the nine of wands, as depicted in the universal waite deck
Common Attributes: anxiety, battle-weary, resigned to fate, obligations
Before we get into our rundown on the card, here are a few questions for you to meditate on.
Get out your tarot notebook and think on this:
What does the 9 of Wands mean to you without anyone telling you?
As you start learning about tarot, you hear that the nines are of a number of completion.
What does the concept of completion look like for The Wands?
The story of The Wands ends with ten wands strapped to a man's back. In what way does the scene in the 9 of Wands prepare someone for the weight of ten wands?
When has this card popped up in your own readings? How did it speak to what you are/were going through?
What songs do you associate with times of stress and burden? Are you more likely to listen to songs that relate with your anxiety or do you turn to upbeat music to lift you up?
When this energy comes up in a reading, the person is probably doing their best to cope with a very difficult situation. It's a card of deep, abiding obligations - the kind that good people often find themselves fulfilling in order to keep balance and harmony in the lives of those that they love. This balance often comes at THEIR expense.
I commonly refer to this card as The Walking Wounded. I relate. This card has pretty strong connections to stress, anxiety and feeling over-whelmed. Personally I think it's a pretty perfect representation of what it feels like. It's a lonely sigh, and a glance of longing for simpler circumstances. Most of us at one time or another have stood like this fella. If he didn't have that wand, maybe he'd just fall over. The 9 of Wands is that guy...he's standing there, beat up, knocked around and feeling totally wiped out but he'll be DAMNED if he isn't gonna show up for the next round. When this energy presents itself in a spread, its helpful to understand and respect what may have lead the person to be in such a place. This card has fought hard to still be standing, and there are some lessons to be learned from the kind of strength it takes to hold out even under tremendous pressure. But this card is also in need of reinforcements, maybe that means finding a hobby to bring joy into their life or acquiring new skills so they can cope with their situation better.
Some of us just don't know when to quit. It can be a good thing, at times. Resiliency is a noble trait. But it can be part of a negative pattern just as easily. The Nine of Wands cautions us to choose our battles wisely, and to be mindful about where we invest our energy.