Monday 1 June 2015

Gemini in the Druidcraft Minor Arcana: The Nine of Swords

Today we move on to the Nine of Swords, which - in the system I use - is linked to Mars in Gemini, and the middle ten days of this sign (31st May to 10th June, approximately).

Just to recap: Gemini is the mutable Air sign, so we’re concerned with the exchange of knowledge and information through networks, through language and ideas.  It’s about communication, as well as the market place. Mars brings determination, drive, assertiveness, perhaps even some aggression into the mix.  Fire and Air – that suggests passionate conversations, curiosity around new ideas, perhaps a suggestion of open-mindedness.  Not the things we usually associate with the Nine of Swords, though, so what are we missing?

Druidcraft: Nine of Swords (detail)

The Nine of Swords is often called the card of nightmares. It’s about unfounded fears – not unlike the Eight of Swords, in a way; fears that aren’t based in reality.  Here though, we have the conflict (Mars) between what we think (Gemini/Air) and what we feel (the passion of Mars, perhaps).  Notice how the swords don’t touch the girl – just like the Eight of Swords; the situation may not always be as bad as we think or fear it is. There could also be an element of being uncertain of what it is we want, and the doubt that comes with that being blown out of proportion by Martian energy – harsh or cruel words that create a deep wound, for instance, making us feel ashamed or oppressed for no good reason.  

The number ‘9’ is thought by some to be magical – it certainly appears often in many mythologies: the Nine Muses, the Celtic nine-fold sisterhood, the nine sisters’ rulership of the Fortunate Isles, and so on). These tie into the concept of choosing to start a new cycle, something we often consider in tarot – the nine being the penultimate card before the end of one cycle or phase, and preparation for a new one. In the Swords, this can represent the sorrow and the mental anguish that comes at the end of something, be it a separation or bereavement – but it also carries the knowledgeg that ‘this too shall pass’. 

I often think of the phrase’ light at the end of the tunnel’ when I look at this card. It seems to me that the head of the bed is bathed in light, and the swords glint as if there’s light coming in from the left side of the card. The sunrise? Dawn? The Swords are associated with that time of day in the Druidcraft (and in other decks).... 

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

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