came from Pamela Coleman Smith, a woman who 'never stopped believing in her ability'. Her portfolio, referred in the above poems, was A Green Sheaf, started with hope and expectation of radiant things.

For me, it was fitting this card and poem came about for the Aeclectic deck. I dared to make space and time, a little each day, to do these things. I hope these words and pictures also help you to never stop believing and trying to improve your joy in your own arts.

Artistic Media

The poem and card were sketched first manually. I explored different ways of sketching this out. Then I began playing. I ended up using the low-tech drawing and shape tools in Microsoft PowerPoint . My preferences for colors for the suit of cups were light blues, yellows, green and grays. When I was satisfied, I grouped and copied all the elements. I created a jpg file in an old copy of PhotoShop 5. My discovery of the choice of filters 'to find the edges' was delightful to me. I liked the crisp outlining---it reminded me of an old-fashioned graphic. This assignment was a threefold blessing for me, for my wish was to explore, play and discover with different tools.

Artist's Bio

Mari Hoshizaki is a student of Western Humanities and Studio Art in evening hours. She finds Western Tarot studies fascinating and is trying to combine her other studies with the tarot archetypes. Her preferred creative writing sources include poetry from Italian literature and translated Japanese language resources. Her preferred art uses watercolor and watercolor pen sketches from her original photographs, and collage scraps from art magazines. Her dream is to travel to the original sources of her studies in Western Europe in a time of peace and prosperity.

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