A woman sits up in bed. Her hands cover her face and she holds her head. She is in panic. She may have just awoken from a bad dream, or whatever is troubling her in life, has become a nightmare. Whatever it is, it is enough to occupy all of her thoughts and make her worry. The card’s background is black, a symbolic colour of darkness, death, mystery and destruction. With the nine swords hanging above her head, the woman does not know what to do or whom to turn to.
I have suffered from many nightmares in my time, but generally, I associate this card with extreme worry in day to day life, rather than during sleep. Mainly, I worry about my health. If I am not feeling ‘right’ or I discover some sort of irregularity within the workings of my body, it can send me into extreme panic and fear. My heart will beat faster. I will feel my stomach fall and my mind will race, coming up with more and more irrational thoughts and feelings as the minutes tick by. At night, fears and worries always seem worse - they double and maximise to the point where you find yourself in the worst of states. For me, this is an image that describes those times when I lose control mentally, out of feeling frightened for one reason or another.
I remember a one-night-stand that I had many years ago. I had needed it at the time, but the next morning, I had pretty much convinced myself that I had picked up a sexually transmitted disease. In the same way that this card is overly-dramatic, I was not considering the smaller diseases on the market. By the time I had left the guys house and had made it to the railway station, almost crying, I believed I had a wacking great big disease.
Eventually, after tests, I found out that I did not, but prior to that I was 100% sure that I had caught something and the worry and fear literally tore me apart - even though I had no proof, either way. I was scared and in a panic, like the woman in the 9 of Swords, and found it hard to keep my mind on anything else - I ended up taking time off of college and going home to my parents for a little tender loving care. Of course, I did not tell them why I was so upset. This, I feel, could be another aspect of the card - the loneliness of keeping your anxieties to yourself and dealing with them alone.
Of course, I still worry - obsessively, sometimes. However rational I try to be, I always think the worst. This leads to sleepless nights, due to worry, rather than seeking out the help of a professional, through fear that I will be told something is seriously wrong.
Looking at the card upside down illustrates a release to me - the end of doubt, fear and worry. Thinking about the health tests already mentioned, the relief of finding out that nothing was wrong with me was such a great relief - it was like all of those swords literally fell off of the wall and could no longer taunt me. I could laugh again and continue my life without that fear hanging over my head.
When reversed, the card could also be telling you that you are worrying far more than you should be. Your worst fears may very well be unlikely, suggesting you are making mountains out of molehills. An upside-down 9 of Swords may signify hope or the end of worries or a problematic situation that is taking up all of your thoughts.