When I flipped over the first card for this week I had myself a little chuckle. I love this verision of the nine of swords. Not only are the swords one of my favorite suites in the deck (I had to learn to love them when they were I all I seemed to pull as a new reader!) but they have a direct, almost dramatic way of looking at the world.
And this nine? Well, it's probably the most "metal" tarot card I've seen! It reminds me of the t-shirts an ex of mine used to wear with wild, grotesque illustrations and band names I could never read they were so ornate.
Similarly, this card throws a lot at us visually, so much that we almost want to move on without delving into what it could mean. It's off-putting and so we assume it's message is clear aka something unpleasant is happening.
If we look at the next two cards, however, we'll see that this busy, nasty nine sets the stage for some colorful simplicity. How can this be?
The nine of swords shows us how we can really get in the weeds when it comes to our thoughts. Those disembodied eyeballs? They remind us how when we're feeling extra vigilant and anxious we detach from the rest of ourselves. We're just alert, all eyes, looking for the next sign of trouble. We're not whole.
When we're feeling like this everything can look like a threat, even what once seemed comforting and benign. In a nine of swords state of mind we can't trust our first reactions. It's like when you're home alone and the sun goes down. The bright sunny house felt so cozy moments ago, but now that it's plunged into darkness any creak or motion has you thinking the only plausible cause is a serial killer on the loose.
Yet while it's not pleasant to experience, these moments remind us in no delicate terms that being all nervous eyeballs is no way to live. We've swung away from balance, lost touch with the rest of our senses, and it doesn't feel good. This week we'll be getting a reminder to step back, breathe deeply, and think of ways to look at the world differently.
We move out of the thinking suite of swords and into the protective and creative suits of wands. Not just any wands card, but the queen of wands! She is telling us to reign in our wild, fearful thinking and center again on ourselves and what is precious to us.
Far from being passive, this queen is telling us we can be alert and protective but of something truly valuable. Where the nine of swords shows protective instincts motivated by fear, the queen of wands shows protectiveness inspired by creativity and action.
We're being asked to focus on what we're fighting for rather than fighting against. And not so much fighting, but protectively nurturing. What is this snake coiled around? Three beautiful eggs and an elegant branch. What precious ideas are we keeping warm right now? What can we do to give them the perfect environment to hatch in?
We're going to be presented with many opportunities to correct our knee jerk reactions this week and reframe our thinking. In the process, we'll be forced to simplify. Three eggs and a branch instead of a terrifying melange of eyeballs, swords, and worms. Ultimately, we'll be opening up to one, unifying new possibility: the ace of cups.
I see the nine of swords as the necessary struggle we must confront in order to make the conscious edits to our cluttered lives. We can't know the value of our actions in the world without struggle to give them contrast. After wading through this with bravery, we'll have stripped away enough extras to leave us open, vulnerable, and ready to accept a new, life-expanding gift.
The ace of cups signifies an incoming energy of giving, tenderness, and relationships. We can't accept these gifts if we're wrapped up in fear and they're coming our way, so the challenge has been given to us. Rise to it and we'll be able to usher in a new phase with ease and gladness.