In this article Nine of Wands Symbols, I refer to the Nine of Wands card from the Rider Waite Tarot deck, also known as the Waite-Smith, or Rider-Waite-Smith, or Rider tarot deck. In the Thoth Tarot deck this card is called Great Strength, esoteric name Lord of Great Strength.
The symbolism found on this card is primarily drawn from mythology, new age spiritualism, dream therapy and color therapy.
Nine of Wands: Key Symbols
Upright wands, hills, white bandage, yellow boots
“The figure leans upon his staff and has an expectant look, as if awaiting an enemy. Behind are eight other staves – erect, in orderly disposition, like a palisade.”A.E.Waite
The Original Rider Waite Pictorial Key to The Tarot
9 of Wands Imagery: symbol meaning, metaphor, allegory, legend
What Do The Upright Wands Symbolize in The Nine of Wands?
An embattled man stands resolute in front of eight wands. He glances nervously over his shoulder, as though expecting trouble.
This card depicts a point at which a person has overcome a series of challenges and grown stronger in the process. However, they are smart enough to know that there are still more challenges ahead. In other words, this card represents the struggle of life.
The spare wands could be victory trophies, like a Native American taking scalps in battle to achieve the status of warrior. This is a brief moment of respite, where the warrior acknowledges the triumphs of his past but remains prepared for what is to come next.
The spare wands could also represent armory for future battles, indicating that the man has gathered enough practical and emotional resources to keep going.
What is The Meaning of The Hills in The Nine of Wands?
In Tarot, hills and mountains tend to represent obstacles yet to overcome. However, the 9 of Wands is unusual in that the hero is normally walking towards the mountains. Here, our warrior has his back to the hilly terrain, and he has even secured his spare wands out of sight behind him. Evidently, he believes any attack is more likely to come from the front.
As such, the hills form a barrier of defense. The warrior has overcome their perilous challenge to arrive at his present station. The journey must not have been easy, indicated by the way he rests on a wand and the white bandage on his head.
Yet, if the journey was hard for our hero, he figures it will also be hard for others and is likely to reduce competition. However, the nervous backward glance suggests he knows that if anyone does manage to walk in his path, they are likely to be a worthy opponent.
This card reminds us, that while it is important to acknowledge our progress, we must still remember that it is a competitive world and we need to keep our head in the game.
What is The Symbolism of The Yellow Boots?
Boots psychologically represent ‘protection’, because they cover more of the leg than a regular shoe. In dream therapy, for example, to dream of wearing boots can indicate fear of being embarrassed by other people.
In Tarot, leather boots are a common sight in male figures in the pip cards. As a warrior’s skin thickens emotionally, so does the material of his boot.It is worth noting that the Knights wear boots made of steel, and the most impressive steel boots of all, belong to the Emperor and ultimate ruler.
In the 9 of Wands, our warrior wears yellow boots. In color therapy, yellow is associated with happiness, loyalty and honor. Obviously this man feels fulfilled, if still a little unnerved and out of his comfort zone, by the path he has chosen for himself.
What Does The White Bandage Symbolize?
The white bandage around the warrior’s head represent the injuries he has endured to reach this stage of his life.
These injuries may be physical, spiritual or emotional. The fact that the artist placed the bandage on the man’s head, as opposed to any other part of the body, implies that injuries are more likely to be of an emotional (mental) kind. His ego may have been knocked about, for example.
In dream therapy, dreaming of a white bandage can signify emotional wounds.
What Sphere Does The Nine of Wands Represent in Qabalah?
Qabalah (Kabbalah): In western occultism, the 9 of Wands depicts the ninth sphere or sefirot of the Tree of Life called Yesod.
According to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Archangel Gabriel resides over the sphere. The choir of angels that reside in Yesod are the Cherubim.
Complete List: Tarot Card Symbolism
Karina, author of Tarot in 5 Minutes.
The Ultimate Guide to Nine of Wands Symbols