Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Tarot Card of the New Moon Week, Jan. 11-17, 2021: Nine of Swords

That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.

We welcome the first New Moon of the New Year this week. But before the rebirth, we must endure the dark passage. Let us therefore make room yet again for the lessons of the Nine of Swords.

Obviously a card of sorrow, it depicts the anguish we sometimes feel in our dark hours alone. This card often speaks to, not only our own pain or fear, but our suffering on behalf of those we love.

Or for our country.

The Nines of the Tarot are the suit’s energetic conclusion (Tens are the overflow of the suit, directing us to the next cycle). And Swords rule the mind, communications, logic, discernment, and the stories we create about the nature of what is.

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 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 which the central figure is of ambiguous gender – indicating the universal nature of this situation.

The swords behind the figure do not actually pierce him or her, but three do line up quite clearly with the heart, the throat and third eye, and the crown chakras, implying extreme spiritual distress.

Beware of Maya

As many wisdom traditions teach, we must beware of the illusion that the intellect is our true identity. In our secularized, materialistic culture, we have placed an unprecedented faith in logic, analysis, and the triumph of the mind over all other aspects of our self-hood.

Experiences common to all humans — love, creativity, grief, desire, fear, spirituality — are deconstructed and analyzed in psychological terms, as if by so doing, the mind can then explain and manipulate them.

In Sanskrit, maya is a term given to how we forget or are distracted from our true divine nature. We identify ourselves with the body, our personality, and our ego rather than the Atman, the divine Self. Maya is the ignorance in which our everyday consciousness has become entangled, a veiling of the true Self.

Thus, the Nine of Swords shows the result of a life trapped in maya. It is what the intellect, bereft of feeling, physicality, energy, and soul awareness will create: nightmares, sorrow, isolation, fear, and suffering.

Truth and Consequences

With the Nine of Swords, we are challenged to face our inner fears and answer: what is real? What is a lie? What is the dream? What is the truth? Who is the dreamer?

Given the timing, especially with the astrological weather forecast for the days ahead, we must face the truth that our actions and choices have consequences.

Honestly, there are people who flabbergast me. How can they sleep at night, given the disasters they so cravenly create by their attitudes, their words, and their behavior? The people who think .. okay, honest to Goddess, what ARE they thinking??

Why not wear a mask and protect yourself and others? And what about the millions who have swallowed the lies about the election? And the people who are trying to overthrow our government, both from outside and from within? I can’t imagine how they can sleep at night.

If we are not happy with the truths we are forced to see in the dark, it is time to wake up.

The Nine of Swords demands that we must be honest no matter how inconvenient or uncomfortable. While, in the light of day, we can wear our game face and deny the things that trouble us, there is no escape from our inner knowing.

Deepen Self-Compassion

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.

This is a time to pause and look deeply into the difficulties you may have been closing your eyes to. That which we refuse to acknowledge in the light of day often appears to us under the cloak of night.

What troubling news have you received, or perhaps dread to hear? What insistently whispers to you through your intuition, though perhaps you wish it would not? Is there some wrong that needs to be put right?

When insomnia distresses us, when loneliness or fear enters our dreams, remember that such times come to all of us. No matter how isolated you feel in these times of profound loneliness, especially in the dead of night, you are not alone.

From what I am hearing from friends and clients, you are actually in a LOT of very good company!

The Nine of Swords points to an opportunity to deepen your compassion for yourself and for all beings. Its somber awakening is the Great Awakening for us all.

Feel what you feel, but take note of the truths or deceptions that pull at your thoughts. And no matter how difficult things may look, the light always returns.

Do not let the birds of worry make their nest in your hair.

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  • January 11, 2021, 7:11 pm Robin Shelton

    This is one of the most completely lucid and elegant descriptions of the dark night that I’ve ever read. It reverberates within my own awareness, that telling the truth is maybe the simplest and yet hardest choice.
    I feel like we can no longer afford to lie, and that is making me so aware of my own lies.
    A real bummer.
    Thank you SO MUCH !!!

  • January 11, 2021, 7:21 pm Beth

    Thanks so much, Robin (I deleted the other post from you that I know was a typo).

    If I could make a wish tonight, it would be that all beings would respond to their dark night of the soul tests with as much self-awareness and honor as you have expressed.

    Blessings to you. ❤️

  • January 12, 2021, 8:44 am nofixedstars

    when i saw today’s drawn card was the 9 of swords, i said to myself, “well, yes. of course it is!”

    i have only drawn this card twice for myself: once just before the unexpected death of my grandmother, and once just before a miscarriage. it has a very eerie, worrying charge to it for me.

    but your description above invites me to consider it more generally, as a collective ‘dark night of the soul’, and one that all humans are prone to experience. the discussion of maya/delusion/the illusion of separateness applied to this card is very interesting and instructive. may we all wake up…and soon, please!

  • January 12, 2021, 12:28 pm Jacqueline

    Thank you Beth – these are very helpful thoughts during this difficult time

  • February 1, 2021, 5:48 am aqui

    Very nice article. I am very fan of your texts