When you are hanging in there, persevering under pressure and holding on despite the forces pulling at the other end of your rope, expect the Nine of Wands to appear in your Tarot reading. This card is either a welcome sign that you are truly holding your own in a long-term project or that you are needlessly hanging on to a point of view that is past its time.
A man stands alone, clutching his wooden staff. His posture is erect with a wary look on his face as he glances over his shoulder. Standing behind him are eight wooden staffs. They seem to be firmly planted. His expression tells us that they are somehow responsible for the bandage that is wrapped around his forehead. He has been in battle. He has suffered a wound. But he is still standing, alert and as straight and strong as those other wands aligned behind him. Beyond this fence of wooden staffs is a pristine and peaceful landscape of verdant green hills and endless blue skies.
This is the rare Tarot card that exists in three dimensional space. What that means is that the man in the card may have those wands as his arsenal for a battle and the battle may be taking place outside of the card! Or the wounded man is leaving a world beyond the card and is only stopping for a moment of rest before battling to break beyond into the peaceful landscape deep within the card. This Tarot card reveals a pause without surrender in a battle that you fill with persistence.
Wands represent our creativity. The walking staff is a visual metaphor for the thing we carry with us that makes our journey through life easier. The wounded man is you, battling. Whether it is a divorce, office politics, or a nosy neighbor, the battle has not beaten you when the Nine of Wands appears. The placid landscape itself may represent boredom and the wounded man represents you wanting to step out of the Tarot card and into real life. Find your creative voice and do battle by challenging your own excellence.
Meaning in Past, Present and Future Positions
Every Tarot reading is broken down into looking at the past, assessing the present and foretelling the future. Where each card lands can change both the meaning of the card and the impact it has on you.
The Nine of Wands in the past position indicates that you had intense struggles and a dogged persistence to get where you are now. Often, people who are done with a struggle want to forget about it and are happy to move on. The Nine of Wands in the past position reminds you to know and trust your own strength and determination. It is where you came from, after all.
When this card is in the present position, it is an acknowledgment that you are in the middle of a great struggle. You might not realize that your efforts are out of the ordinary. Your battle may seem so obviously the right thing to do that you do not realize how great and against the odds it truly is. Whether it is raising a child with learning disabilities or working hard to finish your master’s thesis, you really have to be persistent in what you do to manifest the Nine of Wands in the present position.
When this card is in the future position, prepare now for the current turmoil to turn into a struggle. If things are peaceful now, gather strength for the battle that may begin soon. Plan now on how to diffuse tension so that a coming disagreement does not turn into a protracted fight. The battles that we win most decidedly are the ones that we anticipate and actually manage to avoid.
When the spread of Tarot cards are laid out for a reading, each card informs those around it. When a lot of Sword cards are in a reading with the Nine of Wands, your battles are particularly angry and sharp words mark the high and low points. When other Wand cards are present, your struggles involve an extra dose of creativity. Lots of Cups? Expect there to be deep emotional attachment to the struggle you have gone thru, are in now or will be seeing arise in the future. When cards from the suit of Pentacles dominate a reading that includes the Nine of Wands, the arguments in your life have been or will be about money or personal property at their core.
The Nine of Wands has a special relationship with two of the Major Arcana Tarot cards: The Hermit and The Sun. The Hermit, numbered 9 in the Tarot deck, represents the solitude aspect of fighting your battle alone. The Sun, numbered 19 in the Tarot deck, represents the joy of complete victory and the narcissism of the child who is the center of his or her own universe. When these cards accompany your Tarot reading, they affirm that this battle is a myopic necessity on your part. You have chosen this battle and persist in it to give your life meaning.
When The Nine of Wands is in a reading that features The Fool, your great struggle has, at its core, the desire for freedom. Some cards in the Major Arcana represent other people when they interact with the Nine of Wands. Often they represent the person you are dealing with. When The Magician card appears, you are battling with a liar who is powerfully convincing. The Emperor is a card of intense masculine certainty and often indicates a powerful authority figure is in the way of your interests. The Empress indicates a struggle with the muse when it appears in your Tarot reading along with the Nine of Wands. If you are an artist, writer or struggling with some other creative project, the appearance of the Empress validates the tough time you are having with your creative project and also indicates that the reason it is so tough is that you are on the verge of creating a masterpiece.