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UPRIGHT: Resilience, courage, persistence, test of faith, boundaries
REVERSED: Inner resources, struggle, overwhelm, defensive, paranoia
The Nine of Wands shows an injured man, clutching a wand. He looks over his shoulder towards the eight wands that loom over him. He seems weary and worn, as though he has already been through a battle and now must face additional challenges with the presence of these eight wands. As a Nine, though, this is his final challenge before reaching his goal; he must endure this last test of his strength and character before reaching the finish line.
NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.
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The Nine of Wands comes as a sign that even in the face of adversity, you stand tall and strong. You may be on the edge of exhaustion, but you are resilient, persistent, and ready to do what it takes to get to the finish line.
This card may also come when you feel battered and bruised, having endured significant challenges and struggles along your path. Just when you think you are making progress, you suffer another setback. The Nine of Wands asks you to trust that this is merely a test of your ‘grit’ and resilience, and know that every time you overcome an obstacle, you are getting stronger. You have the inner resources necessary to overcome any difficulty you encounter, even though it may seem impossible at the time. See this Nine as an assurance that you will eventually prosper if you maintain your position. And, if you do not succeed at first, then try again.
The Nine of Wands encourages you to keep pushing – you are so close to the finish line. Even if you want to give up, this is your final challenge before you reach your goal, so don’t let go of your hopes and dreams when you are so close to making them a reality. Stand firm in the face of your challenges, and you will achieve your goal.
Others may try to oppose your plans, make things difficult for you, or even attack you for what you are putting out into the world. Often, they do it because they’re jealous of your success or are projecting their own insecurities and fears on you. Don’t let them get to you. You are a change-maker, and you have a vital message to share in this world. Don’t dim your light because of others’ insecurities.
On a more positive note, you have people who support you. The Nine of Wands invites you to find your cheerleaders and personal bodyguards, those who will protect you from the ongoing challenges and cheer you on to the finish line. Even if others oppose you, you have many more people who support your cause. Let them help you.
Finally, the advice of the Nine of Wands is to establish your boundaries and fiercely protect those lines. If you allowed others to stand in your way or deplete your energy, it is likely that you have not asserted yourself effectively with those people to protect yourself. Get clear on what you need in this situation to be successful and reach your goals, and then communicate those needs to others. On the same note, be aware that too many barriers will prevent others from getting close to you or helping you. Bring your conscious awareness to how you are proactively using boundaries to protect your energy.
The Nine of Wands reversed suggests that you are struggling to keep working towards your goal. The challenges on your path are relentless, pummelling you with setback after setback. You don’t know if you can cope with it anymore and may be ready to give up. Just know that you are oh-so-close to completing this challenge. Draw upon your internal resources – your resilience, inner courage, positive self-talk and mindset – to keep you going. You have it in you to turn this challenging situation into a fantastic success (and to help others facing similar hurdles). Keep fighting – you’ve got this!
The Nine of Wands reversed can also appear when you feel overcome by your responsibilities or lack the support of those around you. It seems as if life is all work and no play. If you know this is a temporary setback, you may just need to push through it for now so you can get to the finish line. Also, make sure you do not take on any other commitments at this stage until you have more control over your circumstances. If you cannot see any end in sight, then get help – hire a personal assistant or a housecleaner, enlist the support of your loved ones, or work with a coach or therapist to help you manage.
Sometimes, the reversed Nine of Wands can indicate paranoia, defensiveness and concern that everyone is out to get you. You may think you are always under attack by the same group of people or you are unfairly targeted. Often, this is a sign of fear from within you rather than an actual external threat. Focus on your own game and don’t worry about what other people are thinking or saying about you.