Cups,  Sacred Circle

Journey into: 9 of Cups

Written by: Emma Sunerton-Burl

Continuing her series, Emma Sunerton-Burl looks into the cards of The Sacred Circle Tarot, by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason, published by Llewellyn:

I look at the card and am struck by the gleaming shininess of the cups and also of their balanced structure. Glastonbury Tor is in the background and it seems to be reflected in the mist – I get a sense of illusion as well as the idea of striving for perfection. There is something magical about this card too.

I walk into the card.

I feel as if I am walking on water or the mist itself. It seems very otherworldly here. I look up to the cups and ask them first for their message for me.

“We are the structure and stability of your emotional life. You are in a stable place at the moment and can rely on your emotions to be realistic and guide you to the things you most love. We are also the strong and solid support network you have for your emotional needs – we show how a group of friends can really all be there for each other come what may. It is like we are outside of time and it’s the inner world connection that is important not how often you connect or see each other. Your system is very strong, you can use it when you need it.”

“Thank you.” I say. “How about you the clover?” I ask as I see beautiful red clover coming out of the cups.

“We are the feminine balance; the hormonal clarity that can come to each woman and the feminine side of men. Though many speak of hormones as a problem, hormones also help bring to the surface all the feelings that are out of balance to allow them to be seen and heard and, if necessary, to be acted upon to bring increased balance into life. Allow your hormones to inform you of what you think ‘is nothing’ normally, but actually is  indicating an early sound that the balance of things needs to be adjusted, even in a small way, to maintain emotional security and balance. We are also the nectar of life; we are the sweetness of all things coming together in harmony; we are the positive use of sugar and sweet tastes; just a little here and there to emphasise and celebrate when things are going well. We are the beauty of love between friends.”

“Thank you, that is lovely.” I say.

I look to the mist beneath my feet and across to Glastonbury Tor ahead of me. I find myself on the edge of the mist and on the foot of the tor looking over the mist carpet beneath me.

“What is your meaning here?” I ask the mist.

“We are the blanket that covers the undesired views, the mist is the covering of the land beneath creating increased, yet temporary, beauty. It is not that the illusion is causing you to come off your path – but rather, for now, you enjoy the love and joy of spiritual pursuits and friendships, allowing the shadows to fall away. It is an acknowledgement of the perfection of the world. Despite knowing there is more beneath what you can see, you can also appreciate the beauty remaining and the ability to separate the beauty from the challenge. In many ways we represent getting away from it all and having holiday; the idea of taking time out for fun. The work will still be there when you get back, but from this holiday perspective you can see your problems and issues in front of you from a higher perspective.”

I find myself walking up the Tor and seeing it reflected in the mist below and I can feel that being somewhat removed from reality helps me see what reality is more clearly. I can see what is reflected back to me and I can make changes accordingly. I can also stop the stress of allowing things to overwhelm me by having this higher perspective and somewhat magical view.

I ask the tor of its purpose here.

“I am what you pilgrimage to, to find yourselves. Many come to me to find who they are more clearly, and indeed I will help them see this. All high viewpoints will allow this opportunity for reflection and distance on ‘normal’ life. I show here that following joy and fun may not be the block you once thought, and that to follow this impulse for holiday you can indeed find clarity and peace in a new way. As you look upon the earth blended with the magical etherealness of the mist, you see how heaven blends with your life on Earth and how the obscuring of certain details helps you see the beauty and positivity in everything. It transforms the bleakness, life sometimes presents you with, into beauty, release and joy.”

The tower on the top of the Tor says: “I am a testimonial to the honouring of spiritual realms, regardless of the system of thought someone belongs to, there is always a reaching out and honouring of higher ways of being. Striving for this is a good thing to do. This is the message I bring in a reading.”

I sit inside the tower and feel both its protection from the elements and the channelling of my energy upwards to the higher planes, I can sense the increased connection I am gaining from being here. I love this place and remember many transforming times on the top of the Tor in waking life; they were not always easy, but they were necessary and useful. I see, though there is beauty, there is also challenge and that being with myself outside of my usual roles is one of the most powerful things the wild can offer us. The weather energies and the land energies coming together to give us messages of how to redress the balance and ultimately bring us joy.

I see an beam of light come down into the top of my head and fill me with the love and joy of the higher realms. I understand personally where my journey to the mountains began and also recognise how far I have come in my own personal journey. I am grateful and send up thanks and gratitude for the path I have walked and learned from. I send back love to the past versions of me and feel filled with love for all the experiences I have had.

I slowly walk down from the top of the Tor and feel I have been given a great gift of love and joy. I understand how the illusions of some parts of my life were necessary to keep me going, and to also allow me to focus on what was important at the time. I see how sometimes illusion can be of positive benefit to us and that it is not always folly to allow illusion in our lives.

“Thank you for your messages.” I say, and realise that many messages were just planted in my head as understandings rather than spoken to me and I feel this is relevant with this card – that we can hear the guidance we need if we take ourselves out of our usual surroundings and allow ourselves to experience magic. It happens naturally of its own accord.

“Do you have a meaning for me when you are reversed?” I ask before I leave.

We indicate someone’s struggle to find joy is overshadowing their experiencing joy in the moment. It is like things are not good enough yet, or that they are so busy working hard, there is not the time to experience the joy and peace within them. To right the card, take a break and allow slow, soft time and thought; be in nature and get a wider perspective on life, perhaps first physically, to trigger the emotional observer within. There is much joy possible in the person’s life when we turn up reversed, but the person is resisting seeing it, or taking these opportunities, out of fear of what happens if they do. But it is time… allow it. A new view with perhaps magical ‘wishful’ thinking will help you right now. It can also indicate there is emotional imbalance that is being avoided – again time out will help the balance return.”

“Thank you.” I say to the whole card.

I love the energy of this card and am delighted to experience it – I will come back.


Emma welcomes any comments on this article or the visualisations you do following this method. Email her on

Emma works as an intuitive psychic tarot reader and runs one to one online training courses on reading with the Thoth tarot deck using a unique blend of intuition and psychological techniques. This has now been extended to working intuitively with RWS style decks too. She also mentors other professional and non-professional tarot readers. She offers visualisation MP3 downloads for intuition development, tarot readings F2F, telephone or distance, and healing – see her website for details: 

Emma has a Bsc in Psychology and is a trained counsellor, counselling supervisor and trainer. She integrates this experience in her Tarot work, and in her self-written training courses for personal development, Tarot, and Tarot mentoring.

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