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Nine of Swords - Tarot Card Meanings

Key Symbolism


sleepless nights, worries, the realization of something shocking, sadness, nightmares, mental anguish, unhappiness, stress, burdens, depression, despair, mental breakdown, insomnia, guilty conscience, guilt, regret, restless thoughts, negative thinking.

nine of swords tarot

Description and Symbolism


A gray-haired woman is sitting upright in her bed. She covers her face with both hands as a gesture of despair. It seems she has just woken from a bad dream. Nine swords hang on the wall above her. Since the swords represent the mental forces, it could be thoughts that keep her awake at night. The bed sheet has a checked pattern showing red roses on a yellow background and the outline of astrological symbols on a blue background. The 12 astrological signs might be a symbol that her worries encompass the whole year. On the bed a scene of a duel is engraved, where one man is defeated by another. The black background gives the impression of a ‘dark time’ full of worries and confusion.

General Meaning

The number nine can stand for a culmination. In the Nine of Swords, it is the culmination of worries and destructive thoughts. Nine of Swords can represent a time when you can’t fall asleep at night, cause your head is full of thoughts circling around the same issue, which you probably feel unable to solve. Maybe everything seems like a bad dream right now. Something might have happened that left you in a shock. It can also represent depression and negative thinking.

Love Meaning


When this card comes up in a love reading, you probably have a lot to worry about in your relationship and this might even cause you sleepless nights. It can also symbolize the time after a painful breakup when realizing that you lost a loved person is like waking from a bad dream. Nine of Swords can also signify that one of the persons in the relationship is plagued by depression and that these circumstances affect the relationship.



As Feelings


If you ask how someone feels about you Nine of Swords can indicate that the person in question is very worried at the time. If you had a fight, they might fear that this will lead to a break-up or they are worried about the relationship in general. The person you ask about might also feel very sad. It could be about something you said or did, or they have done something wrong to you and now they feel sorry. 

© Illustrations from the Radiant Rider-Waite 2015 reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems Inc., Stanford, CT 06902. c. 2015 by U.S. Games Systems Inc. All rights reserved.

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