The Nine of Swords

The Nine of Swords usually shows an individual seated on their bed with nine swords mounted above it. The individual looks to be quite distressed and in a state of despair. Nines in the Minor Arcana show completion since they are the final single-digit numeral in each of the four suits. This shows in the Nine of Swords as a person who has fallen very ill or is grief stricken to the point of being bed-ridden. This could be due to the amount of stress and anxiety the individual has taken on from the other cards in the Suit of Swords, or it could be that the sickness the querent was worried about back in the Two has finally been diagnosed and the outlook is very bleak or isn’t as good as one would like. All nines show the most elevated that any situation can be, and are the final results of all of the work, conflict, and experience that has been endured thus far. This is truly the culmination of all that the querent has sacrificed and tried so hard to attain.

When more than one nine appears in the same spread, there is an amplified and more specific meaning available to the querent. Pairs of nines indicate answered questions from one’s past self in the area of illness and conflict while three of them signify the need for caution in order to keep from becoming sicker or more depressed. Having four nines in a layout show the querent being surrounded by his closest friends and favourite family members. The Nine of Swords indicates where the querent has done well in difficult and hostile matters. He can now look back over what he has learned and say for certain that he has an understanding of turmoil.

The Nine of Swords in an Upright Position

An upright positioning of the Nine of Swords shows illness, but also depression, grief, or poverty. The querent may find themselves suffering from mental torment of some kind that could result in them becoming ill. Another possibility is that the querent has become depressed due to an illness with a bleak prognosis. The querent may be suffering from a terminal illness, or it could be that their lover or a child is doing so. Regardless of who is dealing with this troubling time, there is stress and fear afoot, and there is no way to avoid it. This card is also used to describe one who is suffering from troubling dreams and nightmares that wake them in the night. There may be difficulty with insomnia, and the querent seems, sadly, to worrying about things they cannot control as well as things that do not warrant such an extreme response.

The meaning of all Minor Arcana cards can be modified by the cards that surround it. Court cards from the Minor Arcana (Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings) all represent people. They have corresponding physical characteristics as well as their own astrological correspondences. The Nine of Swords augurs a period of living a nightmare or having them. The court cards in the same general area of a reading as the Nine of Swords show the people who will be by the querent’s side when the issues come to a head and the rubber meets the road. The Major Arcana also plays a part in heightening the sensitivity of the interpretations. The Justice card shows that the querent is getting what they deserve after a period of tormenting others while the Chariot can foretell a car accident.

The Nine of Swords in a Reversed Position

The reversed position of each card of the Minor Arcana is really as it states: an inversion of the card’s meaning. The reversal of the Nine of Swords tells of an individual who is unable to rest easy. There is restlessness, tossing and turning, and in some cases, no sleep. The querent is likely to fall ill if this continues, so it is best to have the querent evaluate the stressful situations in their life in order to pinpoint the cause of this. The reversal seen here with the Nine of Swords does nothing to intensify it, but also nothing to make it any better of an augury. The illness may not be as bad as one initially thinks if there is a sickness among the querent or his family and friends. There is also a slight chance that the querent’s stress levels are the responsible party. There is not telling what exactly will help to pull the querent from their mood, but it is imperative that the querent try to pull themselves up and out of bed before they are so weak they must be carried.

The main idea to keep in mind about the reversal of the Nine of Swords is that it signifies that the querent is going through some type of trials that are very anxiety provoking, but they are somewhat diminished, so the querent can take comfort in that. Another thing to note is that these events may be happening to someone other than the querent that is close to them. This could be a lover, family member, or friend that is having trouble sleeping or could have fallen ill with something that is fairly scary, but isn’t as difficult as with the upright positioned Nine of Swords that has the potential to be a life changing type of sickness that could result in death. Of course, this could be a figurative death where one is seeing the end of one mentality and the birth of another. The querent may also find that this is a time when they are trying to right wrongs and make the necessary apologies in an effort to leave this world with a clear conscience. Whether or not this is effective will depend on the surrounding cards as well as the position of the card. The meanings of most cards are figurative as opposed to literal, so the card shouldn’t be explained in terms of literal death in this scenario.

Key Terms

  • Sickness
  • Insomnia
  • A guilty conscience
  • Seeking rest
  • Depression
  • Sadness from illness
  • Regret
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