A young man has awakened on top of a carved marble slab. This figure is based on a sculpture by Jean-Joseph Perraud named “Despair.” The bed clothes are covered with the signs of the zodiac, the planets and alchemical symbols. Behind the figure appear 9 swords interlocked with each other in a way that resembles the weave of cloth.
This is traditionally a card of desolation and cruelty, and as with all the swords, the message is about how and what we think. Sometimes we awake, like the figure in the card, from a nightmare, to witness a tangle in one or more areas of our lives. That moment can be a shock, but it’s what you do in response to the realization of that mess that is the most important point here. You can turn your cruelty inward and blame yourself. You can turn your focus outward and blame others for the situation. Or you can notice what you’ve done, take responsibility for creating it, and accept where you are right now, and learn the lessons that are there for you to learn. There will always be times when you experience cruelty and desolation, but they can dissipate when you follow this path and learn the lessons that are presented.
When you draw this card, you are being asked to look at what your mind is bringing to you around cruelty and desolation. For the 9 of swords, Here are some of the questions you can ask:
“How am I responding to the hard truths of my life?”
“What lesson is in this tangle for me?”
“How have I participated in creating this situation?”