(The above image is a copy of The Nine of Swords card in a standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck. The 6 symbols pointed out above are explained below.)
The Nine of Swords depicts a figure waking up from a bad dream. Above him hovers the nine swords. The card is an allusion to the dark night of the soul where a person faces an existential crisis. While the card contains pain, it also contains the hope that this dark night will turn into a bright morning of enlightenment.
For more information about The Nine of Swords card, check out A. E. Waite’s description here.
Point 1 – FIGURE
The figure in the card is seen in a state of shock and epiphany. They bury their face in their hands to reveal their disbelief. This posture illustrates the painful aspect of enlightenment, sometimes referred to the dark night of the soul.
Point 2 – SWORDS
The nine swords float above the figure, as if they are a representation of the figure’s epiphany. The swords are notably caught in the light, creating a juxtaposition between them and the black background. The arrangement of the swords conveys a sense of pattern and design to the figure’s epiphany.
Point 3 – BLACK BACKGROUND
The black background further illustrates the concept of the dark night of the soul. It tells of the suddenness and unexpected nature of spiritual epiphanies. Through the black background we are able to see the void within the figure’s consciousness.
Point 4 – CARVING OF PEOPLE FIGHTING
Along the bedframe, there is carved two people fighting each other. This carving illustrates the conflicting voices within the figure’s psyche. Such a disharmony naturally comes from states of spiritual epiphanies. On one hand, you have your old beliefs and on the other you have your new encounter.
Point 5 – ROSES ON QUILT
If the carving represents the figure’s disharmony, the roses on the quilt represent the figure’s harmony. Like a rose, there is an undeniable beauty in spiritual revelations. They can shock us out of our sleep and also comfort us back to rest.
Point 6 – ZODIAC SYMBOLS ON QUILT
Along with roses, there are various zodiac symbols on the quilt. Like the arrangement of the swords, the zodiac symbols point to a divine plan or design. Spiritual epiphanies naturally come from an endorsement of the cosmos.
An Upright Nine of Swords suggests worry, anxiety and restless sleep. Perhaps you are being overwhelmed by a feeling or are haunted by a past trauma. An Upright Nine of Swords encourages you to face those trouble head on. Constantly harping on them will only cause corrosion: holding your breath causes you to lose it. Meditate on what is keeping you up at night, talk about it with friends or a therapist. Use the dark night to gain enlightenment by the morning.
While an Upright Night of Swords suggests external trauma, a Reverse Nine of Swords suggests internal trauma. Perhaps you are hard on yourself or you lack any sense of self-worth. A Reverse Nine of Swords encourages you to connect with yourself on a deeper level in order to appreciate who you are.
For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our blog here.
About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company Upwork.com. You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B. A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and a M. A. in English from the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about Tarot here and his LinkedIn profile here.