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Nine of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

Nine of Swords Keywords

UPRIGHT: nightmares | fear | anxiety | worry | isolation

REVERSED: despair | secrets | guilt | releasing worry

Nine of Swords Description

The Nine of Swords presents a distressing scene of a woman sitting up in bed, her head buried in her hands, signaling intense emotional turmoil or the aftermath of a nightmare. Her expression and posture convey fear, anxiety, and distress, reflecting the card's association with mental anguish and sleepless nights. The nine swords hanging on the wall behind her symbolize the oppressive and persistent negative thoughts or worries that plague her mind.

The imagery on the bed, showing one figure overcoming another, suggests themes of conflict and struggle, both external and internal. The quilt, decorated with roses and astrological symbols, may indicate a complex tapestry of emotions and cosmic influences affecting her state. This card encapsulates the concept of psychological distress and the impact of fear, guilt, or anxiety on one's well-being, highlighting the importance of addressing and managing inner turmoil to find peace.

NOTE: The tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider-Waite deck and Decoding The Cards

Wishing For A Deeper Tarot Connection?

Decoding The Cards goes further than keywords and traditional interprations by providing exercises for each card in the tarot.

The exercises this book are designed to challenge you to delve deeper into the meanings of each card, as well as consider your own personal experiences in relation to the traditional meanings.

Nine of Swords Upright

The Nine of Swords is the card of nightmares — you’re losing sleep over a situation and can’t stop playing the worst-case scenario repeatedly in your head. You may feel alone with your troubles and like there is no way out.


However, the Nine of Swords indicates that whatever is causing this stress is all in your head, rather than an actual threat from the external world. You may be letting your thoughts control you and drive you into a cycle of negative thought patterns and self-doubt. 


When the Nine of Swords appears in a reading, it is a wake-up call to examine what you’re worried about and replace it with positive beliefs. It’s time to break the cycle of negative thinking, so you don’t bring about the exact situation you’re afraid of.

Nine of Swords Reversed

The Nine of Swords reversed can mean an even deeper sense of despair or guilt, but it also indicates that you are at the low point of this cycle, and those feelings will soon begin to wane. If you’ve been keeping your worries to yourself, it’s time to talk to someone about what’s bothering you — an outside perspective could help you move forward, or at the very least, you’ll be able to get it off your chest.


The reversed Nine of Swords can appear when you begin to realize that things are not as bad as you thought. You are now ready to release old pain and haunting thoughts and move forward.


When the Nine of Swords reversed is drawn in a reading, it indicates that your nightmare is ending — you can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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