The 9 of Swords teaches us that the terrors we conjure in our minds are not real. However, the pain and suffering they cause are. Also, those thoughts – if entertained over extended periods of time – begin to form our personality and our reality. Calming the mind and mastering worrying thoughts is the key to health and happiness.
“The largest part of what we call ‘personality’ is determined by how we’ve opted to defend ourselves against anxiety and sadness.”
― Alain de Botton
The 9 of Swords focuses the passionate life force energy (Mars) in the realm of the intellect, where (when not reigned in) it will wreak havoc. This is clearly illustrated both in the Frideborg Tarot card above and in the traditional 9 of Swords imagery of the Rider Waite Tarot, where a woman is kept awake by her fears and anxiety.
It is interesting that I am writing about this card of terror of the mind on 9/11 – a day commemorating orchestrated terror on the mind in history. Mars in Gemini can signify deception and martial manipulation on a grand scale.
“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh
The 9 of Swords can indicate a need for counselling/talk therapy. Or at the very least a need to write your thoughts down. They often appear less terrifying in black on white. Alternatively, it can signify insomnia and a state of being drained/exhausted both physically and mentally due to lack of sleep. Either way, when the 9 of Swords shows up, it is not a good time to make important, life-changing decisions.
Affirmation: “I exhale peace and inhale love. I inhale peace and exhale love.”
9 of Swords Prayer
Dear Mother-Father God, help me centre myself in this moment, using my breath. Thank you for immersing me in the kind of perfect love that casts out all fear. Amen and so it is!
Correspondences for the 9 of Swords
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Archangel: Raphael, ruler of the Element of Air
Gemstone: Rose quartz, citrine and smokey quartz
Scent: Rose, lemon and sandalwood
The 9 of Swords in Love and Relationships
A card of worry, anxiety and despair. This is what I like to call ‘the card of the looping mind.’ The mind starts to loop with negative thoughts when we are unwilling or unable to face our own shadow. Instead, we blame others and outer circumstances for our problems. The problem is that we cannot control others. So blaming others places the solution out of reach.
That’s not to say that outer circumstances never play a role in our lives – of course they do. However, the 9 of Swords type person often fails to take action because of indecision and self-doubt. Nothing is done about the situation as they feel completely disempowered to move on.
This card is a bad sign for the relationship. One or both of you could be so terribly afflicted by negative thoughts, doubts and mistrust that building anything sound or solid is virtually impossible. The negativity has to be transformed before positive growth is possible.
Whether the 9 of Swords is well- or ill-dignified, negativity is the main problem, but if ill-dignified, danger could also be implied. There could be a real need to remove oneself from an abusive situation that could otherwise end very badly indeed.
Any physical intimacy that takes place under the sign of this card is likely to be categorised as ‘use and abuse.’ While there may be a strong intellectual attraction, there is no meeting of hearts. Power dynamics are always a possibility when Mars is present. One or both of you could be saying whatever will get you want/need at the moment, without any intention of staying true to your word.
However, as this is mostly a card of negative thought energy, physical intimacy has to be implied by surrounding cards for this element to be present at all. Also, bear in mind that all the 9s relate to the solitary Hermit card.
The Marseille Tarot image in this post is from the CBD Tarot by Yoav Ben-Dov.
Take me back to the Tarot Card Meanings page