This isn't exactly a happy card to see, because it often shows deeply rooted emotional pain that simply refuses to go away. Usually this is either guilt or regret, and in either case you feel the pain because you wish you could go back and change what happened - but you cannot. The event is not as painful as the reminder that it is your fault, and that you can do nothing about it. Only by accepting responsibility can you ever hope to defeat this anguish, and in the majority of cases submitting to the pain is worse than trying to fight it. But if you do not, it remains to terrorize and taunt you.
Fear and apprehension often serve as magnifying lenses that distort problems that really exist in your world. You see things that aren't really there and you start jumping at shadows as if they would hurt you. In the Rider-Waite image of the Nine of Swords, only three of the swords pass near the woman's head; the others pose no threat. The Seven of Cups showed seeing solutions that that weren't there - the Nine of Swords shows what can happen when you see problems that aren't there. You inevitably become even more worried and stressed out - and you start seeing more problems.
Most of the time, the Nine of Swords does not show what exists at the moment, but what could be if the situation continues. There is a vulnerable spot in your life that could easily be pierced by any of the nine swords - even those that aren't really there. The first thing to do, then, is to stop seeing problems that don't exist. Then you can take a look at what remains, the real problems, and defuse them before they cause you any harm. And this is not impossible - great strength may be triggered by a painful situation. You have the power to face and destroy all of your fears.Copyright 2000 James Rioux