So look what lies behind me
this is my fortress
look upon my body
this is my engine of war.
look what lies before me:
We shall see.
When I first started learning, in 1999 (or possibly 1998), this was my favourite card in the deck. It chimed with my whole attitude to life at the time; bloodied, unbowed, determined as ever, putting on a tired show of force (or a show of tired force, one of those), not in the least inclined to give in. It's the only stance you can take when you're backed into a corner and can't get out and can't be driven further back either. I've toyed with other cards to represent insomnia - the Knight of Swords or the Tower - but I think it could belong here, at home.
You don't need to reverse this card; it reverses itself perfectly fucking well.
This is, incidentally, the butchest card image I've ever seen in my life, even among Nines of Wands. Big, male, naked, with wands formed into spearpoints, something I haven't noticed on any other Wand thus far. The figure's genitals are fully displayed and his arms are spread wide - not invitingly, not entreatingly, just to show you what he's made of. The whole show is just a ridiculous representation - there is no card like this for masculine posturing, or for base territoriality, or for pride bruised to a pulp but still intact and unyielding. Fuck every other word I've said; this card is your survival.
Like other nines, the spot is secure and lonely and rewarding; we've seen the card of harvest, and the card of the spring tide, and the whirlwind is yet to come; here we have old embers, charcoal, fires burned twice.
Images of the Nine of Wands:
Exhaustion - the Osho Zen Nine, trapped in the machine.
Medieval Scapini Nine of Wands. Crushed and at sea - notably less posturing than most Nines and yet sending the exact same message.
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