Nine of Wands Tarot Card Meaning - Upright, Reversed & More

Nine of Wands upright

Nine of Wands At A Glance

Keywords: Stubbornness, determination, grit and willpower, refusing to compromise, lack of determination, giving up too early, failure to see the big picture
Season: Summer
Element: Fire (creativity, passion and will power)

Nine of Wands Tarot Card Description

The Nine of Wands is the ninth card in the suit of wands and a minor arcana within the Rider Waite Smith system of tarot. The original artwork of this card depicts a man leaning to support his weight on a staff (wand.) Behind him stands 8 upright wands that create a barricade.

He is injured with a bandage wrapped around his arm and another around his forehead. In some iterations the bandage also covers one eye. His clothing is tattered and old and his cheeks are drawn.

He is clearly exhausted and unable to support his own weight and yet he appears to be alert and standing guard to protect what lays beyond the barricade of wands.

Nine of Wands Upright Meaning

When upright the Nine of Wands discusses themes of perseverance and vigilance. It is quite common for new tarot readers to confuse the Nine of Wands with the Seven of Wands.

Each card has similar themes of patience and protection however the Nine of Wands differs because it is more inclined to passive waiting.

The Seven of Wands is more closely linked to taking actions that serve to maintain the status-quo whereas the Nine of Wands can be characterized by a lack of possible action to take. This means dealing with the frustration of waiting patiently is a big part of the Nine of Wands message and the advice it conveys.

If the Seven of Wands is the body and its actions then the Nine of Wands happens almost exclusively within the mind. The Nine of Wands reminds us that all good things are worth waiting for and that now is not the time to give up.

Though we may be exhausted like the man in the card’s art we too must persevere for a little while longer.

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” - Newt Gingrich

Nine of Wands Reversed Meaning

Nine of Wands reversed

When the artwork of the Nine of Wands is presented to us upside down the reversed meaning applies. In this aspect the card still discusses themes of perseverance but unfortunately the negative side of this: giving up too soon.

It suggests that we may be about to fail if we allow our patience to run out or our frustration to boil over. It can also point to the negative results that can occur if we are too persistent. If we fail to compromise we may cause more harm than good.

There is a delicate balance to be found in matters like these and the Nine of Wands reversed says that whether in one direction or another we may have missed the mark.

Whilst the Nine of Wands reversed may sound like a negative card to receive it does has a positive message for us: this card reminds us that our minds are stronger than we think and that our thoughts ultimately begin to shape our actions.

Therefore the Nine of Wands urges us to be patient and kind to ourselves and truly believe that we can outlast even the hardest times.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” - Thomas Edison

Nine of Wands: Yes or No

The Nine of Wands is a yes card regardless of its orientation (upright or reversed) but it has quite a liberal caveat: yes, if we have a marathon and not a sprint within us. Yes, if we can remain focused. Yes, if we can ignore an aching body and frustrated mind.

It asks us to assess if we have this level of determination that we can dedicate at this time and to think deeply about the responsibilities and tasks that will accompany this opportunity before we commit with a yes.

It asks us to assess if we have this level of determination that we can dedicate at this time and to think deeply about the responsibilities and tasks that will accompany this opportunity before we commit with a yes.

Let’s Break Down the Nine of Wands In Our Lives

How the Nine of Wands’ message can change when answering questions about the different areas of our lives.

Nine of Wands In Love

When the Nine of Wands is revealed to us in love readings it can signify both people within a relationship working together to overcome external hardships as a team.

Though the situation around the relationship may not currently be the happiest they have experienced they are comforted by the support each finds in the other and the immense love and gratitude that they feel sees them through. They are strengthened, not broken, by their hardships.

Reversed the Nine of Wands in love is less positive than its upright counter-part. It can suggest that the relationship is being pushed to breaking point by petty stubbornness and point-scoring by those involved.

Instead of the couple focusing their stubbornness outward and overcoming external hardships together they have turned on each other and are unable to agree on how to tackle the situation. Creating hostility from within and without.

Nine of Wands With Money

Working hard now for later rewards is the ultimate message of the Nine of Wands reversed when discussing financial matters. The rewards may not be money-based but it could be other resources like more free time or a better quality of life in general.

There is a lot of faith and excitement invested in one’s future and so they are easily motivated to continuing to work hard.

Reversed the 9 of Wands suggests someone giving up on their goal too soon, possibly wanting an easy way that for the foreseeable future may not be available to them.

Instead of being patient and focusing on the future they are lost in seeking comfort within the moment and it is negatively affecting their financial goals.

Nine of Wands At Work

The Nine of Wands in relation to career readings can signify the final step that must be taken before we finally achieve a long standing career goal. It could also symbolize a mastery of a skill within our vocation or chosen field.

There is mixed feelings of complete exhaustion but also sheer determination to finally finish this chapter and a reminder that we are strong enough to keep going.

Reversed it can depict quitting a job or goal too hastily and with no back-up plan because our frustration overcame us. It reminds us that victory is around the corner and we must not give up just before the final step.

The Nine of Wands reversed may invoke themes of guilt for the times in our personal lives that we gave up and regretted it. It reminds us of these times not to punish us but so we don’t make another hasty decision that we may later come to regret.

Nine of Wands With Others

When we meet the Nine of Wands in questions about other people around us it is reminding us that we are all strengthened by others. We are capable of more together than we are on our own and that even if we have a very difficult task ahead of us we are able to achieve more when we support and are supported by others.

Reversed the Nine of Wands can be indicative of times in our lives where we were derailed by the opinions or words of others.

We may have been swayed too easily, following others instead of sticking with our own plan and we lost ourselves in the heart of the crowd.

Nine of Wands With Self

When we receive the Nine of Wands in answer to internal questions about the self it is an invitation to look within and become more aware of our negative faults and begin to accept them. This is easier said than done as the reality is a multi-step process of self assessment. But the rewards far outweigh the effort it takes.

The 9 of Wands is first and foremost the card dedicated to strengthening our resolve and mind in general. So developing this skill will in time come to positively affect every aspect of our lives.

Reversed it suggests we may currently be struggling with a lack of intrinsic motivation and therefore feel unable to persevere on our own. This could lead to unhealthy codependency habits.

There is nothing wrong with occasionally relying on others for support but this isn’t always accessible to us and not everyone can help or should be trusted to. It is often more helpful to cultivate a practice of self-motivation that we can utilize whenever we need to.

Nine of Wands As Feelings

The Nine of Wands feels like sheer determination and willpower even when we are at the very end of our stamina.

If we have a very important goal to achieve this may be positive however there are downsides to sheer stubbornness if this mental habit is left unchecked.