Nine of Wands Explained - Upright & Reversed Meanings
Last Updated: January 18, 2023
The Nine of Wands is the ninth card in the suit of Wands (also known as the suit of blades) and one of the fifty-six suit cards from the minor arcana. In divinatory tarot, the Suit of Wands is associated with the element of fire and traditionally signifies creativity, inspiration, ambition, determination and willpower. Each card of this suit represents aspects of our lives such as career, travel and spirituality.
Divination practices such as cartomancy can help us make decisions, offer guidance, and help us tune into our intuition when we are at a crossroads in our lives. Understanding the meanings of each tarot card can help you sharpen your interpretative skills so you can get the most out of your readings.
The Nine of Wands is the card of feeling pretty damn exhausted after being in the wars for quite some time! It’s the card that signifies being halfway through a battle at any given time, but whilst it does indeed acknowledge how worn out you feel, the Nine is still typically a positive omen when it comes to approaching success!
Determination is key with this Nine, no matter how worn out you get, so long as you don’t turn to selfish and childish behaviour and responses to what’s occurring, then it’ll all pay off in your favour! The Nine of Wands very much brings success with it, you just have to be willing to brave the storm first.
In this article, we will discuss the meanings of the Nine of Wands in various tarot reading contexts as well as the different symbols and nuances that can be found within this court card.
Pictorial Symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck
The artworks from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck contain deeper esoteric meanings that tarotists love to decipher. The Nine of Wands tarot card presents an evidently tired individual who is wounded, and their facial expression is very much one of “I’m fed up now, but I must fight on” with what’s occurring. They use one of the wooden staffs to stabilise themselves as they look back to the other 8 wooden staffs standing tall behind them.
Although they are tired, they still have a way ahead of them in order to reach their goal, but they do have the capacity to do so. It isn’t uncommon to be worn out before reaching the end, and the imagery here speaks of being exhausted by an ongoing battle but having the determination to see it through.
The Nine of Wands key correspondences
Battle, feeling drained, perseverance, defend your corner, courage, persistence, stamina, a last stand.
Stalemate, fatigue, stubbornness, failure to learn, weakness, giving up, the last one standing, struggle.
|Yes or No|
Sagittarius, Moon in Sagittarius, December 3rd to December 12th
What does the upright Nine of Wands mean in the Tarot?
You’re feeling drained and exhausted, you’ve been battling on for quite some time now, but you need to carry on just that little bit longer – victory is in sight! But you cannot give up here, not now. You’ve come too far.
Success will be yours, you just need to take a deep breath, buckle back down, and navigate this time with focus and persistence, you don’t need to slip and let go of the rails, you’ve got this. Push on, be resilient, success is near.
When pulled in the upright position, the Nine of Wands is associated with battle, feeling drained, perseverance, defending your corner, courage, persistence, stamina, and a last stand.
What does the upright Nine of Wands mean in a love reading
If you’re in a relationship, then it’s more than likely that you and your partner have been going through a considerable rough patch recently, is that right? It’s hard, it’s hurtful, and it’s been exhausting.
Sometimes it’s easier to look adversity in the face and decide to walk away, and perhaps this time has left you with a sour taste in your mouth about your relationship and/or your partner in general, but this Nine is reminding you that rough patches happen, walking away isn’t always the best option, you’ve come through the worst…how things have been…it won’t be like this forever.
You and your partner can come out on top of this, whether that’s from struggles within the relationship itself, or external factors impacting you individually which in turn is then impacting the connection between you both. Things can and very much will clear up. If you’re single, the presence of the Nine of Wands is a gentle reminder that the damage you’ve experienced from previous relationships is keeping you from trusting in others and finding that romantic connection you so desire.
But this Nine is not ignoring the personal work you’re doing on yourself in order to heal from that inflicted trauma, you’ve been battling this for a while now, and the Nine of Wands is here to cheer in your corner as a reminder that you’re nearly there, you’ve nearly dealt with those wounds, you’re successfully healing yourself, so continue to be gentle and give yourself time. Someone worthy of your affection will come into your life when it’s right; heal yourself as a priority, because you’re nearly there.
This will help attract the right kind of person and relationship to you!
What does the upright Nine of Wands mean in a career reading?
Whatever issues you’re facing at work currently, whether that’s to do with feeling the stress of your current workload or the project at hand, know that it will ease up soon! The stress you’re feeling with regard to what’s occurring won’t last too much longer, so just plod on for now and know that the end is very near.
You’re no doubt feeling tired and worn out from how things are at work, but this Nine is imploring you to push on; work through it, it won’t last forever, and easier days will follow this.
What does the upright Nine of Wands mean in a health reading?
Chances are you’ve been battling an illness for quite a bit of time now, and the presence of the Nine of Wands is here to say that the battle is not yet over, but it is, however, coming to an end. You just cannot give up, no matter how tired you get, you’re nearly at the end of this. Fight on. Ask your medical team for support options and support groups.
The Nine of Wands as feelings/emotions
If you are asking the tarot how someone feels about you, pulling the Nine of Wands suggests that whilst this person may very much see you in a positive light, they’re very guarded as an individual for their own reasons, and this could be related to previous romantic hurt.
They may wish to be open with you, and to get closer, but their own past and trauma could be holding them back as they fear being hurt again. It may be hard to get the honest truth out of them about how they feel at times, but this will also be someone that’s willing to battle through those emotions and to fight for what’s better for themselves.
In time they may come to be open and honest, they may feel comfortable enough to do so after finding that trust within you – but until then, they may come across as defensive, so be gentle and give them the space they need to go through this journey for themselves.
The Nine of Wands as a person
As a personality archetype, the Nine of Wands represents someone that has been through the rigmarole in one way or another, and overall this has left them quite guarded and defensive as a person at times!
This will be someone that jumps to defend their own corner, and they do so well, but they will be quick to defend others too.
They know how to persevere against all odds, and it won’t be surprising to find others looking up to them in awe for that aspect, their determination will be rather inspiring for most.
The Nine of Wands as advice
Sometimes we have to face up to the damage our past has done and settle down to let our wounds fully heal. What happens if you keep picking the scab off a wound? It struggles to heal properly, you just keep opening it back up and letting it bleed, and it makes the whole healing process messier and lengthier than necessary.
The same thing goes for mental, emotional, and spiritual damage. Those wounds can’t just be ignored because they aren’t physical – they’re still very much real. The Nine of Wands can also be here as a simple reminder to keep going, push on, push on, push on.
You’re on the right path, now is not the time to give in, so use this card to fuel you and your desire to get past the final hurdles – you can absolutely do this.
Remain mindful that the unknown can spring up in front of us at any given second, so don’t run forward blindly, keep trudging along but always remain prepared.
What is the zodiac or astrological sign associated with the Nine of Wands?
The Nine of Wands is ruled by Jupiter and Sagittarius, with the Moon in Sagittarius as the astrological decan timing and the dates December 3rd to December 12th. Whilst it can be a struggle, and a feeling of being “stuck in the mud” for this mutable energy fuelled time, the Moon in Sagittarius reminds us that we feel like we are on a mission, that we can focus on where we are going due to what we have been through that makes it worth the journey.
We mustn’t ignore any intuitive moments that come to us and if we are seeking freedom then we will feel safer for movement – for heading out camping or climbing or hiking in nature and getting some perspective for moving onwards.
Remind yourself of why you’re moving forward so that your feelings get on board too.
Is the Nine of Wands a yes or no card?
Due to the nature of the Nine of Wands, it isn’t explicitly a yes or no, and to be honest it’s not seen as a ‘yes’ card in general anyways. You’ll rarely see this card popping up as a ‘no’ as it mainly appears as a ‘maybe’.
Proceeding with caution is always advised by this Nine as your approach can very much influence the outcome, but remember that pushing onwards is what this Nine is all about. Being handed a ‘maybe’ doesn’t mean packing up your bags and quitting, it just means being mindful.
This card still favours persistence, after all! It’s not saying success is guaranteed, but it isn’t saying failure is a guarantee either, if you take the right approach, and go about things smartly with a determined mind, then who knows…
Below are some of my interpretations, as an experienced tarot practitioner, based on different types of questions:
Querent question: “Will I get the job?”
Card interpretation: It’s unlikely, right now, that you’ll be walking into a new job/career anytime soon if you just leave it at a job interview. You’ve still got a bit of work to do where that’s concerned! This may be a case of having to set yourself aside from the rest, have you considered a follow-up call? Waiting on them to get back to you isn’t always required – this may be a business that appreciates eagerness – but this doesn’t mean harassing them multiple times a day of course. Not to say that this will land you a job, but the Nine of Wands is letting you know that there’s still work to be done ahead of landing the job you want. So even if it’s not this one, still carry on pushing onwards with job searching and job interviews, something is going to land in your lap real soon – don’t let the setbacks knock you down. Good things come to those that grit their teeth and keep their eyes locked on their goals. Determination is key.
Querent question: “Is this new person in my life good for me?”
Card interpretation: There may be a guarded aspect between the two of you in this friendship/connection, and if it’s coming from their side then perhaps they’ve experienced a lot of hurt from others in the past, and this makes it quite hard for them to trust others. So don’t be surprised if there’s a slight strain on your friendship, to begin with – it isn’t necessarily anything personal! But this Nine can also show this connection by facing trials and tribulations and coming out on top regardless of what occurs as there will be a level of perseverance, and this individual is more than likely happy to fight alongside you.
Querent question: “Will I achieve my current goals?”
Card interpretation: It’s going to take a lot of focus and determination to get there, and so long as you don’t plan on faltering, no matter what you face, then yup – you can get there! The Nine of Wands is here to advise that even though you’re part way through the battle of going after your goals, there will still be challenges ahead of you, you’ve got to be willing to fight that head-on without giving up on your focus – those unwavering in what they’re after here will achieve what they seek.
Querent question: “Should I start my own business?”
Card interpretation: The Nine of Wands isn’t going to give you a yay or nay here, in all honesty. On the one hand, it could be suggesting that it would be a major challenge but so long you demonstrated perseverance and true understanding of what you were doing, then perhaps it could be a successful venture. But on the other hand, it could also be advised that right now isn’t the best time and that you could still attempt this, but it comes down to you on whether or not things will play out how you want them to.
It may be a time to listen to your own intuition, what do YOU think is best? Even if you’re not entirely sure, just because right now may not be the most ideal time (especially if you’re feeling concerned and have no confidence, especially after this card popped up), it doesn’t mean that this question can’t be addressed again at a later stage.
What does the reversed Nine of Wands mean in the Tarot?
The constant attack from the battle you’ve been facing head-on is leaving you so exhausted that you’re genuinely questioning just giving in. You probably feel like it isn’t worth carrying on anymore with what’s at hand.
You’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and tired, and giving up is very much looking like the easiest and best option to you right now – even though it isn’t. Even the reversed Nine of Wands is reminding you that the battle is nearly over, you just need to find your inner strength and your inner perseverance in order to carry on.
It acknowledges how you feel, but it implores you to not give in. Right now, it’s best you don’t add any more stressors to your plate so avoid additional commitments, and focus on getting yourself through this rough patch because you absolutely can do it. You don’t need to give up, the end is in sight even if you can’t see it.
Make it through this last stand.
When pulled in the reversed position, the Nine of Wands is linked with stalemate, fatigue, stubbornness, failure to learn, weakness, giving up, the last one standing, and struggle.
What does the reversed Nine of Wands mean in a love reading?
If you’re in a relationship, then the Nine of Wands doesn’t usually bode well for suggesting things have been glorious and harmonious between the two of you lately. Things have clearly been heated and it’s evident that there’s been a lot of arguments happening and it’s now reached a point where neither of you is willing to back down, and compromise.
When two parties both dig their heels in and remain stubborn, progression cannot be made. You two will not rectify the issues at hand by blindly defending your corner without being willing to listen to the other person.
A middle ground must be found in order to sort out what’s wrong here. On the other hand, if you’re single, then this can mean one of two things. You’re either feeling ready and healed enough to trust in another person when it comes to love, or you’ve been feeling so damaged by previous romantic connections that you’re feeling like love is the worst thing in the world and that you never ever wish to find it.
Whatever you need right now – you need to listen to yourself, to your priorities and focus on the outcome that you want for yourself.
What does the inverted Nine of Wands mean in a career reading?
It’s time to take a step back and have a moment for yourself, you’re exhausted, and that exhaustion is having an impact on how you’re mentally dealing with things and perceiving things at work.
This can be clouding your perspective and judgement, so you may be focusing on things that are very much wasting your time, or it can be an indication that you were expecting more from a work-based project and right now there’s little to no movement with regards to the results or even progress you wanted.
Right now isn’t the time to get stubborn about things; take a step back to breathe, fully reassess, see things from a clearer perspective again, and then push on.
What does the upside-down Nine of Wands mean in a health reading?
Unfortunately, the Nine of Wands isn’t the best omen when it comes to health-related questions as it can be related to something like experiencing chronic illness.
If you’re currently battling an illness and/or injury then this Nine usually means that you’re very much on the verge of giving up as no matter what options you’ve been trying, nothing is working, and this is very much taking its toll on you in all aspects.
In times like this it’s best to turn to those nearest to you, be honest about the stress and pain you’re feeling, don’t lie about what’s going on and how it’s making you feel, be brutally honest and find support and comfort from your nearest and dearest – don’t face this alone.
In conclusion, the 9 of Wands tarot card is a powerful symbol of battle, feeling drained, perseverance, defending your corner, courage, persistence, stamina, and a last stand. When this card appears in your reading, it is often a sign that you need to just keep going, you are nearly at the finish line and the end of the tunnel is nearly there. Don’t give up!
Despite its association with mysticism and occultism, the tarot has grown to become much more than a simple “fortune-telling” tool. For many tarot practitioners, it is a complex system made of symbolic imagery and psychological considerations (Jungian archetypes for example) that can be used for self-exploration, meditation, and personal transformation.
The 56 lesser arcana cards relate to the day-to-day events of our lives, the more mundane aspects of our existence. Even though that part of the tarot is about the “smaller picture”, it symbolizes the constant choices we make that shape our lives, our characters, and ultimately our destinies.
Have you ever had a reading where the Nine Of Wands appeared? What was the outcome? What does that card mean to you personally? How do you interpret this card in your own tarot practice?
Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below. Additionally, If you want to know more about the different tarot cards, feel free to check out my complete list of all 78 tarot cards and their meanings.
Written by Amy
Outside the weird and wonderful world of my craft, I like to cosplay and fully dive into the fantasy genre across all forms, from books to video games and everything in between.