The Card of the Day: The Nine of Swords
“Stand up to your inner-saboteur.”
The Nine of Swords has been called the “worst card in the deck.” Although the imagery isn’t as jolting as some of the other cards, it is called the “worst” because it represents the potential of mental shadows to attack you from within. Fear, shame, guilt, feeling utterly alone...these are all tools our inner-shadow uses to sabotage us. The brighter the light you shine, the greater the shadow you cast. Sensitive, kind, and creative people who bring light into the world must be especially strong when facing their shadows. Inner shadows are like nightmares, they are scary, but they don't really exist. You are stronger than your inner saboteur, but you must stand up to it when it tries to overtake your mind.
Have you ever encountered your inner-saboteur? Have people ever told you that you are a talented, amazing person…. and yet you can't believe it? Have you been letting your shadow sabotage you, and thwart what you think is possible for your future?
The man on the card just can't sleep. His mind has been overthrown by shadow thinking. He's in the dark, the realm of anxiety. His mind has been racing all night cycling from fear about the future, to guilt about his past, to self-loathing for not having control in the present. His inner-saboteur is holding him hostage, making him forget his light and how valuable he is.
Look closely at the paneling on the bed. He is submitting to his attacking inner-saboteur. But even now there is still hope. He just can't see it now because he is covering his eyes. Look at his quilt.
Blankets are shields. They can comfort us and remind us that we are actually safe. His blanket is covered with roses. The roses symbolize that he is still vital, and still has a wonderful life ahead of him, despite what the shadow tells him. His quilt is also covered with the signs of the zodiac, the star patterns of the Universe. This symbolizes that he can free himself from fear if he remembers to view himself in the context of Spirit. The man pictured here is actually a thread in a greater universal tapestry. He is a vital part of a bigger (Universal) plan. To escape the fear, he must view himself from a higher, universal perspective. This card reminds you that you do deserve to live and thrive, but you must know yourself and see the truth of your light that exists beyond your shadow.
Everyone is given a security blanket when they're born. It's also the first thing they pass out to aid in disaster relief. Hold onto the knowledge that you are not alone and are a vital part of a greater design. You wouldn't exist if there weren't something important that you were here to do. Life is school for the soul. You are not garbage and never will be.
The inner-saboteur is like anything, it wants to survive and continue to exist. The more you affirm it with self-loathing, guilt, shame and fear, the more it thrives. Turn off the spigot and transfer your attention to loving yourself and respecting how far you've come. Affirm your value to yourself and the shadow will lose all power.
Today stand up to shadow thinking. When your inner-saboteur says you can't do something, you do it anyway. When it says you should feel like crap, do something good for someone. If it seizes you in the shadows, light a candle and go to a mirror. Remind yourself that you are luminous, loving, and have a life’s purpose that doesn't include shooting yourself in the foot.
If you periodically struggle with shadows, it's just proof that your spirit radiates a unique and luminous light.
If this resonated with you…
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 P. Scott Hollander, Tarot for Beginners (St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1996), 191.