There is no grief like the grief that does not speak.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Like a rather unwelcome, but all-too-familiar guest, the Nine of Swords comes calling this week.
Nines are the cards that complete the energies of the suits, and bring the cycle to its conclusion. (Tens are transitional cards of “overflow,” which point towards the renewal or next phase).
And of course, Swords are the suit of the mind, communication, memory, intellect, attitude and perception. So the Swords, so full of difficulty, are completed as lonely sorrow.
The carving on the bed shows some kind of conflict, where one figure is defeated, awaiting the final blow. On the blanket, we see roses – symbol of love and passion – interwoven with the signs of the zodiac, which points to the inclusion of others.
This is also one of the few Tarot cards in the Waite-Smith deck in which the central figure is of uncertain gender – pointing to the universal nature of this situation.
Obviously a card of grief, it may depict the burdens we sometimes feel we must bear alone, and which rise before us in our dark hours. This card often speaks to our suffering on behalf of those we love, not just our own pain or fear.
Perhaps the person shown has had a terrible premonition in her or his dreams. Perhaps s/he feels regret, guilt or doubt concerning a loved one. Or perhaps it is just a deep awareness of loneliness and isolation.
It seems that nearly everyone I have spoken to recently has told me they are having unusual trouble sleeping at night. I have struggled with this myself.
Typically, the problem is not with falling asleep; it’s what one client of mine calls the “3 a.m. Club.” She describes popping wide awake around 3 in the morning, mind racing. From what I can tell, she certainly has plenty of company. Ranging from simply hyper-busy thoughts to actual anxieties and nameless sorrow, the intensity usually dispels by morning. Only to return the next night.
I believe that those of us who are intuitively open are being impacted deeply by the enormous changes now occurring around us.
For people who are psychically sensitive, how can we not be profoundly aware in our deep consciousness of the massive deaths of over 13,000 men, women and children in Japan (according to the most recent official account)? Who would not feel the ongoing desperation of families who are looking for the more than 14,000 still missing?
Not to mention all the other global pain that is amplifying and echoing all around us. Who with any heart at all can ignore the wars, the environmental destruction, the injustice, greed and lies that are corrupting our political systems, the squeeze of the economy, and on, and on?
You know it. I know it. No wonder we might be having trouble sleeping.
The Nine of Swords, as unhappy as it is, is an invitation to get real.
If you are sensitive to the cries of the world, the first step is to acknowledge and understand that this is so. And, despite the fact that it is painful sometimes, realize it is a gift to still feel in a world so seemingly intent on denial and numbness.
Perhaps it is time to name and acknowledge the shadow that haunts you in the night. What troubling news have you received, or perhaps dread to hear? What insistently calls to you in your dreams, though you may wish it would not? What wrong needs to be put right?
The resolution can sometimes be found in taking remedial action (Wands). Shifting our focus to our blessings can bring hopefulness and healing (Pentacles). Or it may be that we simply need to allow ourselves to feel and accept what we are going through (Cups), rather than hiding behind our daytime game face. In so doing, we may well discover we are not as alone in our silent suffering as we thought.
There is great love behind this disturbing image – and therefore, there is hope. When worry troubles us, when loneliness or dark thoughts enter our dreams, remember that such times come to all of us. While never pleasant, they are the wake-up call in the night, summoning us to deepen our compassion for ourselves, and for all beings.