Nine (IX) of Wands

The Nine (IX) of Wands

9 of Wands Upright


Wariness, Anxious, Guarded,Wounded, On The Look Out, Expecting Trouble,  On Guard, On Duty, ‘Old Soldier’, Hero, Patriot, Veteran,  True Grit, Experience, Showing Some Backbone, Wait and See, Patience, Perseverance, Persistence  Stoic, Stamina, Hidden Reserves, Strength, Force of Will, Conviction, Determination,  Fortress, Defensive, Protection, Stay Tough, One Last Stand, Not Beaten Yet, Holding Back the Enemy, Holding Out, Get Up and Fight Your Corner, Battles, On-going Battles, Battles and Conflict Coming to an End, Caught off Guard, Enemies, Tread Carefully, Opposition, Challenges, Set-Backs, Not Working Out as Planned, Introspection, Retrospection, Reflection, Strong Competition, Overly Competitive,  Standing Alone, Fighting For a Cause, Higher Ground, Principles, Isolation, Alone, Back-Up, Support, Delegation, Paranoia, Suspicion, Realising Past Mistakes, Too Many Commitments,  Burdens, Sole-Ownership, Responsibilities, Fatigue, Weary, Battle Weary,  Soldier, Bodyguard, Patterns



When the Nine of Wands appears in your Reading prepare to defend yourself. Oh dear, there is a sense of anxiety here and an expectation of trouble on the horizon.  This may be new trouble or the return of troubles from the past.  On way or another, your back is up and you are preparing to go into battle if necessary. You may feel very alone in this situation and there is a possibility that you do not know who you can trust.   You may have been caught off guard, didn’t see it coming or are totally surprised and shocked by its origin and orchestrators. This may be business you thought was sorted, finished, done and dusted but it has never really gone away.  There may be several others involved so you must be wary and guarded but resist becoming paranoid and overly suspicious about everyone.  Your initial reaction will be to keep yourself to yourself and back off from normal contact with others for the sake of self-preservation and to assess the situation from a distance. Rest assured you do have supporters but it is hard to tell who is who right now. A key message with the Nine of Wands, is to resist the Wands natural inclination to knee-jerk reactions and aggressive retaliation.  Patience and Perseverance is asked of you now and because this is a Stage Card it is best to wait and see what is really going on before you take any action or make accusations. It is important that you seek the higher ground and not give in to coming down to their level.

If the trouble suggested is resurfacing from the past, there is a very good chance that you were badly hurt by it and still carry the scars.  The last thing you want to do is to expose yourself to potential hurt again but you cannot just sit back and do nothing.  Think this one out clearly before you respond. You are bound to be feeling weary and fatigued by its very presence but you must not show any signs of weakness.  You just can’t believe you are back here again for you have had more than enough of it already but you must stay tough. However, you now have the chance to sort your problems out once and for all as the number Nine suggests that your trouble or hard work is nearing an end once you take the right steps to handle the situation.  If not, the Nines do speak of repetitive cycles and patterns so you may find yourself in the same situation further down the line.  Deal with it now once and for all. Try not to listen to the heated advice of others who will attempt to ignite your emotions.  Some people love a drama and so will try to stimulate it wherever they can.  Even though you may feel angry and incited, try to keep your own counsel and deal with the situation in a mature and balanced manner.  Think you can’t handle this one alone? Well, that is where you are wrong.  You are stronger than you think and will be even stronger afterwards.

The Nine of Wands often refers to the necessity to be on your guard due to the hidden enemies. It could be a time to watch your back and keep an eye on everything that you hold dear or worked hard for. Tread carefully and give no one the opportunity to take advantage.

This Card can suggest that you are committed to a cause and prepared to do anything for it. You are going to take this all the way and nothing or no one is going stop you.  You are determined to be the last man standing, the lone soldier, and know that you have the stamina it requires to resist and overcome all opposition.  Stoic and enduring, your strength and beliefs are admirable indeed. Others may be relying on you to save the day. You may act selflessly by putting yourself in the line of danger to save or defend another.   A true Hero and Patriot, you will not let your people or side down.

With the Nine of Wands there is the tendency to be constantly in some form of battle or another. You are either jumping in to other people’s battles in their defence or just for the sake of it, or you have a tendency to draw conflict to yourself.  You are so used to conflict that it has become the norm.  People may see you as someone who has an aggressive streak or too hot-headed. This will isolate you from others and you may question why everyone stays away from you. You must address the situation by reflecting on all your past actions, as the problems may lie within. It is a time bring all negative behaviour to an end by breaking the cycles that perpetuate it. You may also be battle-weary and fed up with the constant cycle of conflict in your life.

The Nine of Wands can also indicate extreme competitiveness. There may be a constant need to challenge others and prove that you are the best at what you do. Relax, you do not have to excel at everything but you must question where this need to win comes from. You may need to look into your past or childhood for answers.

The Nine of Wands, depending on surrounding Cards can refer to a situation that is not working out as expected.  A lot of hard work and effort may have gone into it. Indeed, you may have given it everything you have but it still refuses to comply.  Tired and fed up, you are probably sick to your teeth with the whole situation.  You may feel like giving up and throwing the towel in but that is the last thing you must do. Patience and Perseverance will save the day.  You must absolutely refuse to take no for an answer. Strengthen your resolve and keep at it, over and over again if necessary until you get it right. The Nine of Wands suggests that it can still happen for you but you really have to throw everything at it now and give it your best shot.  Every time you get knocked down, just dust yourself down and stand back up.  You have the stamina it requires, so you can do it. You are tough and can survive this. Don’t give up at this stage.  Make one Last Stand, your best one yet, and finish what you started. This is real character building stuff for sure. Think success now for you are nearly there. Ignite the Fire within.

When the Nine of Wands appears in a Spread it can suggest that it time for Introspection and Reflection.  You may be weighing up your past successes and failures and deciding what to commit to in the future. Life is indeed a hard training ground and you surely have been through the mill when this Card shows up. You may feel like an old veteran of life at this stage; been there, done that, worn the t-shirt, fought the battles and have the scars to prove it. It can suggest that you are at the end of a particular cycle in your life and are now seeking a new way forward.  To move forward successfully, you must tie up any loose ends and sort unfinished business.  More importantly, you must have an idea of where you want to go and what you want to take with you.  This will involve looking back to your past and reflecting on what it means to you.  We all make mistakes and with hindsight we can be terribly hard on ourselves.  We all have incidents in our past that now make us cringe but hopefully we have matured, learned our lessons and moved on.

When the Nine of Wands appears it asks you to think a bit deeper for you need to identify any repetitive patterns of negative behaviour or personality traits that were not working in your best interests.  You need to acknowledge whether they were  left, rightly so in the past, or have they being brought into your present? Are they still causing problems for you now? Are they wearing you out? If yes, it is a time for maturity and decisive action.  Cut loose, set free or discard any aspects of your life that you do not wish to take into your future. This may involve moving away from a social circle, certain lifestyle, job, home or relationship. Concentrate on your successes and strengths and think positively. A new era is on the horizon and a fresh start in sight.   Clear the decks so that you can make the most of it.

The Nine of Wands can be an indication of near burn-out or physical exhaustion.  It can be a sign that you have been doing too much and overdoing it just about everywhere. The thing is, you don’t handle this very well for you are not used to feeling tired and run down.  You keep pushing and pushing yourself to the extreme and there may be a problem with delegation. You take too much on yourself and try to remain in control.  You have too many commitments and projects being worked on. You are probably trying to do it all yourself.  In order to relieve some of the strain you may need to offload some of the least important projects from your life as you feel constantly ‘on duty’. Call in some help, someone to share the workload, for you cannot it manage it all single-handedly.  You need to step back from the whole lot and take a good look, for it is all too much.  Is this what you wanted? Is it doing you any good? Is it making you happy? If your answer is no, then you must do something about it.  Start to offload any projects or commitments that are really not worth keeping. Others may wish to take on those things that are wearing you down and sapping your energy.  Keep only what works for you. Lighten your load and vow not to let yourself get into the same situation again. You have a tendency to get excited about new things and will always want to be involved.  You believe that you have the energy and enthusiasm for all, but the truth at this stage is, you cannot give them all equal attention. You have great stamina and staying power but there is a limit for everyone.

Another aspect of the above relates to overdoing with physical exercise and sport.  There may be old injuries or the threat of injury.  You may not be as young as you think you are but continue to put yourself through gruelling workouts. Try to pace yourself a little more and allow tired, strained muscles to rest and heal.

When referring to relationships The Nine of Wands would indicate that you are very wary of relationships and may indeed have been hurt in the past and possibly several times. This causes you to hide behind self-created defences.  You bear all the battle scars of broken hearts, broken promises and breach of trust in relationships. You wonder where it all went wrong. Love was not supposed to be as difficult as this. You need to look back at the pattern which has developed and decide why your relationship/s have not worked. You will need to examine your own involvement and reassess what it is that you want out of a relationship.  You need to understand where you have been going wrong and break any negative cycles.  Perhaps you have been looking for love in all the wrong places. It might be time to start afresh.

However, if you have been guilty of cavorting around and one night stands then they may have caught up with you. You certainly bit off more than you can chew as you look back at all your past conquests lined up behind you. Perhaps you thought that playing the field was exciting and no one was going to trap you, for you were a free agent? Alas, now you stand alone with only yourself for company. It may be time to drop your guard and let someone into your life. Then again, there may be surprise or shock for you as an old flame reappears causing trouble or stirring up issues from the past.  If surrounding Cards concur, there may be a child or children you do not know about. Someone may be looking for maintenance as a result.

You may now be looking for love after getting over all your younger-self commitment issues but others may see you as the ‘oldest swinger in town’ or the ‘confirmed bachelor’, someone with a reputation for breaking hearts.  You may find it hard to be taken seriously and feel hurt when people keep their distance from you.  You will really have to examine your past to see how all this has happened. If you want to change, it will take some effort on your part to prove it to others.

The Nine of Wands can also act as a warning in a relationship, especially a new one. It advises you to be wary and on your guard, for there is a strong possibility that you may get hurt.  It also warns of getting involved with a partner who is carrying a lot of emotional baggage from previous relationships, as these will impact on yours. You could end up getting blamed or punished for the acts of another. There can be a threatening aspect about this partner. Be careful.

The Nine of Wands can also suggest that a partner is being very protective in a relationship.  This may leave you feeling secure and stable or cosseted and claustrophobic, depending on the level of protection. If suspicion or paranoia is involved, there is bound to be a close guard kept on the comings and goings of the affected partner.  Conversations with others, especially when out in company, will be observed closely for any signs of becoming too intimate or personal.   Jealousy will also be evident. Look out for the Four of Pentacles, The Devil and Reversed Court Cards.

When it comes to work, you probably have taken on way too much. You kept saying yes to every exciting opportunity that came your way. You were the first to volunteer for any challenge? Look at you now though. Worn out, exhausted and keeping an eye on everything. Looks like you have been left minding or holding the baby while the others have gone off to play or even gone to lunch. Not so exciting now is it? Why is it that you always seem to be on duty? You will have to take a good look at how you got yourself into this position in the first place if you ever want to change your circumstances.

Maybe the business you started with such enthusiasm and excitement has now drained you physically, mentally and emotionally. You never seem to get a break and it all seems to be down to you. The responsibility of keeping the business running and the money coming in to pay salaries etc weighs heavily on you now.  Then again, you may be trying to run the business single-handedly, believing that you can do it all but the strain is showing. Your business will also suffer if you cannot give every area of it the attention it warrants.  It is time to hire some staff and share out the workload.  Then again, you may have staff but do not utilise them efficiently.  You may be trying to oversee their work and redoing everything they have done. Delegation may be hard for you but you must hand over some of the lesser important aspects so that you can concentrate on what is important.

In Business, your competitors may be closing in on you and trying to steal some of your clients or business. You need to be alert and on your guard for it is happening now.  Don’t let them take all that you have worked hard for. You may think they have the upper hand, but honestly, you have been here before and well able to stand your ground and take them on.  Show a bit of determination and fight for what is rightfully yours.

The Nine of Wands in a Career Reading may simply imply that you may be working as a Security Guard, Soldier or Body Guard.


9 of Wands Reversed


Stubborn, Unyielding, Refusing to Compromise/Negotiation, Rigid, Extreme Pride, Difficult, Awkward, Disagreeable, Volatile,  Cantankerous, Obstinate, Inflexibility, Wanting Your Own Way, Refusing to Lay Down Arms, Standoff, Stalemate, Battle Hungry, Looking for Trouble, Isolation, Alienation, Extreme Paranoia, Suspicious, Lack of Trust, Going it Alone, Heavy Responsibilities, Burdens, Last One Standing, Battle Fatigue, No Fight Left in You, Giving Up Hope, Retreat, Withdrawal, Chronic Fatigue, Burn Out, Nervous Exhaustion, Old Wound Flare Ups, Focusing on Past Failures/Weaknesses, Negative Repetitive Patterns, Not Learning from Past Mistakes, Bad Luck, Setbacks, Delays, Stagnation, Stasis, On Hold, Emotional Baggage, Chip On Shoulder, Hang Ups, Shirking Responsibilities and Commitments,  Overly Burdened, Panicky, Off Duty  

When the Nine of Wands Reverses it can suggest that you have dug  you heels into a situation and stubbornly refuse to negotiate or compromise on the situation.  The defensiveness of the Upright disappears and is replaced with a bull-headed unyielding and  rigid stance.  Even though you, and all involved, know that you need to come down off your high horse and back down, you continue to resist.  There is a very good chance that you are in the wrong and that this situation could be easily dealt with, but your pride will not let you admit it. Instead you become awkward and difficult, determined to keep the conflict or battle going.  You will claim black is white and disagree on just about every item.  You cling wildly to your misguided beliefs and will shout down anyone who attempts to voice their opinion. You are impossible to talk to or reason with. More than likely, it is your pride that is struggling with having to concede or admit you were wrong.   You may have taken it all personally and feel slighted or of little importance.  There is also a chance that this whole incident and your behaviour has been triggered by something from your past.  You may be fighting a battle that is years old and long forgotten by others.  However,   it remains buried deep in your psyche and continues to exert its force once the right buttons are pressed.

There is also the possibility that it’s very alien for you not to be in full control or in the driving seat.  You are used to winning all the time and getting your own way.  Now others are getting their way and you don’t like it. This is bound to make you aggressive and volatile.  It will also make you loud and overbearing.  You might be ranting and raving about ridiculous petty and trivial items in an attempt to sound superior. However, you now have to give in to others, but instead of complying with some decency and retaining your integrity, you might very well have to be carried or forced off the stage by others. You may be voting against the vast majority, refusing to accept the outcome. Your lone battle cry may be of little interest to others who just want things settled and sorted. Try to listen to the consensus of opinion, after all, that is what democracy is all about.

Then again, the battle you have fought for so long may be eventually over. As the dust settles, you realise that you are the last one standing.  What you have fought for has been achieved. You held out to the last, to the bitter end and you have prevailed. You now have to establish if it was worth all the effort and stress.  What have you gained? For those who fell, where are they now? What happens next?

When the Nine of Wands Reverses we can easily see the soldier who continues to guard his fortress or post, poised and ready for attack, from an enemy that is never going to appear.  The Battle is over but no one has told the soldier.  Then again, there is a possibility that the battle rages only in his head and nowhere else.  Paranoia and Suspicion may be running rampant, with wild imaginings and delusional thought processes.  This may be the result of prolonged exposure to stress and precious little physical rest.  Burnout and chronic fatigue may have taken the legs out from under you.  There is a danger of physical or nervous collapse.  You certainly are not yourself but you may be struggling to maintain some form of normal front. You are loath to admit your condition to anyone and so it intensifies and worsens.  Your behaviour can become extreme and your demands unreasonable.  You temper is bound to be volatile; blaming others for their imagined failings or launching vicious, ridiculous accusations at innocent bystanders.  People will tread on eggshells around you or give you as wide a berth as possible.  Those around you may be passing comments such as ‘he’s gone mad’, ‘she has flipped’ or ‘he’s lost the plot altogether’.  You will need a close friend or family member to help, someone who will not recoil at your extreme behaviour. You, who is never sick and cannot stand it in others is now not able to cope. You need rest and plenty of it.  You may need to take some time off work and turn your mobile phone off.  Sleep, good nutrition and gentle exercise may help bring the body and mind into balance again. If the paranoia and suspicion has become entrenched then you may need some professional help.

This leads nicely to another aspect of the Reversed Nine of Wands. The idea here is that you must retreat from the battle ground instead of making a last stand.  You have no fight left in you or have decided that the battle is of no importance and a waste of time.  You need to step back and view the situation for what it really is.  Remember, this is a Stage Card.  Once at a safe distance you will be able to see what is real and what is not.  Everything will come into perspective and then you will be in a better position for making clear and focused decisions about how you proceed from here, once you are ready to move again.

If you have taken on too much, then now is the time to offload some of your commitments. You realise they are draining you and now actively seek a way out. You will have to start trusting others to do what you have been single-handedly trying to cope with up till now. You may have no option but to learn the art of delegation.  You will need to reorganise and re-structure your life so that it works for you instead of against you. You may also have to accept that the time has come in your life when you can no longer do what you used to do.  You may not have the same stamina as in years gone by and for anyone being represented by this Wand’s Card in a similar scenario, will find this extremely difficult to come to terms with.  This much-needed break will give you the time to reflect on your life to date.  Your present circumstances will subtlety force you into looking towards your future.  You will have to weigh up all the pros and cons, past successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses to determine what exactly it is you wish for your future.  To move forward positively, you must now simplify your life.  Do not take on anything new as you have much unfinished business to attend to.  The Nine reminds you that you are coming to the end of your current cycle and are bound to be feeling a shift in energy around you.  Only take forward that which has continued to consistently hold your attention and interest. Take forward only that which gives you joy and happiness.

With the Extreme Aspect of The Nine of Wands Reversed we can also find the person who wants a way out of their situation but does not have the patience to wait.  Instead they just up and abandon their responsibilities, obligations and commitments.  They leave other people to pick up the pieces or clean up the mess that they so eagerly made in the first place.  You will find that they have a habit of doing this in every aspect of their life.  Repetitive negative patterns leave them restless and incapable of seeing anything through to the finish.  They become bored and disinterested too easily.  They find it hard to live in the present for they have already moved on to the future.  They rarely reflect on their actions and never look back to their past.  If they did, they may learn a few painful home truths.  When it comes down to it, they cannot be trusted or relied upon.

In both the Nine of Wands Upright and Reversed, the Figure is alone. However, in the Reverse this becomes more extreme.  You may feel totally isolated, alienated and out of touch with normal life. Pride, ego and self-esteem may be at an all time low and there is a sense of feeling like a failure and useless. If you are reflecting on your past then you may be concentrating too heavily on your mistakes, failures and weaknesses.  Your outlook for the future is bound to be negative and pessimistic. You might feel that your life has to come to a complete standstill and that nothing is happening.  You can’t seem to get a break anywhere and luck is certainly not on your side.

In the Reversed Nine of Wands, the Figure looks like he is standing waiting for something and it reminds me of all the times over the years when I stood for hours waiting for buses that never arrived.  I remember, standing in the rain and dark staring down the road in the direction the bus would come from, straining my eyes for any sight of it.  More times than not, it never arrived but it would take some time for me to accept the inevitable before heading off to find an alternate way home.  Therefore, you might feel that you have been waiting forever for something you really want or desire but are now reaching the stage where you are giving up hope of ever seeing it materialise. Maybe it is coming and you just have to wait a little longer but then again, it might not be on the way at all.  You will have to go back to the Eight of Wands to release the much-needed energy that will catapult your out of your state of stasis.  One way or another, you will be moving forward soon, but it may not be the way you have planned it or in the direction you had in mind.

When it comes to Relationships, there is a tendency for terrible loneliness and paranoia. You feel that no one wants you and that you are un-lovable. This Reversed Nine suggests that you have been badly hurt in the past and have difficulty letting go of all the pain from your heart and mind.  You are concentrating too much on past failed relationships. You feel that you can never trust anyone enough again to let them into your heart. There is a tendency to get caught up in negative repetitive patterns of relationships in this Card.  You fail to learn from your mistakes of the past and so get the same unwelcome result each time. Instead of throwing yourself on a bed and crying ‘woe is me’ dry your eyes and ask yourself why things like this keep happening to you? Your mindset and beliefs will create your reality either for good or bad. If you believe no one loves you, then guess what? No one will.  You must accept your share of responsibility in your relationship failures but don’t beat yourself to death about it.  It takes two to tango and if you keep tangoing with the wrong people, people who do not dance to the same rhythm as you, then your are bound to get your toes trodden on. Reflect on this and then focus on your positive aspects and strengths. It is time to move on and let the past go along with any unhealthy habits, behaviour and mindsets.

The Nine of Wands Reversed can suggest that you are involved with a partner who has serious hang ups, chips on their shoulder or is carrying heavy emotional baggage.  Your desire is to fix them but they may not want to be fixed.  They carry their wounds like war medals and can play the victim and martyr role when they feel neglected and want attention from you.  There may be dark heavy moods and silences that you are supposed to understand, accept and tolerate because of what they have been through. You need to step back from this relationship and see it for what it really is. Your partner is needy, clinging, whingeing and needs constant reassurance that they are loved.  They are using you as a crutch and have been leaning on you for some time.  Indeed your shoulders will be aching from the weight of carrying this relationship for so long.  Take a good look at your partner and ask yourself if they are making any progress in moving on from all their issues? If not, then it is time to move on or get out as it will only contaminate your personality.  There is no life, zest or fun in this relationship.You have been dragging this horse around for too long.

Career-related, this may symbolise the sole business owner who has to carry all the worries and responsibilities of the business on their own. Going it alone, you may feel terribly isolated as you try to keep things afloat.

Things may not be going too well in work or business, but instead of learning from past mistakes, you continue to repeat them. You might be stuck in your ways and stubbornly refusing to change with the times. You need to stand back and take a good look at what you are doing as you can’t see the wood for the trees at present and find it impossible to be objective. One thing is for sure and that is you are exhausting yourself while getting no where. There is likely to be a great divide between management/boss and staff, a feeling of us and them.  You need to rally support around you, not push it away.  There is a way out of this situation but you need to calm down within yourself.  You job or business is more than likely stuck in a rut at present and you may be getting a bit hysterical about it all. You may be paranoid of the competition around you in work or your competitors in business.

Changes certainly need to be made and if your job or business is worth fighting for then go for it.  If it is has run its course then let it go with dignity and make sure to look after staff, tie up any loose ends and complete any unfinished business before moving on to new pastures. Time to go back to the preceding Eight of Wands and find the surge of enthusiasm and energy once more.

The Upright Nine of Wands deals with being caught off guard but in the reversed, it can simply imply that the guard is now ‘off duty’.  This can suggest that after a long period of toil and stress, your workload is beginning to lighten or has been removed altogether.  You may have been working double shifts for the last period of time but now can look forward to a break or the return to normal working hours.  A solider or military person may be coming to the end of a long tour of duty and are relishing the thoughts of coming home to see family and friends again.  Then again, in the Extreme Aspect, you may badly need a break from work but either refuse to take one or are denied time off.  Your workload may be increasing rather than decreasing. Your leave may be cancelled at the last moment.

All in all, The Reversed Nine of Wands ask you to pause and stop in your tracks as you desperately need to reflect on your life or situation and see what you can learn from it. Otherwise you are going to continue going around in circles.  Stop trying to force things at present.  Time for a complete review, a reassessment and a new plan for the future.  A cycle is coming to an end and it is best not to fight it. Get prepared and be ready to go with the flow.

Wands  Cups   Swords   Pentacles

Ace of Wands   Two (II) of Wands   Three (III) of Wands    Four (IV) of Wands  Five (V) of Wands

Six (VI) of Wands  Seven (VII) of Wands  Eight (VIII) of Wands  Nine (IX) of Wands  Ten (X) of Wands

Back to 78 Cards – Brief Page

The 78 Cards – Detailed Study Version (Card Description, Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)

The 78 Cards – Shortened Version (Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)


Copyright © 2006-2013 Vivien Ní Dhuinn
Truly Teach Me Tarot Part I

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