ALTERNATE NAMES: Cruelty; Lord of Despair and Cruelty

RW DESCRIPTION: A figure sits up in bed, hanging her head and covering her face with her hands. Her nightdress and hair are white. The matress of the bed looks thin and hard, and rests on a bier-like foundation. There's a picture carved into the foundation which is hard to make out, but looks like one person standing and threatening a seated person, with some trees behind them. A colorful blanket covers the woman's legs. It has a checkerboard pattern, with red roses on yellow squares, and astrological sigils on sky blue squares. Against a black background, nine blue swords hand above and behind her.
FIRST THING THAT STRUCK ME: The white nightgown is almost ghostly, and the blanket is practically a carnival by comparison. Blanket--"what covers you"

UPRIGHT MEANINGS: Death, failure, miscarriage, delay, deception, disappointment, despair.--Waite Despair, dark night of the soul, anguish, suffering, misery, desolation, angst, depression, sadness, grief, tears, loneliness, aftermath of a quarrel, a painful situation. Negative thoughts, intense worry, burden, weight of the world on one's shoulders, cruelty, oppression, brooding over troubles, thinking the worst, dread, pessimism, fear, feeling of impending doom, impotence, anxiety over a loved one, loss, tragedy. Insomnia, sleepless nights, nightmares, prophetic dreams, premonitions, a sudden intuition of danger, frightening foreknowledge. Acknowledging unpleasant insights, guilt, deep regret, overwhelming remorse, self-recrimination, punishment, consequence of personal actions, something comes back to haunt one, letting oneself down. Berating oneself for not communicating effectively or for not getting all needed information. Unexpected disappointment in someone, conflicts between personal needs and the needs of others. Fanaticism, consuming revenge, unjustified rage, malice, lack of lucidity, insanity.
ALSO: Pain, illness (esp. ulcers), being bedridden. Haunting, boogeyman, things that go bump in the night. Preoccupation, unanswered questions, insatiable curiosity. Time to buy a new mattress.

REVERSED MEANINGS: Imprisonment, suspicion, doubt, reasonable fear, shame.--Waite Unable to completely recover from bad experiences in the past. Avoiding a painful situation, timidity, passive resistance, martyrdom. Slanderous gossip, being a scapegoat. Swallowing anger and resentment, self-doubt, possible disappointment. Worry and stress negatively affect health. Implementing pharmaceutical quick-fixes rather than lifestyle changes.
ALSO: Acceptance of reality, patience, self-realization, brilliant ideas.

BIBLICAL: I mostly keep thinking of verses that say not to worry. Particularly Philippians 4 and Matthew 6.
"For mine iniquities are gone over mind head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. . . . I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long." <Psalms 38>
MYTHOLOGICAL: Sword of Damocles; Princess and the Pea

ANIMAL: hedgehog
HERBS/PLANTS: rue, worrywort = P
MUSIC: "Gloom, despair, and agony on me.
Deep, dark depressiion; excessive misery.
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.
Gloom, despair, and agony on me." <Hee Haw>
FILM: "Haunted Summer" (esp. the Chateau Chillon scene)
BOOK: MacBeth, Hamlet
QUOTES: "I was unable to pursue the train of thought; a thousand feelings pressed upon me, and I wept bitterly. Ever since my recovery from the fever I had been in the custom of taking every night a small quantity of laudanum, for it was by means of this drug only that I was enabled to gain the rest necessary for the preservation of life. Oppressed by the recollection of my various misfortunes, I now swallowed double my usual quantity and soon slept profoundly. But sleep did not afford me respite from thought and misery; my dreams presented a thousand objects that scared me. Towards morning I was possessed by a kind of nightmare; I felt the fiend's grasp in my neck and could not free myself from it; groans and cries rang in my ears."--Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
OCCUPATIONS: psychologist
PUBLIC PEOPLE OR EVENTS: The mother of that toddler (Jessica?) in Texas who got stuck in an abandoned well.

PEOPLE OR SITUATIONS IN MY LIFE: When I was in college, I used to lie awake in bed at night and do math in my head, trying to figure out how to rob Peter to pay Paul. ("If I cash a check at the grocery store tomorrow, and put the cash in the bank . . .") That kind of mental activity is what I came to associate with the 9S at that time. A difficult problem that can't be ignored or pushed to the back of your mind, and will frustrate the heck out of you before the solution or resolution comes.
In my TarotL days, the discussion was extremely stimulating and educational. I used to feel sometimes that too many unanswered questions were buzzing in my head like bees, distracting me. (But a different kind of distraction from the 7 of Swords--neither idle nor busy.) Many were Tarot-related, but most were only tangentially so (e.g., Pope Joan). During that time, I was inspired to create my iFAQ, with its 9S theme.
The current 9S in my life is coder's block. I think writer's block is more like the 8S and coder's block more like the 9S. You're still stuck, but you try and try and try to find that one little thing that keeps it from working. I spent a week banging my head against the wall, and I thought, soon is gonna come the 10S--I'll either have a breakthrough or a breakdown! The 10S situation is short though, as you catapult to the Ace! I added a "&" and was ready to go.

FAVORITE REPRESENTATION: I like the Cosmic by Loesche.
COMPARISONS TO OTHER CARDS: Interesting to contrast with the Four of Swords. Also, when paired with the Hierophant: "Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thansgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and mental powers by means of Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:6-7)


Ancestral Path 9 of Swords
by Julie Cuccia-Watts
ISBN 0-88079-141-1
Kind of a long story . . .
I was reading Julie's WATTS post and was planning my itenerary (e.g. Should I go to Florida first? Should I bring my daughter and drop her off at Grandma's? . . .). Then I started reminiscing about the many flights we've taken together. I recalled how nervous I was when she was a baby. I mean, people hate babies on planes, right? Wrong! People love babies, and even if they don't love them they at least understand and sympathize. Or maybe I'm just particularly blessed. When she was four, we had to travel back to CH in separate rows--actually, I was on the jump seat (ten hours--okay, not so blessed). I got bumped by somebody who actually paid for a seat. By law, they have to keep enough free seats in the last row of the plane to allow crew to take sit-down breaks. The flight attendants kindly allowed us to take those two seats during times when all the crew would be working, i.e. mealtimes, takeoff and landing. People are kind and helpful wherever we go.  
So I was thinking about how good I have it really. In 12 days, my daughter will be making her 10th overseas trip (her 19th trans-atlantic flight). Experience has proven my initial fears misfounded. Why, then, do I still get nervous??? Then I looked up and saw the last card standing (on the keyboard)--Ancestral Path Nine of Swords. I just got totally zinged by the Tarot! (Thanks, Julie!)  
What's interesting about this card is that it's morning, the woman is waking up, and the shadows in the room are thrown by the rising sun. And silly me just realized she's got a blanket. I thought she was washing her face. She's got the whole day ahead of her to do something about those things that are haunting her mind now.  
Me? I'm gonna buy a sedative.  
Halloween Tarot 9 of Bats
by Kipling West
ISBN 0-88079-965-X
"In the shallow waters at the edge [of the lake] grew magnificent trees whose branches were festooned with legions of flying foxes, as they call the species of bat whose breast is furred with marvellous red and white. I thought I would kill a few dozen and make my wife a toque and myself a waistcoat. We went out in a boat not unlike a clumsy variety of punt to catch them in their sleep. They keep no guard; but at the first gunshot they awake and the air literally becomes dark with their multitude. One has merely to fire into the mass. One of the bats, wounded, fell right on my wife and frightened her. It may have been thirty seconds before I could detach her from his claws. I thought nothing of the matter; but it is possible that her condition aggravated the impression. Our beds in the baghla were furnished with four stout uprights and a frame for mosquito curtains. I suppose in so remote a district thay had been made of unusually strong poles. I was awakened in the dead of night by the squeal of a dying bat.
"I remember debating whether I was in fact awake or not, whether the noise, which was horribly persistent, might not be part of a dream evoked by the events of the day. I even called to Rose to resolve my doubts. She did not answer. I lighted the candle. She was not there. My alarm completed my awakening. The bat squealed hideously. I looked up. I could not see any bat. But there was Rose, stark naked, hanging to the frame with arms and legs, insanely yawling. It was quite a job to pull her down. She clung to the frame desperately, still squealing. She refused utterly to respond to the accents of the human voice. When I got her down at last, she clawed and scratched and bit and spat and squealed, exactly as the dying bat had done to her. It was quite a long time before I got her back to her human consciousness.
"It was the finest case of obsession that I had ever had the good fortune to observe."
Halloween Tarot Nine of Bats and Nine of Ghosts reversed
The honeymoon's over . . . .
"In the autumn of 1907 on returning from Tangiers, I found that she had obtained one hundred and fifty bottles of whisky from one grocer alone in five months. . . . We went on living together, more or less; but her condition became rapidly worse and in the autumn of 1911 she had to be put in an asylum, suffering from alcoholic dementia."

OTHER: Subject: Nine Swords
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 20:21:23 +0100
From: Moonchild
Organization: http://www.moonchild.ch
To: tarot-l <tarot-l@TECHUNIX.TECHNION.AC.IL>

Nine Swords were hanging over my head.
Each one hanging by a [tarot-l] thread.

Then the wind began to blow
the Swords menacingly to and fro.

One fell and pinned me to the ground,
then yet NINE more came crashing down.

Woke from dream of darkest sight
amongst roses red and lilies white.

And waking in my garden, I could see
It was only thorns pricking me.





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This page contains excerpts from my original contributions to an online Tarot discussion. The Comparative Tarot list is made possible by Valerie Sim and Yahoo! groups.
Nine of Swords IMHO page created March 2007.