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Tarot Cards News, Issue #015 -- Nine of Swords
May 17, 2013

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Nine of Swords

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Tarot Symbolism and Meaning of the Nine Of Swords

Tarot Symbolism and Meaning of the Nine Of Swords
By Carolyn Naiman

One of the more ominous cards that can come up in a tarot reading is the Nine of Swords tarot card. This is particularity true for those who are unfamiliar with the Tarot. After all, other than perhaps Death or the Devil tarot card, few other images found in tarot depict such a strong sense of dread and sorrow as the Nine of Swords. However, the true meaning of the Nine of Swords is really not as bad of a card as it may appear. Its meaning has to do more about inner emotional turmoil rather than any outer circumstances that may be a threat to our well being.

In its true sense, the Nine of Swords tarot card represents worries or anxiety. More often then not, these feelings are coming from inner anxiety caused by dread, self-doubt and indecisiveness. There may also be issues with poor sleep or troubling nightmares. In some cases, the Nine of Swords can pertain to issues of grief and loss. Whatever the cause may be, the Nine of Swords really reflects our personal fears or anxieties that are more a product of our own thinking rather than any real external threats that can physically harm us.

In traditional decks, the Nine of Swords depicts a female figure sitting up in bed, her hands over her face, sobbing from some unknown circumstance. Above her hangs nine oppressing swords which clearly represent the impact of her troubles. This is one of the darker images in the tarot deck, both symbolically and literally. The darkness relates to the fact that it is the middle of the night which is a reflection of her emotions.

Symbolically, however, the darkness or reference to night also suggests that there are unconscious implications. Dreams or night imagery can be a metaphor for the realm of our unconscious mind. This realm can be ruled by our emotions and psyche. It points to the fact that our inability to sort out what may be real from our unconscious fears can be a cause for emotional distress.

Thus, the Nine of Swords really suggests that our own fears can lead us to lose our ability to decipher the true from the false. This happens when the unconscious has overwhelmed the conscious, leaving us with feelings of doubt, blame and self-loathing. Left unchecked, these feelings can overwhelm us and prevent self-awareness, insight and perspective. If we want to heal and move forward, we must find a willingness to come to terms with our unconscious fears, feelings or past trauma.

Caroyn Naiman is a professional Tarot Reader and the Webmaster of To learn more on free online tarot or to try a free tarot reading, please visit her website.

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