Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.’
Mary Anne Radmacher, American author and artist
Back to visit again, having just done so in early February (also during a Mercury retrograde), the Nine of Wands encapsulates the profound weariness of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
In fact, every time it visits, this card feels like how we all check the news, wondering what fresh hell has transpired.
In the Tarot, the Nines traditionally are the culmination of the suit and show how the stories woven within may be resolved. (The Tens foreshadow the next cycle).
Wands are ruled by the element of Fire, which is associated with passion, energy, creativity, action, and power.
We can see that this figure has survived some difficulty, and bears the scars of his struggle. He is bruised, but not defeated.
Yet his defensive posture and his wary expression as he looks over his shoulder speak of his expectation that the fight may only have paused, and not yet be over. His bandaged head hints to us that his wounds may be as emotional as they are physical.
For although the other Wands are protectively lined up behind him, and he is at rest, he is not at ease. His expression is that of someone who fully expects more battles yet to come.
As we can see, this is another example of Pamela Colman Smith, the Waite-Smith deck’s artist, placing the main figure of the card on what appears to be a theater stage. Behind him, the Wands even resemble a curtain. Is it possible that this is a drama enacted for our benefit, rather than a literal truth?
As you know, Sunday’s New Moon in Cancer featured a Solar Eclipse – one which followed the Lunar Eclipse of June 5. The so-called “eclipse window” of Summer, 2020 will close on the July 5 Lunar Eclipse.
This week, then, you may be feeling like you’re going through the wringer, and with more work yet to do. You’re not wrong.
As Annie Heese of Cafe Astrology tells us:
This Solar Eclipse is the final eclipse in Cancer, in a set of eclipses falling along the Cancer-Capricorn axis that started in July 2018. Still, there is one more eclipse forthcoming in this set–on July 5th, a Lunar Eclipse occurs in Capricorn.
This eclipse can be considered another cosmic nudge toward creating a better balance between responsibilities to the world and to our homes, or between our inner and outer worlds. The focus is on new beginnings related to our personal lives, need for nurture and to nurture, attention to family, living conditions and arrangements, and domestic experience…
Since this is a Solar Eclipse, we may feel wiped out, ignored, or overruled before we are motivated to make a big change or new beginning. Its tight quincunx to Saturn further emphasizes the theme of adjustments or discomfort that spurs us to want to improve our lives.
It is also notable that on Tuesday, Neptune joins the current retrograde cluster, shifting into its annual five to six-month reversal (from our apparent view on Earth, not literally). While it slows, stops, and turns this week, it may seem as if there is “a veil over our affairs, and it can be challenging to see things clearly this week,” Annie tells us. “Still, the retrograde cycle itself is a period of increased receptiveness, even if we’re putting some of our dreams on hold.”
At least, there is one sign of forward progress this week. On Thursday, Venus ends a challenging retrograde that has been in effect since May 13.
However, before you throw a big party, or race out to get a new haircut, wardrobe, and/or lover (all aspects ruled by Venus), keep in mind that the “shadow period” of Venus retrograde will still be influencing us until July 29.
Besides, also on Thursday, the Leo Moon goes on a long void, starting at 1:34am, Eastern Time. I rarely mention Moon Void of Course, but this one bears watching because the ever-exceptional Elisabeth Grace warns that it occurs —
…on a challenge to Uranus. Surprise!!! Upsets in favor of the underdog? And then….the void continues for the next 36 hours. I see howls of indignation in this long void — but possibly muted by an inability to engage.
Stick to routine concerns if you must be at the office. Find time for creative play — give yourself permission to wander.
Remember that crises that crop up during void are often much ado about nothing. CHILL!!
With Mercury’s retrograde in full swing, along with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto, hugely transformational influences are now at work. The status quo is unraveling, so use these retrogrades for re-visiting, re-considering, reviewing, and reflecting.
Helping this along is the fact that, as mentioned before, the Nine is the natural conclusion of the Wands’ narrative trajectory. Receive this as an opportunity to pause and assess, while you can do so with some sense of composure and protection.
The intensity of this watershed year is going to only increase, especially with Mars entering its own sign of Aries on Saturday. Elisabeth offers additional insight into the exhaustion so many of us are experiencing:
Note that Mars is at the end of Pisces all week. First, we have a sense of a last-ditch effort in the face of seeming wipe-out, as Pisces is literally the END. The last degrees of Pisces are close enough to the Aries Point, so assertion, aggression — and all Mars themes are likely to be PROMINENT. Sports, war, cars, guns, the head, men, the color red, iron, etc.
Mars enters Aries — the sign it rules — at 9:45 PM ET. The energy of action is thus reborn in Aries. Instead of acting as if all might be lost (Pisces), it is as if everything old is new again.
Mars in Aries needs to gets things started — not now, but RIGHT NOW. Aries energy is crusading, innocent, inspiring, impatient, courageous and somewhat of an idealist. Everyone whose horoscope was affected by Sunday’s 0 Cancer eclipse will be affected by the arrival of Mars at 0 Aries. Watch for them to act — or be acted upon. Mars will be in Aries for the rest of the year.
If the watery fizzle of Aries in the final degrees of Pisces slows things down a little this week, compounded by the lack of exact aspects among the planets, take advantage and catch your breath.
“The last time we had a ‘lull’ like this,” Elisabeth cautions, “was the week George Floyd was murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin. Therefore, I’m ready for anything, in the way one prepares for the sudden collapse of an ice shelf into the ocean. Just like that.”
Like our Nine of Wands hero, rest on your wand, get patched up, and be ready for whatever is next. Yes, another shoe is very likely to drop.
Burn Brightly or Burn Out
Even though we are inundated daily with what seems to be an endless montage of existential tragedy and change, we do not have the luxury of throwing our hands up in despair and walking away.
Similarly, our Nine of Wands hero may be hurting, but he is not defeated. He reminds us that if the cause is just, we must keep showing up. Like him, there are times when we must stand our ground, even though we may feel battered, weary, and even, at times, hopeless.
Sometimes, it is a victory to simply vow that we will try again tomorrow.
Perhaps you have been on the front lines, demanding justice for the countless People of Color who continue to be murdered by bigots. Maybe you’ve joined the call for an end to a corrupt system of racial and gender bias. Or maybe you are working to protect the voting rights of the citizenry, or to roll back the disastrous juggernaut of climate catastrophe.
On a more intimate level, most of us are feeling utterly fried by the ongoing grind of coping with COVID-19. For so many it’s taking a tremendous toll on families, relationships, finances, housing, and employment. Not to mention our physical and mental health.
This week’s card suggests that when something really counts, defeat is not an option. And yet, there are also times when it is necessary to step back and assess our position (and tend to our wounds).
How might you step back this week, reduce some of the stress, and refresh your vitality and creativity?
Is it true that (besides going out into the public) you must always be vigilant and never lower your guard? What is this underlying attitude of anxiety costing you?
Beware of burnout and our culture’s veneration of struggle and drama.
What alternative ending to this suit’s story of Fire, change, magic, and passion would you prefer to manifest instead?
Look behind you, and see the protection of the eight wands who have your back. Trust who you have become, shaped by hard experience.
May our inner and outer wars be resolved and may peace and safety be granted to all.