The Nine of Pentacles – A One Page Guide

Is it about money or sex? Everything is about money or sex, and the RWS Nine of Pentacles is about both. We have a rich lady, a bird of prey in which the female of the species is dominant, a lubricated gender-inconclusive mollusk, a Zodiac sign whose symbol represents the sexual organs, and a qabalistic influence represented by the sexual organs. To put it another way, our lady of the Nine of Pentacles may be rich, but her only friend is a bird, and she spends all her time in a vineyard. We can view and admire the lady’s wealth and beautiful estate as much as we like, so long as we do not forget that Bacchus/Dionysus, Lord of the Grape Harvest, and Cupid may be hiding in the background. Waite appears to supress any sexual connotation in his divinatory meanings, but then, he was a Victorian. For myself, I think I shall re-interpret the divinatory meanings for this card into something along the lines of “successful and accomplished in the material world, but lacking something in romantic happiness.”

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The Nine of Swords – A One Page Guide

The underlying story of the Nine of Swords is life-and-death health issues, specifically those affecting women. Yesod and the Magician chiefly influence the “nightmare” setting of the design. Mercury/quicksilver and Air, not just as a classical element, but because it represents blood as a classical humor leads us to quickening and pregnancy. From there Waite’s words lead inexorably to Adam and Eve and what he calls her “imputed lapse.” Far from just a woman awoken from a nightmare with nine swords of Damocles above her head, the Nine of Swords represents Eve’s “lapse,” man’s ultimate rise afterwards, and those swords? They just may be there to protect her.

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