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The Nine of Wands - Standing Your Ground vs Walking Away in the Tarot

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The Nine of Wands is a card about recognising what you need - tending to your wounds and finding strength in walking away.

To give you a bit of context whilst you reflect on your own relationship to the card, here are a few key things to know about the Nine of Wands:

In the Rider Waite Smith Tarot, the Nine of Wands is illustrated like this: A figure stands in the foreground, clutching tightly to a branch, or wand. Their head is bandaged, and they are glancing furtively over their shoulder at a wall of eight more wands behind them. Traditionally, the card has been read as a sign of either paranoia or persecution - and judging by the body language of the main figure, it’s easy to see why. There’s a really palpable sense of distress emanating from the figure. They’re afraid of what’s coming, and they feel singled out and alone against a more powerful opponent.

More often than not, the card offers an opportunity to reconsider the situations in which we have this kind of response. Is the distress we’re feeling warranted? If it is - are we really all on our own? Is sticking around, wounded and solitary to fight it out the wisest move, or do we need to find rest and help before we’re ready to take on what’s plaguing us?

In the Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris, the Nine of Wands is captioned “Strength” - offering an interesting build on this card. It asks: what kind of Strength is needed right now? The Strength to stand your ground, or the strength to priotitise your recovery and regroup?

Another interesting element of the card is its number: nines in the tarot are typically symbols of being very close - but not quite at - the finish line. They are opportunities to reflect, readjust, and course correct as the suit comes to a close. This particular nine comes just before the Ten of Wands, a card about what happens when you take on too much. So perhaps it offers you a choice: let go now - walk away and give yourself time to regain your strength - or find yourself crushed by the weight of your own commitments.

In your tarot journal, you’re asked to reflect on what this card means to you, now, in this moment, and what actions and thoughts it inspires in you. As you journal, pay attention to what you’re personally picking up in the card, but also consider what the key symbols and themes in the card might be telling you. What kind of strength is life currently asking you to show? Where do you need to retreat and recover, and where do you need to stand your ground? Have you been attending to, or ignoring the places you need to heal?

This mini-tarot lesson was brought to you by me, Chelsey Pippin Mizzi, founder of Pip Cards Tarot. I hope you gained a little context to help you continue reflecting on the card in your own way, and I’ll see you tomorrow for another mini-lesson.


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