Nine of Wands: Strength
The Nine of Wands. Strength. Endurance. Perseverance. Stamina. Bravery. Admirability. Defensiveness. The Nine of Wands corresponds to the Sefirot of Yesod, which represents Crystallization and Solidification. This Sefirot is the sum of all those that came before it in a way that the other Sefirot are not; it directly receives energy from Tiphareth which in turn receives it from Kether, and also resolves the weakness of Netzach and the reaction of Hod. In the case of Wands, Strength represents the non-degenerate qualities of Valour; courage and bravery remain the same, but instead of emphasizing individual boldness, Strength emphasizes perseverance, endurance, and standing up for your beliefs, while at the same time harkening back to Virtue (Three of Wands) in terms of admirability, the silent quality of the suit of Wands. The Nine of Wands also resolves the swift movement and instability of Swiftness, which in many ways represents the quickly-fading blaze, by instead representing the massive, steady flame that serves as a beacon for those around it. In the case of Wands, Strength is the sum and essence of all that is Wands; it is the solidified and crystallized form of Fire, passion, action, and creativity, exemplifying both the outer and inner qualities of the suit of Wands. In the Naples arrangement, 9 corresponds to the essence of being; to show the qualities of the Nine of Wands is to show the essence of being of Wands.
The Nine of Wands shows all that is good about Wands; Passion becomes Strength, Courage becomes Bravery, Defiance becomes Defensiveness and standing up for oneself, the swift cycle of rapid change becomes a lasting beacon filled with endurance and stamina, acting as a role model and an admirable goal for those around it.
The Rider-Waite illustration shows a man with a bandaged head leaning on a Wand, with more in the background; he is clearly tired, but still he endures. This card emphasizes the essence of inner strength and passion that keep one going, even though he may become weary. The Thoth card shows a grid of eight Wands, with a ninth in the center of it. Strong but steady emanations come from the center of the Wands, and the central Wand is not overly different from the others; it shows balance between sun and moon, and is thicker to demonstrate strength, yet it does not separate completely from its fellows like the Seven of Wands does. It serves as an example for what the other Wands have become, and does not abandon them to individualism.
In a reading, the Nine of Wands commends the strength of a situation or your position in it, and tells you not to be afraid. It advises you to stand up for what you believe in, and to endure and persevere; you can make it through whatever might be coming your way. It might not be easy, but by embodying the qualities of Strength, you will win. It can advise you to serve as a beacon for others, or to find a beacon yourself and learn from them. Be passionate, but do not boast and cause situations that might lead to conflict; this card does not represent conquest. It is the culmination of an inner struggle that has resulted in spiritual strength that those around will admire. Reversed, this card shows that the energy of Strength is being blocked somehow; your stamina or perseverance is failing, you are losing confidence in yourself, or you feel like you can’t go on. Push onwards and you can achieve what you need to!