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The Nine of Wands in Tarot and How to Read It

Andrea has a background in Myers-Briggs and Western astrology. She mostly writes about relationships.

A million possibilities are before you. Trouble rained on you; you survived, but it's unclear what to do next. Will you fight or hide?

A million possibilities are before you. Trouble rained on you; you survived, but it's unclear what to do next. Will you fight or hide?

The Nine of Wands

The Nine of Wands could make for a scary nightmare. Imagine a field full of dreams that you can't bring yourself to commit to. You want to accomplish everything, but you struggle to start anything. You're overwhelmed by possibilities.

Your free will is challenged by this field of dreams. What opportunities will you compromise in order to free yourself and pick a path?

The more time goes by, the more you feel yourself slipping away. Will you get to finish anything?

This card can be ominous. It's not as frightening as The Tower or as grim as Death. However, the Nine of Wands is disturbing because it indicates the aftermath of a battle. You're surrounded by death and may have lost friends. Things will never be the same.

Trouble Deciding Your Next Steps

This card is a direct result of the chaos of the Eight of Wands. In that card, arrows and weapons rained down from the sky. The rapid attack killed many and important structures were destroyed. In this aftermath, you do not have a good handle on what to give or take.

You're at a loss and don't know what to do next. Do you fight? Do you defend? Do you pick up the weapons and hide them?

There are some situations that don't have clear answers and that require you to make fast-paced decisions. Someone who is wise will find the right connections and instinctively know what to do next. They have a good handle on the big picture.

Card Alignments

Upright

Resilience, persistence, adversity, test of faith, courage, strength, recovery, resistance, revolution, finding the light, one last test, not giving up, last-ditch effort.

Reversed

Weary, downtrodden, sorrowful, grief, losing steam, afraid, cautious, defensive, insecure, wishy-washy, rough battle, poor health, too many challenges, lacking wisdom.

The Nine of Wands shows a distressed man. He is wounded. There are bandages on his head. He stands among eight tall sticks. He holds a stick close to him, like a crutch.

The Nine of Wands shows a distressed man. He is wounded. There are bandages on his head. He stands among eight tall sticks. He holds a stick close to him, like a crutch.

Card Description

In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the Nine of Wands shows a man who is weary from battle. He stands next to eight wands sticking out of the ground. The man holds a long stick, and he leans into it.

The man has bandages on his head. He wears an orange tunic over his armor. He has on a brown belt, yellow pants, and yellow boots. These colors could suggest he has lost his will and his fire has faded. Things have lost their luster.

The man is worried. There are mountains behind him, which represent challenges. The sky is blue, representing hope and possibility.

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The man is likely worried that if he opposes the enemy it will be futile. It's hard to have courage in trying times.

Tarot Suits

CategoryWandsPentaclesSwordsCups

Element

Fire

Earth

Air

Water

Represents

Free will

Physical Manifestation (The Body)

Thoughts

Emotions

Color

Red

Green

Yellow

Blue

Animals

Land Mammals

Reptiles

Birds

Fish

Season

Summer

Spring

Winter

Fall

Music

Percussion

Brass

Woodwinds

Strings

Numbers

1, 5, 9

2, 6, 10

3, 7, 11

4, 8, 12

Four Humors

Yellow Bile

Black Bile

Blood

Phlegm

The Body

Head, Heart, Thighs

Throat/Neck, Chest, Legs/Shins

Arms & Shoulders, Belly, Ankles

Hands, Root Chakra (Spine Base), Feet

Ruling Planets

Mars, Sun, Jupiter

Mercury, Venus, Saturn

Mercury, Venus, Uranus

Moon, Pluto, Neptune

Western Astrology

Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

Gemini, Libra, Aquarius

Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Chinese Zodiac

Dragon, Monkey, Rat

Snake, Rooster, Ox

Horse, Dog, Tiger

Sheep, Pig, Rabbit

Yin and Yang

Yang

Yin

Yang

Yin

Court Cards

Knight

Page

King

Queen

Poker Equivalents

Clubs

Diamonds

Spades

Hearts

All the arrows that rained down from the sky in the Eight of Wands hit their targets. But you were spared. You are still standing in the battlefield. You have the chance to fight. But more importantly: you have the chance to save yourself.

All the arrows that rained down from the sky in the Eight of Wands hit their targets. But you were spared. You are still standing in the battlefield. You have the chance to fight. But more importantly: you have the chance to save yourself.

Upright Nine of Wands

This card questions your endurance level. Will you continue to fight when the tides have turned against you? There were many casualties in the last battle, but you're still standing. What will you do: seek cover or continue to fight?

This is your final challenge before finally reaching the Ten of Wands, the capstone of the numbered Suit of Wands. If you can find the strength to carry on, you'll be amazed by the things you'll find on the other side.

Card Represents a Strong-Willed Person

This card suggests that, even in the face of adversity, you don't shy away. You stand strong and are comfortable with living life on the edge. You're resilient, prepared, and have what it takes to get to the finish line.

The card comes when you've been beaten, battered, and bruised. Despite the challenges, you keep pressing forward. Whether you fight or hide, you will make the right choice for yourself. You are resilient and you have true grit. Search around you: you might have the correct resources to help you gain the advantage in your predicament.

Hold Down the Fort

This card could be a symbol that you will eventually prosper if you stay focused. If you can hold your stance in the middle of a terrible event, then how much more valuable will you be when times are good?

You're a warrior, and a brave one at that. You have the power to defend what you love. It's not over until it's over, so even if the odds are against you, you can put up a good fight. The Suit of Wands is about engaging with your free will, creativity, and energy. Activate your ambitious side now, and pursue your desire. Push on the gas one last time.

This card reminds me of a scene from Vikings. Lagertha near the end of the series loses what she holds dear. Her new town is pillaged. She loses her grandchild. She is forced to go into battle. The odds wouldn't be great for most people, but she's Lagertha. The Viking queen puts in all her energy, and she prevails, proving she is still a worthy shieldmaiden. The Nine of Wands has this kind of energy. It's the card of someone who pushes hard and keeps going despite the odds (and despite their weariness).

There will be opposition no matter what option you take. You have to be clever with opposition. You have to show the haters that you don't care. You must believe in your plan and in your virtues. One day you will have to fight for something you believe to be true. Sometimes people come after you because they know you're right. They know you're a worthy opponent. And they're jealous of you and your success.

Don't be like the meandering jealous type. They can't focus on a single thing to get it done. They hate people who can actually get stuff done. You're that person that can get stuff done. You are successful. Don't let these people ransack you. If you have a bright message for the world, share it. The darkness will try to overtake your light, but it can't.

Fire Lights Up the Universe

Fire is infinite. It knows how to start the universe and how to push away the darkness. Fire is considered the first element and is the energy behind the big bang. All the other elements came from it.

Don't dim your light just because you're worried it's too bright for others to handle. Establish your territory and defend it as fiercely as you can. If you have a special gift, don't let critics take it from you. Sing if you can sing. Dance if you can dance. Don't let the judges pigeonhole you. Don't let their harsh words destroy you. Most judges can't see you for who you really are. They don't know how you'll grow.

The Nine of Wands is busy. There is a significant amount of action taking place around you. You will have to rely on your instincts and intelligence to make a path for yourself. Fight for clarity.

The Nine of Wands is busy. There is a significant amount of action taking place around you. You will have to rely on your instincts and intelligence to make a path for yourself. Fight for clarity.

Reversed Nine of Wands

In the reversed position, this card suggests a lack or inability to see things through. The conflict you've encountered is likely too challenging for you. In a business sense, the card indicates that projects you pursue are destined to fail because they are impractical and you lack focus.

Perhaps you're experiencing severe delays in your life and everything feels like it is on pause. Maybe you don't trust that the correct aid will come your way. You're like a soldier who has just lost many friends in a battle, and now you're tasked with either finishing the fight or helping take care of the mass casualties. You may soon be handed a shovel to bury the dead. It's grim.

Recovering From Poor Health

This card also indicates that you may be struggling with your health. You might be recovering after a rough battle with cancer or a viral infection. It's hard right now to really trust that you're secure. It's really overwhelming.

It's going to take time to figure out your way again. The challenges you've faced feel relentless. You may need to get in touch with a support group or find some source of help. Try to remember that you're not alone and that other people have had experiences just like you.

Fly the White Flag

It's okay sometimes to give up. Sometimes the fight isn't worth your effort. Save your energy and recover instead. You only die once in your whole lifetime. There is only one day where you will die. The rest of your life is spent healing. Despite aging, sickness, and setbacks, you are in a perpetual cycle of healing until your final day.

Prioritize Self-Care

This could be a reminder that you need to get in alignment with yourself. How would you describe your relationship to yourself? Are you treating yourself right? You might need to work on putting the pieces of yourself back together. Know that your healing is important. I encourage you to work with a therapist if you resonate with the reversed Nine of Wands.

The reversed Nine of Wands brings into question what kind of support system you have around you. Do you know who you'll turn to when you're up against something bigger than yourself?

Don't Take on More Work

Don't take on any more commitments at this point. You need to work with your prior engagements. You're not going to make more progress just because you have more tasks. You have to complete one task before you move to the next one. You need to work harder on completion. Think more like an earth sign.

Insomnia and Fear

This card can indicate that you're struggling with paranoia. You might have trouble falling asleep, or you get really freaked out when you're in a totally dark room.

If this is the case, you need to untangle yourself from paranoia. You need to find a way to cut off your mental demons so that you can enjoy life. Prioritize your mental health. Now is the time to work with a professional.

The Nine of Wands challenges you. It questions your level of endurance. Will you face the final battle? Is your goal worth the fight?

The Nine of Wands challenges you. It questions your level of endurance. Will you face the final battle? Is your goal worth the fight?

Write Letters You Never Intend to Send

The Nine of Wands indicates a struggle with energy. You might be really upset because of the way things turned out. One way to release your angry feelings is to write letters to the people who hurt you, and NEVER SEND THE LETTERS.

It's nice to write these kinds of letters by hand and then to hide them somewhere. They're only meant for your eyes. Lock them in a safe. Burn them after writing them. Or crumple them up and throw them away.

Writing these letters can help you acknowledge your thoughts. Writing should help you to release your frustrations. You could in the act forgive the people and release yourself from them.

I've tried this technique before, and it did feel like I cleansed out my anger.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2021 Andrea Lawrence

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