|Nine of Cups (trimmed):
© Margarete Petersen Tarot
No traditional jolly-looking chap appears in Margarete Petersen’s version of the Nine of Cups! Instead we have a pearl in a shell, bathed in bright (sun?) light, possibly on a beach… the colours conjure up evening, for me - the Cups correspondence with twilight-evening, perhaps. Pearls are metaphors for something rare, fine, admirable, and valuable – so I can see why Margarete Petersen has used this to represent the penultimate goal. You’d think there was nothing more to gain after this, but it is the ‘almost but not quite’ idea.
In the accompanying book, Petersen talks about the pain involved in the process of reaching this goal: the pearl forms from a grain of sand embedding itself in the soft flesh of the mollusk, and the continuous pain the creature feels as its shell covers the grain of sand with calcium carbonate to create the pearl. So it’s not all happy-happy in this version – there’s a need to accept the pain in order to truly appreciate the gift from the ‘depths of the ocean’ (i.e. from within ourselves, if we allow it to surface).
There is a connection to the Three, I feel. The Three of Cups shows three dancing people, seemingly free from any pain, but the Nine illuminates the deep joy that comes from having been through the darkness.
Pearl rests in its shellBorn from pain, appreciate
the gift from the depths.
Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA, 2004.