Once bitten twice shy. The person on the Nine of Wands looks, bitten battered and bruised. It’s been a hard slog and it isn’t over yet. He stands ready to defend his position, momentarily resting against his staff, yet holding it before him awaiting the next conflict. The other eight wands flank him as a protective barrier.
It’s one of life’s ironies that the more sensitive you are, the more likely you are to be familiar with the forms of self-preservation and protection illustrated by the Nine of Wands. We build energetic walls around ourselves to protect ourselves from the overwhelm of other people’s emotions and energies. We keep our guard up when we are out in public because we know how easy it is to get pulled in by that swift river of emotion. We are ever vigilant against having our energy drained by others, partly because we’ve let it happen over and over again, often doing so intentionally in an effort to help others.
The person on this card is not open because they know the cost of being open. But he remains on the field. He hasn’t gone off to look for a cave, a monastery, or a mountaintop like the hermit might. This shows a degree of necessary resilience to continue on, to try again, to do what feels right where others are tempted to do what is easy.
Why is this person still here? What is he struggling for? What is it about his path that makes him continue on in spite of all the challenges?
What would your answer be?