- Hyperion Night, Beanblossom's Tea and Tarot
The Nine of Swords
Nightmare. Anxiety. Despair.
Never read the morning news. I had some spare time and made that mistake this morning. And though I kept telling myself hysteria sells and is, therefore, to be taken with a heaping of salt, I closed my computer with a sense of doom and gloom that haunted me the rest of the day.
But here’s the thing. My day was actually pretty good. I saw a stream of pleasant clients. My partner in the tearoom had a new scone recipe for me to taste. I’m healthy. I’ve got friends. I’ve got a roof over my head. And no one knows the future with 100% certainty. Yes, bad things might come. But they might not. And in the here and now, life was good.
In short, the sense that everything was wrong was all in my mind.
The mind. Thoughts. The intellect… Swords. Specifically, Tarot's Nine of Swords.
The Nine of Swords traditionally depicts a woman waking from a nightmare, nine swords over her head. Her thoughts created the nightmare. They aren’t real things. This Tarot card doesn’t predict awfulness in the real world. It diagnoses or predicts anxiety. That’s internal, not external.
Interestingly, in the classic RWS* Tarot card, the woman isn’t trapped in her dream. She’s sitting up and awake. She’s still shaken, her head in her hands. But the nightmare is over. She now needs to get out of bed and get going.
In a reading, this Tarot card tells us not to let our fears dominate us and hold us back. Fear can help us avoid danger. Anxiety can warn us to take action. But otherwise, its useless. More often it traps us in a cycle of hopelessness, and at its extremes, in delusion and histrionics. It needs to be dealt with.
But here’s the tough part: when we’re in a nightmare, we usually don’t know it. All we can do to break free is to seriously ask ourselves: is this real?
Is this real?
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*Rider Waite Smith: For me, this is THE Tarot deck, published at the turn of the 20th century and illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith.