To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy power which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates…
— Percy Shelley
So far, this seems to be a year in which many of our new beginnings are tinged with sadness. For our first week of Spring, we are greeted by the Nine of Swords. This is obviously a card of sorrow, and the anguish we sometimes feel in our dark hours alone.
Nines are the completion of the cycle, the fulfillment of the energy of the suit. And of course, Swords are the suit of the mind, communication, memory, intellect, attitude and perception. Notice that the carving on the bed is of a conflict, where one figure is defeated, awaiting the final blow. On the blanket, we see red roses – symbol of love and passion – interwoven with the signs of the zodiac, which points to the inclusion of others.
Thus, I believe that that this card speaks just as often to our suffering on behalf of those we love, as it does of our own pain or fears. This is also one of the few Tarot cards in the R-W-S deck, in which the central figure is of unclear gender – pointing to the universal nature of this situation.
Perhaps the person shown has had a terrible premonition in her or his dreams. Perhaps they are feeling regret, guilt or doubt concerning a loved one.
The Nine of Swords points to a time to pause and look honestly at the grief or fears you may have been closing your eyes to. That which you refuse to acknowledge in the light of day may appear to you in the cloak of night.
What fear or regrets do you need to face? Is this a decision that is now causing unhappy second thoughts and doubts? What troubling news have you received? What forgiveness is needed? What insistently calls to you in your dreams, though you wish it would not? What wrong needs to be put right?
There is great love behind this disturbing image – and therefore, there is hope. For while this is not the cheeriest card in the Tarot, it speaks to the deepest and loneliest places in the human heart.
Be honest with yourself. While, in the light of day, we can wear our game face and deny the things that trouble us, our dreams in the night are not fooled. Conversely, who may be in need of your reassurance and comfort? Just remember that sometimes, our darkest fears and worries may well dissolve in the light of day, for as it is told in the old faerie tale of Vasilisa and the Baba Yaga, “the morning is cleverer than the evening.”
This week, examine your situation carefully. Perhaps unburdening your heart with a trusted ally could bring clarity. At least be open to messages from dreams and Shadow, as challenging as they might be. And take your time before you make the choices that lie before you. Allow the dawning to come, for that could make all the difference.