9 of Wands: Tarot Card Meaning

By Lauren Williams
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9 of Wands Keywords


  • Resilience
  • Courage
  • Persistence
  • Test of faith
  • Stamina


  • Inner resources
  • Struggle
  • Fatigue
  • Paranoia
  • Defensive

9 of Wands Essential Meanings Snapshot


In its upright position, the 9 of Wands tarot card signifies perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity. It’s a beacon of hope, urging us to tap into our inner strength and remain steadfast during tough times. It suggests that even though the journey has been challenging, one is near to achieving the set goal. Its presence marks a period of resilience, waiting, and standing your ground.


Reversed, the 9 of Wands card carries a message of feeling overwhelmed and weary from constant battles. It represents a state where one might be teetering on the brink of giving up, due to past traumas echoing into the present. The card encourages introspection, self-care, and avoiding taking on more than you can handle.

9 of Wands Description

The 9 of Wands tarot card captures your attention with its striking imagery. Our gaze is instantly drawn to a man upon a desolate hilltop, standing resiliently, propped against one of the many wand-like staves that surround him.

9 of wands tarot card showing an injured man and 9 wooden wands

These wands are planted firm in the ground, possibly indicating that he is prepared for a standstill or has erected a defensive barrier to protect himself.

He appears to be visibly bruised and weary from his battles, donning a bandage around his head, yet his posture acts as a testament to his defiance and continues to hold ground. His face reflects an element of wariness, yet his expression bears traces of determination, subtly conveying the profound courage within him.

His attire, primarily an earthy mix of reds, browns and greens, suggests an affinity with nature and the physical world.

In the background, the sky stretches out to the horizon, its muted hues indicating either dusk or dawn, adding an element of subtle uncertainty yet leaving room for optimism. Every visual detail of this card paints a vivid picture of perseverance amidst adversity.

Beyond the Surface: Symbolic Meanings

In Tarot readings, each element of the card, however minute or seemingly irrelevant, carries its own significant meaning. After all, it’s the subtleties that add depth to interpretation of the tarot card. For the 9 of Wands:

  • Wands – Representing the element of fire, the wands stand for inspiration, spirituality, energy, enthusiasm, creativity, and ambition.
  • Nine Wands – The nine wands imply resilience, persistence, and inner strength. They symbolize the trials and tribulations the querent has overcome, symbolizing experience and wisdom gained through adversity.
  • Bandaged Head – The visible injury signifies past struggles and hardships, indicating the scars we bear as a result of life’s challenges.
  • Mountain – The distant mountain in the card’s image represents upcoming challenges that yet to be tackled. It’s a sign that the path ahead may still be steep and daunting, but achievable with tenacity.
  • Stance – The defensive stance taken by the character signifies readiness, vigilance, and protectiveness, indicating the querent’s willingness to defend their fortitude against potential threats.

Dual Perspectives: Upright & Reversed

Upright 9 of Wands

When the 9 of Wands appears in a reading in its upright position, it’s typically a symbol of resilience, courage, and persistence. It indicates that you are about to reach your true potential or goals, but only because you’ve proven you have the endurance to overcome adversities. There is a sense of grit, determination, and a strong signal for you not to give up, despite challenges that may arise.

Reversed 9 of Wands

On the flip side, when the 9 of Wands is seen in its reversed position, it’s a reflection of fear, vulnerability, or defensiveness. Reversed, this card may suggest you are expending too much energy defending yourself or existing in a constant state of alertness, causing unnecessary stress or anxiety in your life. Alternatively, it might represent a stubborn determination to remain in a harmful situation due to fear of change, indicating you should reassess your circumstances for your wellbeing.

In both stances, the 9 of Wands indicates a pivotal moment in your journey, whether it’s a test of perseverance or a call to action against draining forces in your environment.

9 of Wands in Life Scenarios

The 9 of Wands in tarot represents resilience, persistence, and the drive to keep working towards your goals, even amidst adversity. Its representation varies significantly among different life scenarios, such as self-growth, career, relationship, and decision-making.

Growth & Self-Discovery

In terms of growth and self-discovery, the 9 of Wands suggests a time of self-reflection or a shift in your perspective. It may imply that you’ve been through a challenging period – overcoming immense difficulties or obstacles – and are now on the brink of manifesting your dreams. This requires an inner resilience to keep moving forward and remain committed to your aspirations even when times are hard.

Career and Creativity

When the 9 of Wands appears in relation to your career or creative pursuits, it symbolizes persistence and dedication. You may be experiencing obstacles in work or a creative project. However, the 9 of Wands encourages you to persevere, indicating that you are near the completion of your goal. Certain challenges may be frustrating or even discouraging, but remember this card’s lesson: Your struggles today are strengthening you for tomorrow.

Relationships & Bonds

In regards to relationships and bonds, the 9 of Wands can often manifest itself as an indicator of strength and resilience within a relationship. Be it familial, romantic, or platonic, significant conflicts or struggles may have tested the bond. Still, the resilience symbolized by this card suggests a deep strength within the relationship that allows it to endure these trials. This may also symbolize a need for you to stand your ground, maintain your values and boundaries within a relationship.

To read more about the 9 of Wands in the context of feelings, read our 9 of Wands as Feelings article.

Choices & Life Decisions

As for choices and life decisions, the 9 of Wands serves as a reminder that every decision we make has its challenges and rewards. It prompts us to remember that while we cannot avoid difficulties, we can control how we respond to them. It encourages a spirit of perseverance, urging us to keep going despite any setbacks because our actions today will define our future. The 9 of Wands encourages, whatever your difficult decision may be, you have the strength within you to overcome it.

To read more about the 9 of Wands when making decisions, read our 9 of Wands: Yes or No article.

9 of Wands from Past to Present

The 9 of Wands tarot card has undergone meaningful visual and symbolic metamorphoses over time. In early tarot decks like the Visconti-Sforza, the 9 of Wands featured a simple pattern of stacked rods. It was more of an abstract representation than the pictorial depictions we encounter today.

The Waite-Smith deck, largely responsible for setting the standards of modern tarot imagery, brought in more striking visuals. In this version, a wounded man guarding eight standing wands against an unperceived threat embodies the card’s theme of resilience, vigilance, and anticipation of potential challenges.

The evolution of the card’s imagery underlines shifts in intuitive reading through centuries. Initially, the 9 of Wands’ meaning was often derived from numerology and the element associated – fire, indicating action, passion, and spirit.

However, the more contemporary depictions lean towards illustrating literal situations or feelings, making the card’s meanings more accessible to those unfamiliar with numerological or elemental associations. This evolution underscores tarot’s adaptability, consistently morphing in response to the cultural and intuitive needs of the era, maintaining its relevance across centuries.

Synergistic Card Combinations

When interpreting your tarot spread, it’s essential to consider all the cards’ interactions with each other. Nothing exists in isolation, and so each card’s energy and meaning can influence, enhance, or challenge the other cards present. Here, we’ll explore the synergies of the 9 of Wands with other Tarot cards.

9 of Wands and The Fool

When the 9 of Wands appears in a spread with The Fool, it inspires a rekindling of innocent courage. The Fool’s carefree attitude coupled with the resilience of the 9 of Wands encourages you to face your challenges with a brave, open heart.

9 of Wands and The Wheel of Fortune

In combination with The Wheel of Fortune, the 9 of Wands signifies that while challenges may be part of the natural cycle of life, your resilience and determination will result in more favorable turns of the wheel. You may be close to a positive change or resolution.

9 of Wands and Death

Paired with the Death card, the 9 of Wands often indicates a spiritual or personal metamorphosis, brought about through overcoming obstacles and battling through personal darkness. This combination carries a powerful message of resilience and the potential for transformation.

9 of Wands and The Hanged Man

When seen with The Hanged Man, the 9 of Wands suggests that patience and a change of perspective may be necessary to withstand your current trials. Taking the time to see things from another point of view can empower you to endure.

9 of Wands and The High Priestess

Combining the 9 of Wands with The High Priestess supports inner strength. The High Priestess invites you to trust your intuition, whereas the 9 of Wands speaks to your resilience – together they suggest the need to rely on your inner wisdom to navigate your challenges.

9 of Wands and The Tower

The pairing of the 9 of Wands with The Tower card suggests a period of disruption and turbulence. However, the endurance theme of 9 of Wands assures you that you have the strength to rebuild after the storm.

9 of Wands and The Magician

When coupled with The Magician, the 9 of Wands reflects the potent combination of will and skill. The Magician encourages resourcefulness, and the 9 of Wands assures perseverance, indicating success through diligent efforts.

9 of Wands and Three of Swords

Combining the 9 of Wands with the Three of Swords signifies healing after an emotional ordeal. The 9 of Wands’ message of resilience assures recovery and the strength to mend your heart after a significant emotional upheaval.

9 of Wands and Ten of Cups

When the 9 of Wands and the Ten of Cups appear together, they often indicate the rewarding culmination of a significant endeavor, suggesting that your trials and perseverance will result in achieving your heart’s desire. This combination highlights the positive outcomes achievable with continued determination.

Introspection & Meditation

The practice of introspection and meditation, especially when centric to the Nine of Wands tarot card, primarily revolves around themes of resilience, perseverance, and personal boundaries.

Meditative Practices

To fully tap into the potent energy of this card, start by finding a quiet space where you can be undisturbed. Hold the card, observing every detail of the imagery, allowing your mind to connect to its essence. Follow with a few deep breaths and close your eyes. Visualize yourself as the wounded but determined figure on the card, fighting through obstacles, setting boundaries, but never succumbing.

Personal Reflections

Reflect on the areas in your life that echo this trope. Do you often find yourself drained, defending your personal boundaries?

Or maybe you are the unwavering, persistent warrior, continuously marching despite the odds? This introspective practice aims to evoke a sense of self-awareness regarding your boundaries and the courage to enforce them.

Inclusion of Nine of Wands Energy

Finally, invite the Nine of Wands’ spirit into your meditative session. This is not about embracing struggle but about acknowledging your strength, resilience and the boundaries you’ve set for yourself. Feel the card’s energy merging with your own, reinforcing your determination and strength to resist and overcome.

With time and regular practice, these meditation and introspection rituals will help you embody the Nine of Wands energy, fostering resilience and mental fortitude.


The post explores in-depth the 9 of Wands Tarot Card – tracing its symbolic meanings, significance in upright and reversed positions, and its depiction in different life scenarios. It also delves into the card’s imagery evolution, synergistic combinations with other tarot cards, and the role of introspection and meditation in fostering the card’s sense of resilience and persistence.

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Lauren Williams
Lauren merges ancient wisdom with modern insights, offering a fresh perspective on life's mysteries. She's passionate about guiding individuals through the world of astrology, lunar cycles, numerology, and tarot. When she's not charting the stars or reading tarot, she enjoys getting out in nature, hikes and yoga.