In the Nine of Wands, we see the somewhat battered and bruised warrior, looking agitated and paranoid, yet still defending his domain. The bandage on his head is reminiscent of the Magician’s headband, symbolizing one whose personal vision, determination and will have steered him into injury, perhaps because he was too insistent upon having his (and only his) way.
This card represents on the one hand some one who has been through an endlessly difficult ordeal, but who still retains courage and determination even in spite of personal sacrifice. Alternatively, it may indicate some one who is creating a pattern of endless conflict for himself on account of his own attitude. One of the downfalls of the Wands suit is its love of battle for battle’s sake; the fire suit does not so much enjoy the spoils of victory as he does the simple act of fighting to win them. But the trouble with aggression is that it creates more aggression; fighting against some one or something always causes a counter-attack of one kind of another. We can see from the battered warrior’s face, as he uneasily looks over his shoulder as though expecting some one else to suddenly appear and attack him, that he is worn out and in a state of perpetual agitation. Because of how aggressively he has been fighting, and because he has gone this long without backing down, now he must remain permanently on the defensive.
Figuratively, this card stands for the overextension of the spiritual attributes of Fire. There is no water or earth in this image, representing a lack of emotional sensitivity and practicality, respectively. The great heights of the mountains behind signify Air, which in this case symbolizes planning and abstract thinking. Thus, we have an impassioned, daring strategist, who possesses an abundance of inspired vision and mental clarity, yet who lacks the ability to relate to others with anything but aggression, along with the ability to be practical or realistic. This is a recipe for injury, to be sure. We cannot stubbornly crusade against any and all opposition, trying to force our dreams down other people’s throats through sheer brute force.
At some point, visions and dreams must be refined, adjusted and adapted to practical logistics and the ordinary limitations of reality. In the same way, rather than perceiving any opposition or contradiction as a call to out-and-out warfare, one must be able to relate sensitively and communicate effectively with other people. Anyone who has ever tried to make something happen on dreams alone knows how brutally the mundane world can batter you into humility and submission; even if your spirit and determination to succeed are not altogether broken, if you choose to remain fighting (and it may, indeed, not even be a choice by this point) you are left in the same ill-at-ease state pictured on Nine of Wands, secure for now but with the constantly looming threat of imminent warfare.
The Nine of Wands card is connected to Saturn / Venus as protectors and patrons.
Card meanings upright:
The Nine of Wands card can represent strength, courage, resilience, and endurance in your life. Even if things do not seem to be working in your favor, you will likely achieve something great if you refuse to surrender. You may learn something new and invaluable about yourself through a rapid learning curve in some aspect of your life.
Card meanings reversed:
When the Nine of Wands card is reversed, it may mean that weakness or stubbornness are overpowering strength and willpower I your life. You may be feeling confused or unmotivated when it comes to saving something, or find that the obstacles you’re facing might seem too large to overcome.