9 of Swords

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When the Nine of Sword appears in a Tarot reading, it is a clear sign that it is time to examine your situation from a new perspective.

The 9 of Swords speaks primarily about fear, anxiety and negative thought patterns, and suggests that you have fallen into a negative cycle and are constantly looking for evidence of what is going wrong.

The more you associate with your fears, the more they will rule your life. As you obsess over what’s not working the more anxious you become and the more you will worry. The fear and worry in the Nine of Swords can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But as always, there is a way out. The negative spell your mind has woven can be undone, allowing you to move on to higher ground and find a more positive groove.

What the Swords mean in Tarot

The Swords in the Tarot are associated with the element of air and deal with the realm of the mind; thought patterns, self talk, beliefs and communication are all the domain of the Swords.

Like the air, our words and certainly our thoughts are invisible, and because of this we might forget that they have real gravity and impact. Words, and thoughts, are all too often underestimated.

In the right hands and with the right training and skill, the sword is magnificent tool and an instrument of creation. On the flip side, negative self talk or hurtful words can be fatal.

What the numerological number 9 means in Tarot

In numerology, the number 9 is a sign of transformation and evolution. Hard-won lessons have imbued the number with a deep sense of wisdom and plenty of valuable life experience.

In Tarot readings the number 9 often appears to signify that you are nearing the end of a cycle, a project or a chapter in your life, and a final push of energy is needed to get things across the finish line, wrapped up or resolved.

Ironically, it is often when we are nearing a breakthrough that we tend to break down or merely falter in our resolve. The number 9 is a make-or-break kind of energy, asking us to press on through as the magic and relif of a new beginning is close at hand.

Nine of Swords Tarot card description

The 9 of Swords is one of the most iconic Minor Arcana Tarot cards, sending chills down your back at a glance. Renditions of the Nine of Swords differ from deck to deck, but most borrow their details and symbols from the classic Rider-Waite Tarot. These are the ones we will be looking at here.

The person

The central figure in the Nine of Swords Tarot card is the person sitting bolt upright in bed.

The person’s gender is unclear, and has no bearing on the interpretation of the card. Their shoulders are slumped forward and their head is buried in their hands – they are clearly overcome with pain and anguish. We can only assume that nightmares or worried thoughts have awoken the person and are now keeping them from going back to a restful sleep.

Based on the central figure alone, it is clear that the Nine of Swords card deals with doubts, overwhelm and negative thinking.

The swords

Nine swords are mounted on the wall behind the person’s bed.

Because it is the dead of night and the room is shrouded in inky darkness, the swords appear to be floating ominously in the air right above the bed. No wonder sleep is evasive with all of these sharp, intruding thoughts hovering in the darkness and threatening to fall on the figure in the bed at any given moment.

The swords themselves, of course, represents thoughts, thought patterns and words.

The bed

The person’s bed is a beautiful piece of furniture which appears to be made of intricately carved wood. However, it is not a conducive place for restful sleep and regeneration – a carving at its base shows one figure defeating another in battle, the scene no doubt fuelling the person’s feelings of stress and unrest.

The quilt

The quilt provides the only comforting and wholesome feature in the 9 of Swords card. It is embroidered with flowers and astrological symbols, reminders of the natural world and the goodness of cosmos. The quilt covers the lower half of the person’s body, providing a modicum of comfort and protection against the sharp swords hanging overhead.

Nine of Swords Tarot card meanings

The Nine of Swords Tarot card covers a range of meaning, most of them not particularly pleasant. Which layer of the card’s meaning comes to the forefront in a Tarot reading will always come down to the Tarot reader’s individual take and on the context provided by other cards. From the gloomy to the slightly hopeful, here are the most prevalent 9 of Swords Tarot card meanings.

Overwhelm

In its upright position, the Nine of Swords Tarot card is a sign of overwhelm. In the worst case scenarios, overwhelm can hinder you from facing life and reality.

In a healthy situation, you will be able to let the stresses and obligations of the day go before you withdraw to rest, sleep and regenerate, but here, the swords are following you into your bedroom and invade your sleep, suggesting an inability to escape or let go. You may have taken on more responsibility or work than you can shoulder at this point, or you may simply not be very good at switching off.

When the 9 of Swords appears in a Tarot reading it is a clear indication that you might be swerving dangerously close to a breaking point, and that it is about time that you simplify, cut back, offload or create different habits – whatever you have to do to ensure you get the space and time you need to rest and reset.

Worry, fear, guilt

The Nine of Swords Tarot card meaning spans a range of negative emotions; worry, fear, guilt and self doubt.

Whether your worries and doubts are caused by your circumstances at work, your financial situation or the state of your romantic relationship, your negative thoughts have become a negative, self-feeding loop of worry, anxiety, guilt or other negative feelings from which you are now finding it impossible to escape or get any reprieve. As a result, these negative emotions are feeding into a deepening sense of despair.

It is important that you address the issues causing you this deep unhappiness, to stop yourself from sinking deeper into the quicksand of worry, anxiety, pain and despair.

You are most likely feeling extremely overwhelmed. Nevertheless, it is time to start turning things around by taking the first few steps towards dealing with the negativity head-on and moving on towards a more positive future.

Mental health issues

From stress and anxiety to depression, the Nine of Swords is often a sign of mental health issues and challenges. A world of stress, fears and anxiety might have enveloped you.

It is important to remember that many mental health conditions are reversible, rather than being fixed parts of your personality.

Seek the help of mental health professionals and work on yourself. Your spirit deserves a reprieve from nightmares and anguish.

Nine of Swords Reversed Tarot card meanings

When the Nine of Swords Tarot card appears reversed, its meanings and significance are either dramatically heightened or inverted. Here are some of the most common interpretations ufo the Nine of Swords reversed.

Emotional release

The reversed Nine of Swords Tarot card can be an indication that you have finally managed to puncture a blister of pain that has been growing in your life for quite some time – you have let the poison out and can finally find peace, put the past to bed and move on.

Festering pain and secrets, inability to let things out and let them go

Conversely, the Nine of Swords reversed can have a worse meaning than the Nine of Swords upright. Here, you become entirely unable to extricate yourself from the loop of negative emotions that you have fallen into.

When this layer of the the Nine of Swords card meaning comes forward, it becomes vital to address the underlying issues that are keeping the pain and fears of the past sealed inside.

What the Nine of Swords Minor Arcana Tarot card means in a reading about love and romance

Upright

The Nine of Swords suggests internal pain and turmoil. The shadows of past relationships may be following you into your current relationship or situation.

Reversed

When the Nine of Swords reversed appears in a Tarot reading about love and romance, it indicates that something is very wrong. You are feeling trapped and isolated. Confide in someone you trust to get an outside perspective.

What the Nine of Swords Minor Arcana card means in a reading about money and career

Upright

The Nine of Swords might be a sign of financial ruin and anxiety about your financial future. It is time to confront the issue and begin rebuilding yourself.

Reversed

The Nine of Swords reversed can indicate a refusal or inability to deal with a crushing situation. Loans, card debt or excessive spending has eroded your metaphysical balance as well as your credit score.

Lucius Nothing

Lucius has been slinging tarot cards professionally since 2014. He’s taken the tarot to places most wouldn’t think of: His best-known patrons include Torture Garden, The Dark Circus Party, Handel & Hendrix, A Curious Invitation and The Candlelight Club, where he has been resident tarot reader for the past half-decade. His writing on divination, magic and creativity has been published in Sabbat Magazine and on Medium.

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