9 of Wands

A tall man with a bandaged head, facing the viewer, stands slightly to the viewer’s right of center in this card. He holds a taller staff against the ground with both hands and is looking off to his right (the viewer’s left) in a wary manner. Behind him, to his left, are three staffs of uneven height. The are upright as if fence posts. To his right are five more staffs of uneven height planted in the same manner. All the staffs are budding with twigs. The sky can be seen between the rods and is cloudless. In the far distance are the silhouettes of mountains.

The bandage on the man’s head is both a red herring and a glaring warning. He is wounded, but he is not weak. He has been through conflict already, and stand ready to resume the fray on a moment’s notice. The upright wands are not guarding him, he is guarding them! This is a card of surprising endurance and unexpected strength.

Having strength in reserve may give the bearer the appearance of weakness or vulnerability. “Watch out for the quiet ones.” When the Querent is unsure of themselves or their situation, this card reassures them of their ability to rise to the occasion and handle the situation without hesitation or doubt. Should the Querent be already involved in conflict, this card (when in their favor) reminds them of their abilities and endurance. The problem can be overcome. The Querent will see it through to the end.

When ill-dignified, instead of having the strength in reserve, the Querent is now facing an empowered opponent. They can expect the conflict to be twice as intense or last twice as long as initially expected. The opponent may choose to crush the Querent entirely, or grind them down into submission. Against such an enemy, deciding to withdraw may be the prudent option.

Ill-dignified, it can also indicate an increase of obstacles for the Querent, or situations that can not be resolved no matter how hard the Querent tries. Instead of having strength in reserve, the Querent is made impotent and forced to rely on others for assistance. How devastating this will be for the Querent depends on how independent the Querent regards themselves.