In Focus: 9 of Wands

Wands 09 small 2A man kneels in front of eight wands. He holds the ninth with two hands and acts as a barricade, protecting the eight behind him. As the sun goes down on his day, he still keeps guard.

Some might make links between this card and the 7 of Wands. However, whereas the ‘7‘ concerns battling against new opposition, the 9 of Wands suggests a conflict which has been going on for some time and is nearing a conclusion. What is important to the individual in this card is that he lasts out to the bitter end.

This card will come up when we are defending something or someone; this could even be an idea or a concept. Whatever this card concerns, it asks the person who is being read for an important question: is it worth the fight?

In some readings, the fight will be worth it. The wounds inflicted through battle and conquest are part and parcel of achieving your goal and making it to the end. In other situations, a client might ask them self why they are holding on to something which is only causing them pain and difficulty. Many of the cards in the suit of Wands show strife and burden. Whether we walk away from that or decide to keep hold of our wand with determination and the last resources of our strength depends on how important and worthy the cause is.

9Wands AcePentaclesWhen the 9 of Wands sits with the Ace of Pentaclesit is pretty easy to see what is being defended – a pure and beautiful physical seed.

The Ace of Pentacles could represent our personal finances or some kind of new financial enterprise. It could concern our health or a new beginning in the physical world. Maybe we are protecting our assets.

The 9 of Wands sets out to nurture new physical endeavours at any cost. This pairing might suggest needed-protection, but in a badly-aspected reading, could also concern the stifling of a person or thing and our not allowing them to grow naturally.

QSwords 9WandsWhen the Ace accompanies the Queen of Swordsit becomes an aspect of her character.

The queen in this card sits at her desk. She scratches her head (or mind) with her pencil as she reads the manuscript in her hand.

This lady is a nurturer of thoughts. She could be protective over new ideas, but this card might also describe her natural need to guard herself from the intrusion or viewpoints of others. The 9 of Wands does nothing to soften this lady and could describe someone with a powerful set of opinions, who is not afraid to stand up and defend her corner.

9Wands 3 SwordsIn the final collaboration, we are joined by the 3 of Swords.

The guy in the ‘3‘ has a band-aid over his bleeding heart and feels pain. Harsh words, argument or betrayal have infected the wound.

In this scenario, the wounded soldier in the 9 of Wands seeks to protect an already aching heart. It is likely that he has been hurt and doesn’t wish to put himself in a similar position again.

This is one of those occasions where we ask the question ‘Is it worth the fight? Nobody wants to have their heart-broken but we can not hide our self from others forever. Unfortunately, the flip-side of love is grief and heartbreak. We can not have one without risking the other.




© Steven Bright Tiferet Tarot 2014

Illustrations by Steven Bright


6 thoughts on “In Focus: 9 of Wands

  1. Ooh, I really like that Queen of Swords! In that pairing, I can imagine her getting defensive and rather sharp-tongued 😉 And yours is an excellent question: is it worth it? Thanks for the insights, Steve.


    • Thanks Chloe.

      I always feel a bit sorry for this guy, whichever deck he is in. He is rigid in his posture and you have to ask why? What is it for? In some readings, you get the distinct feeling that he’s forgotten why he went into battle in the first place. In others, you encourage people to fight for that bit longer, because you get a feeling that their last drain of energy will reap results. It’s simply a matter of whether the cause for their fight and suffering is justified as much as it ever was. I always think back to the 9 of Wands in the Mythic Tarot and the boat almost reaching it’s destination.

      I’m glad you like the queen. I see her as a writer, advisor, and proof-reader here. I get bored with those really cold and spiky images of the Queen of Swords. I like to focus on her skills and knowledge. It is only when she sits with slightly difficult cards do her negative traits come into focus 🙂


      • Yay for my favorite queen!. For me she isn’t reading but writing in her diary> maybe remembering a time when she had to be vigilant and defend the privacy of her own thoughts…


        • Ah, a lovely view on the queen, Ellen. I love the picture you have set there. So nice to get other people’s perspectives on what is going on. I like that she sits alone and uses her time to gather her thoughts.


  2. I really think she’s written down some salient facts about Chartwell and is ruminating on how to infect her friend with the passion for Churchill that she has….she could for instance recommend his book “Painting as a Pastime” or the abridgement of the six volumes of his history on WW II.

    No, I think a visual is called for she thinks:

    Take the A229, then the M20, then the M25, then a bit of bother around Westerham and you’re there! About 30 to 40 kms and about 50 minutes time. A good day trip for the weekend. Especially with your particular driver.

    Oh, and you’ll need a bit of lunch along the way, maybe a nice tea room.

    You can see her planning it all, thankful for her computer and the ability to look things up. The Queen is a person who enjoys looking things up.


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