NINE OF WANDS
Astrological associations for the Minor Arcana cards typically involve both a planet and a zodiac sign. The attributions established by the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD) are by far the most commonly used. However, some Tarot decks use a different set of associations. As a professional astrologer, I find it interesting to compare and contrast these associations from deck to deck. The use of astrological associations with Tarot is completely up to the reader. This is merely intended to be interesting and fun.
Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley
For Crowley (and the OGD), the Nine of Wands represents the energy of the Moon (emotions, the unconscious) and the zodiac sign Sagittarius (a mutable Fire sign). Crowley titles the card "Strength." He writes that this card "is referred to Yesod, the Foundation; this brings the Energy back into balance." He also notes that the path of Sagittarius on the Tree of Life joins the Sun and Moon, giving the Moon "a double influence." Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "Confidence and urge to develop (Sagittarius) rising from the unconscious (the Moon)."
One World Tarot by Crystal Love
Crystal Love associates the Nine of Batons with the second subdivision of the sign Sagittarius, with Jupiter as the natural ruler and the Moon as the subruler. She writes: "Love of romance, home, and family and a strong imagination accompany the influence of the Moon as subruler of the second subdivision of Sagittarius. . . The influence of the Nine of Batons alternates between expansive and contractive and is often restless and changeable. Profound sensitivity and foresight accompanies a sympathetic and generous nature."
A.E. Thierens, PhD. (Astrology & the Tarot)
Thierens describes the Nine of Wands as having the energy of "Air on the Ninth house." This makes sense in that the Nine of Wands is the ninth card in the suit of Wands. In astrology, the Ninth house is associated with the zodiac sign Sagittarius, a Fire sign ruled by Jupiter. Thierens notes that the Nine of Wands is traditionally associated with such keywords as "obstacle, delay, suspense, adversity, slowness, contrariety, calamity, misfortune, renvoy, trouble." He writes: "It is at least strange to find only malific expressions of the co-ordination of the element Air and the principle of mind with the house of Sagittarius, the thinker." Ultimately, the keywords Thierens assigns include a number of positive traits: "Teaching, instruction, guidance, teachers, masters, guides. Planning, travelling, sport; journalism editors and journalists, public lecturers, orators; prophecy and predicting. . . controversy, contradiction, antagonism, mental strife, etc. . . . extension of thought, spreading of news, rumours, preaching, excitement of the people and revolution." (Note: The system devised by Thierens is radically different from that of the OGD. I will not go into detail here, but will simply provide the astrological associations for the card under discussion. If you are interested in learning more about this system, I recommend the book referenced above.)
The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann
Like the OGD, Mann's deck associates the suit of Wands with the element Fire. Mann describes Wands Eight, Nine, and Ten as "The Rainbows of Sagittarius." Wand Nine is assigned to the Second Decan of Sagittarius -- Mars in Sagittarius. On the King Scale of Color, Mars is linked with the color red and Sagittarius is linked with the color blue. Mann's keywords for Mars are ""will, desire, energy, enthusiasm, temper, arrogance, passion." For the sign Sagittarius, his keywords are "hibernation; advent; the inner life; meditation; expansion; realization; aspiration; higher mind; religion and philosophy; sport; freedom; rebirth."
The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel
Liz Hazel's suit of Wands is the suit of the Fire element, embodying "ambition, vigor, creativity, travel, high spirits, and energy." Her use of the colors red, yellow, and orange is a lot more subtle than what we see in the other cards in this set. Like most of the others in this discussion, Hazel associates the Nine of Wands with Moon/Sagittarius. In her excellent book Tarot Decoded, Hazel notes: "As ruler of the unconscious, the Moon has dominion over the inaccessible and uncharted depths of the mind. . . Her dark side represents loneliness, isolation, and sorrow." In the Nine of Wands, the Moon/Sagittarius connection can represent "Preparation, strategy, thinking through possible responses to a situation in advance. . . Patient and wary observation of a situation." Ill-Dignified characteristics include "Knee-jerk response without adequate consideration. . . unseen dangers. . . Betrayal by one who was thought a friend. . . Overproduction, oversupplied."
Personally, I see a great difference in the energy represented by the Moon as opposed to Mars. Therefore, A.T. Mann's Mars/Sagittarius Nine of Wands *feels* very different to me when compared with the Moon/Sagittarius attribute of other Tarotists mentioned above. With Mars/Sagittarius, I have the sense of Fire, Fire, and more Fire (Mars rules Aries, a Fire sign). The Moon, on the other hand, is associated with the Water sign Cancer. Fire and Water are considered to be incompatible elements, prone to conflict. When they work together in a balanced manner, however, they can be quite powerful as a team (think "steam engine").
Arthur Waite describes the Nine of Wands as signifying "strength in opposition." He writes: "If attacked, the person will meet an onslaught boldly." The phrase "if attacked" suggests a defensive posture to me. The energy of Mars is aggressive and assertive, not passive or defensive. The Moon's energy, on the other hand, can be seen as passive/defensive.
I welcome your comments!