Many adults have suffered through hard nights due to lack of sleep. We toss and turn, dead-set on getting some shut eye, but it refers to come. We count sheep, we drink warm milk, we find white noise, but nothing seems to work. “I can't shut my brain off,” many will say, and they'd be referring to the endless cycle of thoughts about the next day circling in their heads. What will tomorrow be like? Will it be worse than today was? Yesterday? Do I have any hope for a good tomorrow, or does it all look like ash and dust? This worry and sleeplessness is the fearful energy of the Nine of Swords.
On this card, the setting is night time – the world all around is in complete darkness. The only things we can see are a bed, a figure, and the swords. The figure is laying in the bed, having only just woken from what appears to have been a terrible nightmare – the person is leaning forward, their face in their hands. The swords hang upon the wall – a constant reminder of this person's worry.
This card signifies, above all, suffering and fear. The person on this card knows fear and knows pain – they have seen it before, and they are terrified that they'll have to go through it all again tomorrow. The person in the bed has woken from the nightmares of previous days – they see these horrors in their dreams frequently, and it plagues them constantly.
A close second to the feeling of suffering if the feeling of worry. This person isn't necessarily experiencing their sorrow, guilt, and pain right at this moment... but, because of their past experiences, they are worried that this pain could sneak up on them again at any moment. This card often signals post-traumatic symptoms, such as recovering from a death, a divorce, the loss of a job, or otherwise. Of course the pain could have been less evident, but no matter the cause, it's obvious that this card deals with worry for the future.
This card could also signal that the person in bed is feeling guilty. Their dreams are disturbed by their past transgressions, and all they can think of is how awful a person they must be to have let that transgression pass. Whether the guilt is warranted or not, guilt is not something you can let plague your life – it can devour you in both your waking and sleeping hours. Devise a plan of attack, so that you can be rid of your guilt forever – see if there is some way you can seek absolution for yourself.
Lastly, this card could signal a suffering from depression. The person in bed might not be able to find comfort from their depressive thoughts, not even in their dreams. If this is the case, know that hope is out there for you to find – search not for a better day, but a hope to chase each night and each morning. It is one of the only ways to break free from long-term depression.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you see the Nine of Swords in your readings. What are your worries? Is it guilt or pain? The memories of the past, or the fear of the future? What is plaguing you? Why can't you let it go? What is the benefits to letting it go? What are the benefits to holding on to it?
Many cards can have aspects of the Nine of Swords – also any card with negative attributes can be paired with the worry card. The Ten of Wands refers to carrying a great burden – this could be the reason for the worry and pain in the Nine of Swords, so they are an easy pair. The Three of Swords is also a fateful matching – the pain and sorrow from those three swords in your heart could be a solid cause for the worry and suffering in the Nine of Swords.