Nine of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

Tarot, like astrology, has long been one of our favorite divination systems. Interpreting either takes practice. As you learn, we wanted to help you to quickly connect to the cards and use them in ways that are actionable and practical in every area of life. xoxo, Tali & Ophira

Co-authored by James Kerti

What does the Nine of Swords tarot card mean?

Seeing the Nine of Swords in a reading can feel like a gut punch, as it is associated with hopelessness and anxiety. If you’re in a state of despair, why would you want a visual reminder in the form of the Nine of Swords, AKA the nightmare card?

But there’s something to having your feelings validated. Part of this card’s message is that while this negativity dwells in the mind, and may be playing on a loop, it’s not necessarily an accurate representation of what’s happening in reality.

The Nine of Swords is a (hopefully somewhat comforting) call to attention. It’s a reminder to take a deep breath and try to more honestly assess whether what you’re worried about is as bad as you think it is.

This minor arcana card is here to point out that you might be trapped in a cycle of negative thinking. By breaking that pattern, you may be able to find a renewed path forward into something better.

Nine of Swords Tarot Guide

Keywords for the Nine of Swords: Anxiety, hopelessness, fear, despair, negativity, anguish, depression, worry, trauma, nightmares

Yes or No: No

Zodiac Sign of the Nine of Swords: Gemini

Planet of the Nine of Swords: Mercury

Element of the Nine of Swords: Air

What does the Nine of Swords card mean in a love reading?

When the Nine of Swords shows up in a love reading, it can indicate that fear and anxiety are plaguing this area of your life.

If you’re in a relationship, it may be the case that you’re feeling disconnected from your partner, perhaps even resulting in arguments and discord. The Nine of Swords doesn’t necessarily specify whether that is the cause of your anxiety, or a symptom due to that negativity impacting your partnership.

Either way, like with other Swords, this minor arcana card highlights communication as an important part of the path forward. It’s going to be more important than ever for you and your partner to be vulnerable with one another. If there are things you two haven’t been sharing with each other about how you’re feeling, you may be sensing that already, which can add to the air of despair.

For those who are single and craving connection, the pain of past heartbreaks could be making it hard for you to get out there and date again. This card suggests the importance of focusing on your healing at this time. When you’re stuck and weighed down by the past, it’s nearly impossible to receive a loving relationship with someone new. (Or if you do find someone, you may project your ex’s negative traits onto them.)

To move past the pain, be willing to accept help and support from others, including mental health professionals.

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What does the Nine of Swords tarot card mean for career, money and finance?

The Nine of Swords often represents feeling anxious, stressed, and even hopeless when it comes to your work.

In a career context, this card can sometimes mean that a lot of your anxiety is just in your head. Workplace dynamics can be complex, and it’s understandable to misread interpersonal relationships at the office, especially if you’re already feeling on edge about something else in your life. If you have any trusted colleagues, this would be a good time to get their take. They might be seeing things differently than you are.

If you’re not able to enlist that support, or if doing so confirms your suspicions and you don’t have the power to make a shift, you might have to take more direct action, like looking for a new job. But the Nine of Swords suggests the need to start by assessing your situation as objectively as possible.

A similar message carries over to financial readings. If you’re despairing over your money situation, do what you can to take a step back and assess the whole picture as impartially as possible.

What does the Nine of Swords tarot card mean for health?

If you see the Nine of Swords in a health reading, you may already be experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety. This card can be associated with panic attacks, migraines, insomnia and anxiety disorders.

This minor arcana card urges you to seek help from a medical professional. Avoid turning to self-medicating with alcohol or drugs. The Nine of Swords represents choosing more supportive ways to navigate the stresses you’re experiencing.

Nine of Swords Tarot Card in Reverse Meaning

In reverse, the Nine of Swords still illustrates a dark period of negativity. But in this position it can show that you’re starting to come out the other side.

If you’ve been working to find your way back into the light of positivity, this minor arcana card reversed confirms the progress you’re making.

Getting a handle on anxiety can be a constantly moving target, and it’s okay if the way ahead isn’t linear. You likely will still face difficult days and hard moments, and suffer times when it feels like you’ve fallen all the way back again.

But the Nine of Swords in reverse encourages you that you are getting there. Keep taking care of yourself and continuing onward. Keep practicing self-care, more supportive ways of thinking, and asking for the support you need.

Is the Nine of Swords tarot card a yes or no?

With its focus on negativity and fear, the Nine of Swords is a no when it shows up in a yes or no reading.

What does the Suit of Swords mean?

Swords are associated with air signs (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius), which get things moving, acting as the winds of change. Air energy is communicative, and people with air signs like to connect and share ideas.

Feature art by Diana Hlevnjak