Inspecting The 9 Of Wands
Have you heard about International Tarot Day? Well, if you haven’t, International Tarot Day is on July 8th. The date is fast approaching, and slots are filling up, but if you want to participate, check out Oephebia over at her Facebook page, Tarot and Kitties. If you just want to check out another awesome tarot blog, check out Oephebia over at her blog, Tarot and Kitties by Oephebia. Since this is my first year celebrating International Tarot Day, I thought I’d see what card wanted to reach out to me for more inspection in my studies. I was not disappointed! Everyone, I got the 9 of Wands! Yay! Without further delay, let’s take a look at what I could dig up.
The Wands, and therefore the 9 of Wands, is linked to Elemental Fire. According to the Golden Dawn, this element symbolizes concepts such as: creativity, spirit, initiative, and determination. Elemental Fire is traditionally symbolized by a lion, and can represent authority, assertiveness, or passion. Holistic Tarot also associates Elemental Fire with Yang Energy. Combined these various systems tell us that the 9 of Wands embodies a strong sense of dynamic, or traditionally masculine, energy.
Using the Golden Dawn System, the 9 of Wands is associated with the Moon in Sagittarius. This is a great combination, as the Moon (emotional self) and Sagittarius (spiritual awareness) energies blend. For those who may be new to astrology, blending the energies of The High Priestess card with that of Temperance is a comparable comparison here. Together, the themes of the Moon and Sagittarius combine to create a sense of what could be. Since the Moon is in Sagittarius, the 9 of Wands is also linked to the time period between December 03 and December 12. It is also interestingly linked with the very last cycle of Fall, which consists of cards 8, 9, and 10 of Wands.
The 9 of Wands is, well, associated with the number nine. What’s interesting about this number though, is that in Numerology nines stand for completion. Likewise, because nine is the highest single digit number, it is seen as strong, embodying qualities of all previous numbers. This strength or strong will is perhaps why the 9 of Wands is called The Lord of Strength in systems like The Golden Dawn. Similarly, the number nine often refers to accomplishments, especially those linking the mind and body. This is due to the Kabbalah, and nines being related back to the realm or aspect of Yesod.
In general, the number nine has a strong tradition of representing the nine planets, though in various forms. Nine is also the perfect representation of any trinity, as it is three sets of three. This ironically links the number nine strongly to the Moon, especially considering its triple aspect. Whether embraced as a masculine or feminine embodiment of the trinity however, many will find comfort in a neutral theme, that of the mind, body, and spirit. Nines then, often represent the divine manifestation, and therefore, material wealth or gain. There is also a connection to a protective mindset, one that presents itself in a form of personal integrity and truthfulness.
When it comes to mythological associations, I think the Minor Arcana get left out in my mind. They represent everyday concepts, and thus, don’t get intense stories to symbolize their overall point. But, this in-depth study is changing that for me. When I meditated on what the 9 of Wands spoke to in mythology, I kept getting one answer back. The problem is, the topic is a sensitive one, especially in the tarot community. But, I wanted to highlight it anyway due to an insatiable curiosity for the opinions of others. So, to me, the 9 of Wands has a strong mythological tie to Dante’s Divine Comedy. There. I said it. Okay, now we can dissect this with some very fine handling.
The Divine Comedy is a book that has done immense harm to many people due to its vivid symbolism. Add to this a tendency of readers to focus on the negative, and the mixture isn’t that great. It’s all hellfire and brimstone. However, if we take a step back, the Divine Comedy can help us look at the 9 of Wands in a different way. First of all, elemental fire is often linked to purifying. To me, this purifying process is often times linked with actually destroying negativity. Now, if we consider that Dante highlights nine “sins” or destructive behaviors, and an interesting implementation of tarot can take place. I know many people use tarot for personal growth, and this allegory could help.
For those looking for a bit more, the wands themselves also have two ends to them. This could be used to illustrate a spectrum. In the Kabbalah, there is a teaching that extremes are bad, not the behavior itself. Hate may be unavoidable, but an extreme form of hatred is anger, and thus its sin label. For Christians, its interesting to note that extreme anger is repeatedly linked to murder, which I think we all agree is wrong. In any case, Dante repeatedly illustrates the good and bad virtues and vices in his story. I personally like to think the figure in the 9 of Wands has conquered, or battled, eight out of the nine vices. They are now virtues, precious to him. And yet, he still clings to one more. There is still one battle left to face, and yet, he isn’t particularly eager to proactively fight it.
According to my go-to Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom, the wands on the card can symbolize either the figure’s resources in life or his problems. There is also the bandage around his head indicating a blow to his awareness, and now he only focuses on the next fight. Holistic Tarot also adds a bit of interesting symbolism, that of the gap between the wands. This stands for the idea that the defenses are not as stabilized as the person thinks. Conflicts can still get through his defensive line. Notable as well is the figures passive posture. The soldier is defensive, not antagonistic, indicating a bit of hesitation or weariness to fight. And yet, he expects a fight to come his way nonetheless.
Possible Card Meaning
To me, card meanings are so personal. Luckily, there are still universally accepted meanings. Approaching things this way, the 9 of Wands tends to stand for facing challenges by ourselves, but with strength and courage. I like to add the concept of inner strength to this definition as well. The 9 of Wands mentality usually perceives challenges as an opportunity for personal growth, and as such, struggles become strengths. Since the 9 of Wands has built up a supply of resources, this would imply a past filled with challenges. And yet, the person is better for it. Individuals who are represented by this card may also tend toward being too independent, and as such, may need to be encouraged to ask for help from others.
Shadow Card Meaning
The reversed 9 of Wands tends to symbolize all those negative or more self-destructive aspects. In this way, the shadow of the 9 of Wands is one of stubbornness. Does the person need to keep being defensive? Are they in fact actually antagonizing others and creating their own difficulties? In many ways, I also see the 9 of Wands in reverse indicating a failure to move forward. The 10 of Wands indicates movement, but the 9 of Wands is one step away from doing so. When reversed, I think this may be due to fear of what’s ahead. At times, this card when reversed could also symbolize that same need to ask for help. The person may feel their defenses have actually failed, and that they are, in fact, exhausted from the continuous challenges.
Crystal & Herbal Correspondences
Because many people associate the number nine with wealth, gold can correspond to the 9 of Wands. However, any yellow or green stone will do. Hematite is another popular stone, because it symbolize protection. Some sources I read also used fluorite because they use it to correspond to the strength aspect of the 9 of Wands. If you happen to draw the 9 of Wands for yourself, you could also utilize Zoisite to help clear your thoughts and ease any stress. Since there wasn’t much in the way of flowers or herbs, I highly recommend any herb, flower or oil blend corresponding to strength, fire, or lunar energies. If you felt adventurous, you could also channel all the energy of the 9 of Wands with some Garam Masala for dinner. The spices used correspond nicely to the Moon in Sagittarius energy of the 9 of Wands while capturing the heat of elemental fire.
Want To Check Out More?
If you want to participate and do your own card study, be sure to check in with Oephebia. In the meantime, why not head on over to Angelorum? There you can read the lovely Lisa’s take on The High Priestess tarot card. Trust me, you’re going to want to check it out here. And, be sure to check out this post on July 8th, as I’ll post a link back to the overall list of tarot card investigations for your enjoyment! The decks pictured in this post are The Gilded Tarot, The Robin Wood Tarot, and The Santa Muerte Tarot.