Thursday, 4 December 2014

Sagittarius in the Minor Arcana: The Nine of Wands

Today we move on to the Nine of Wands which, in the system I follow, corresponds to the first ten days of Sagittarius (this year, 2nd-11th December), and is linked to the Sun in Sagittarius.

Just to recap: Sagittarius is the mutable Fire sign, so we’re looking at transforming what’s been established into something else.  It combines a fiery passion and creativity with the expansiveness and benevolence of Jupiter, the ruler of Sagittarius, to give us the visionary, the explorer, the philosopher. 

Druidcraft Tarot
Here we have Sun in Sagittarius - Fire and Fire! Loads of creative energy at work – or should that be play?  That creativity is directed, through Sagittarius’ arrows, at things dreamed of and aspired to.  With the Sun involved, there’s also a sense of the individual; here, the focus is on beliefs and an optimistic philosophical view of the world(s).  Freedom is valued, as is honesty.  Fire and Fire combined with the mutable energy of Sagittarius suggests a warm and friendly, out-going, open spirit who loves to explore the far horizons!

Sharman-Caselli Tarot
How is the Sun in Sagittarius reflected in the Nine of Wands?  This card is usually associated with the idea of strength, in particular inner strength. We can see this through the involvement of the Sun, which rules Leo...the lion, often featured in the Strength card. In both the Sharman-Caselli and Druidcraft versions of the Nine of Wands, we see a figure fighting an unseen foe. He appears to be defending his territory, drawing on the resources he has at hand – a wand, representing his inner courage and integrity.  Those Sagittarian dreams, visions, aspirations – whatever they might be – have been attacked but the figure, drawing on the strength of the Sun, refuses to let go or give in.

Thoth Tarot
The Thoth, as usual, shows this differently but the message is the same.  The symbolism in the card, with the Sun and Moon at either end of the large wand, represents the strength that comes from the joining of the conscious (Sun) and the unconscious (Moon) – another link back to Temperance and the idea of blending or combining energies.  When we see the Moon in the sky, it’s only because it’s reflecting the light of the Sun. Similarly here, what lies in our unconscious is brought into ‘the light of day’ by what’s in our conscious mind – once we see that unused potential, more of that fiery, creative Wands (and Sun) energy can be released, and whatever it is that’s ‘attacking’ our position can be overcome.  The strength required to recognise and then use that potential comes from within.

Shadowscapes Tarot
The Shadowscapes’ Nine of Wands seems to echo this idea.  We see nine sentinels, guarding against the unknown – whatever’s lurking in the abyss below (the unconscious).  The creators of the deck talk of ‘vigilance’ – keeping watch, defending our dreams and aspirations through our inner strength (and perhaps our outer strength too) against whatever might challenge us.

Druidcraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections

Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn 
Sharman-Caselli Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by US Games Systems, Inc.

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