Nine of Wands:
Function: The Will, Action, Creativity, and Initiation
A man who is both weary and wary leans on a wand, looking to his right. Eight other wands stand upright behind him, like a gate or an army in formation. Perhaps that is where the wands from the previous card, the Eight of Wands, landed. Did they hurt the man, or are they there are reinforcements? His head is bandaged, but physically, he’s otherwise okay. Perhaps he’s just worried about future attacks, or perhaps he was just attacked, and he’s worried than an attack could happen again.
After all, there are no actual enemies in sight.
Or perhaps there was no attack at all, and he’s just paranoid and babying himself. Or maybe his wound has healed and now it’s just his pride that’s smarting. Either way, he’s standing his ground. He’s holding onto his wand defensively, and by the look on his face, he’s not afraid to use it. He wears an orange tunic, the color of passion and enthusiasm, and gold pants and shoes, the color of victory and riches. His shirt and bandage are white, the colors of purity and life. This man will keep going, despite the dangers he perceives, real or not.
The Nine of Wands shows where one is faced with either real or imaginary foes, but continues on. This is determination, facing obstacles with bravery, and perhaps putting in an exaggerated effort to handle a relatively small problem. It can also mean that one expects the worst and is therefore preparing for the worst, often over-preparing in the long run. Perhaps it is really through the strength of will, and not reason, that they keep going.
The Nine of Wands was hurt in the past and still remembers it. The thing that actually hurts now is not the bodily wound, but the wounded pride and the wounded ego. The Nine of Wands tells of someone who has a wounded ego because of past hurts but carries on bravely, even though they need not go forward carrying the baggage of their hurtful memories.
Either way — and no matter what his reason — he will keep going, come Hell or high water.
When the Nine of Wands is reversed, it can mean cowardice and retreat, but it can also mean that the querent is still trying to decide whether to give up or keep going, and aren’t feeling particularly strong enough to overcome setbacks or obstacles.
Nine of Wands reversed can also mean that the biggest problem is a lack of courage in general, and that the querent must address this before they can address any of the other problems. Of course, the querent probably doesn’t see it that way; it’s some other thing or more often, some other person, or what someone did to them. There’s a lot of deflection and projection going on. The querent is going to have to come to their own conclusion that it’s their cowardice making the decisions, and letting it do that won’t work.
In a three-card reading, this card means…
Past: In the past, the querent got hurt or was thwarted, but they saw their way through it and this perseverance has brought them to this moment.
Present: Currently, the querent is dealing with some setbacks, delays, or obstacles, but they still have their eye on the prize and keep going despite these problems.
Future: The querent is going to face some obstacles, largely in their own head, and will have to shore up their courage to face what is coming, but they’ll do it.