The Nine of Wands is one of the Minor Arcana cards of a traditional tarot deck. In the Rider-Waite deck, the most popular divinatory tarot set, it is viewed as a card symbolizing opposition, obstacles, and setbacks. However, these setbacks can all be defeated through determination and willpower. The Nine of Wands is known in some decks as the Nine of Batons or Rods; its playing-card equivalent is the Nine of Clubs.
In the Rider-Waite tarot deck, the Nine of Wands card shows an injured man with a bandage on his head. He looks distressed, yet determined in spite of his injuries and setbacks. He stands on a concrete floor– given the context of the story told by the Suit of Wands, this may be a castle he is staking claim to. He holds one wand, while eight others build a barrier behind him.
As the character in the Suit of Wands faces challenges from outside sources, he stands firmly, insisting on claiming and defending new positions. The Nine of Wands signifies courage, stoutheartedness in the face of adversity, and willpower in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. In a tarot, the Nine of Wands tells the tarot reader that any obstacle met will be defeated, despite appearances of futility.
Although it may look unpleasant or disappointing, the Nine of Wands represents a positive outlook, because it offers reassurance to the tarot reading’s subject: opponents and obstacles will be defeated through strength of character. In most contexts, the Nine of Wands is seen as a tarot card of good fortune. The most serious struggles are not yet over, but they can and will be defeated.
When reversed, the Nine of Wands card is less encouraging. It indicates projects, goals, and dreams that will inevitably fail because they are impractical or faced with an unhealthy mindset. Sometimes, the Nine of Wands indicates poor health or lack of vitality. Motivation is lacking because of the tarot subject’s personality flaws. The reversed Nine of Wands shows a secure position that was lost to inaction and dissaray.
Depending on the context of the tarot reading, the card’s position in the spread, and the tarot subject’s situation, the Nine of Wands is a card that generally signifies an outcome that will ultimately be pleasant. If the obstacle in question is faced with optimism, healthy stubbornness, and a willingness to continue one’s stance on solid ground, victory will be attained.
Source: Rider-Waite Tarot Deck.
Refer to the author’s profile page for information about other tarot cards and their meanings.