Karmic Re-Set with the Nine of Swords

I remember the last time I pulled the Nine of Swords in one of my personal readings.  I had a very spiritual reaction, which was, “Well . . . shit.” Swiftly followed by another, which was, “Why me?”

It probably wasn’t one of my better days.

The Nine of Swords absolutely screams, “karma.”  The individual is lying in bed with his head in his hands, a perfect image of someone who has just awakened from a screaming nightmare.  The quilt on the bed is covered with astrological symbols showing past incarnations in different signs of the zodiac. The swords behind him seem locked together like the bars in a prison cell.

There can be no doubt that this is someone who has just realized that he’s accumulated some terrible, terrible karma and is going to have to pay a serious price for it.

There’s another way of looking at it, though.

If you’ve spent any substantial time in spiritual exploration then you’ve had that, “Ah HA!” moment when you realize that you are a co-creator of your life.  It goes something like this:

I control my thoughts.  My thoughts cause my emotions.  My emotions cause my energy vibrations.  My energy vibrations, through the Law of Attraction, determine what’s going to manifest in my life.  Therefore, I control (or create) what’s manifesting in my life.

To put it more succinctly, if I’m broadcasting a lot of negative vibrations I’m going to attract a lot of negative crap into my life.  If my vibrations are positive, positive things will flow into my life.

There’s a real rush that goes along with that revelation.  We feel very liberated from random circumstances and from people victimizing us.  We realize that all of this isn’t being done TO us, we’re making it happen to ourselves, which means that we can change it.

But there are a couple of, “Well . . . shit,” moments that go along with that.

The first one is, “Well . . . shit . . . I made this.  This is MY karma. I’m totally responsible for this mess.”

It wasn’t our abusive fathers, or our crazy ex-wife or husband, or the country or culture we grew up in, or the opportunities we did or didn’t have, or anything OUT THERE.  We manifested all of it into our lives or we chose to NOT manifest something better. We made it.

Well . . . shit . . .

The second appallingly scary moment happens when we realize that it means that we’re also creating what happens next.

Alcoholics Anonymous and the other 12 Step Programs have a saying:  “You can start your day over whenever you want to.” In other words, if you’re having a terrible day you can always take a deep breath, reconnect with your serenity, and change how your day is going.

Tibetan Buddhism embraces the concept that we can start our karma over whenever we want to.  No, we can’t escape the unfolding of consequences from our previous actions but we can make those consequences a lot better by starting to live our lives with love and compassion and the creation of good karma.

And when we realize – truly realize – that we are creating our lives right now, right here, with the choices that we’re making, that we’re starting over,  that’s a pretty heavy responsibility.

For one thing we have to get really clear on just what we DO want.  What are my values? What do I want in my life? Peace? Serenity? Happiness?  Family? Sex? Money? What do I want to create in my life? If all of this isn’t just stuff that’s happening to me, if it isn’t just things that people are doing to me, if I’m MAKING my life . . . what do I want it to look like?

And if we’re going to choose to consciously create our own lives – and we don’t have to, we can stay unconscious – then we have to consciously choose, every day, every hour, to control our emotions, our vibrations, and our manifestations.  

And that’s not easy.

Well . . . shit . . .

King of Swords

A serious looking man sits on a throne grasping a sword in his right hand.  His body is entirely covered except for his hands and his face.

This indicates a very strong, unemotional, tough person.  It may be the questioners employer or a professional such as a doctor or a lawyer.  This is a person who is extremely competent and could be of great help but the card itself doesn’t indicate that he or she WILL help, just that they could.  This may indicate a dark haired, emotionally cold, highly intelligent person.

Reversed:  A tough, strong individual, as in the upright position, but in this case there is an element of aggression, even violence.  A demanding, unpleasant individual, possibly with dark hair.

EXAMPLES:  A boss who is nice enough but is really only interested in getting the job done and doesn’t want to hear about your problems or personal life.

An incredibly competent doctor who views you as a case rather than as a person.

Queen of Swords

A woman with a severe expression sits on a heavily carved throne.  She grasps a sword in her right hand and it appears to be balanced on the arm of the throne.  Her left hand is raised in the air, as if she is pronouncing judgment.

This card shows the presence of a very strong, highly intelligent individual.  It may represent a highly skilled professional, such as a lawyer or a doctor. The emphasis here is on intelligence and strength because there may a certain emotional coldness and distance to his or her personality.  This is a person who can be of great service if she chooses to be but isn’t a great snuggler. Look for help, not affection.

Reversed:  This may very well be a professional with whom you are clashing, such as a lawyer who is threatening to sue you or a doctor who is insisting on a course of treatment that you don’t agree with.  On a mundane level, this may indicate the presence of a cold, judgmental dark haired woman.

EXAMPLES: The friend who is always analyzing you.  He may care about you but he approaches everything from an intellectual rather than an emotional perspective.

Knight of Swords

A Knight in full armor, sword brandished before him, is charging at a balls out gallop.  His visor is open, his expression is angry, and his horse looks panicked.

This card indicates an environment charged with action.  Swift assessments, swift appraisals, swift responses. The open visor indicates that the questioner knows precisely where he or she is heading and has decided on what goals they want to attain.  It may also indicate that the questioner is not taking prudent care to protect herself and she needs to be careful to control the situation carefully. On a mundane level it may show the presence of a dark haired, powerful young person

Reversed:  A possibility of arguments and disputes coming in the very near future.  There may be medical procedures that are looming. It may indicate a very aggressive, argumentative, unpleasant young person, probably with dark hair.

EXAMPLES:  A friend who keeps charging into situations despite your warning her to be a little more cautious.

Being totally inspired by a new idea or new project and going for it with everything you’ve got.

Page of Swords

A young man holds a sword upright in both hands.  One foot is planted firmly on the ground while the other foot is on its’ toes.  The land beneath the young man undulates, almost as if it were waves instead of earth.  The wind is blowing and dark clouds are beginning to gather.

This card tells the questioner to stay alert and be ready to act at a moments notice.  Either an opportunity or a problem is coming soon. On a mundane level this card may indicate the presence of a child with dark hair.

Reversed:  Minor arguments, problems, squabbles.  There will be disappointments but nothing major or lasting.  If the card indicates the presence of a child, the child may be troubled and is perhaps in the habit of spying on adults.

EXAMPLES:  An amazing business opportunity drops into your lap and you have to act fast to take advantage of it.

A young co-worker who is incredibly inquisitive about how the business works.

Just the Tarot,” by Dan Adair Available on Amazon.com

Ten of Swords

And you thought the Eight of Swords was a scary card!  A man lies on the ground, obviously dead, his body pierced with ten swords.  The sun is either setting or rising in the background.

This is the ultimate ending to the power cycle.  If we approach life in terms of power and dominance rather than love and compassion we end up face down, defeated, and full of swords.  This is a card of basic karma: whatever you put out there comes back to you ten fold.

This card indicates treachery, deceit, changes for the worse.  It can signal a very bad ending to a relationship or the loss of a job.

Reversed:  Things will gradually get better.  The swords will fall out and the situation will improve.  If the questioner has been having health problems there will be a slow, but steady, improvement.

EXAMPLES:  An alcoholic or drug addict who has really and truly – finally – bottomed out and is ready to admit that he or she is powerless.

Going through bankruptcy and losing everything.

Nine of Swords

This card shows an individual sitting bolt upright in bed, face buried in her hands, with nine swords lining the wall behind her.  This is a card of waking up in the night screaming in terror. It represents the sudden, conscious realization of the bad results of power games and aggression.

The swords on the wall appear to be locked together, hilt to hilt.  They’re like the bars in a jail cell, showing that there is no escape from the consequences.  The patches on the quilt are embroidered with the signs of the zodiac, suggesting the bad karma of many lifetimes coming to fruition.

To put it simply, this is a card of your chickens coming home to roost.  The negative energy that the individual has put out into the world is coming back to bite her in the ass.

Reversed: The anxieties, fears, and bad karma are gradually fading away.

EXAMPLES: Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Future.  Suddenly realizing that you’ve really screwed up, there are consequences to pay, and you’re all alone.

Getting a wake up call that you’ve been acting like a real jerk and your friends and lovers have all walked away from you.

Eight of Swords

A woman in a red gown with her arms heavily bound and a blindfold over her eyes is surrounded by eight swords planted firmly in the ground.  A castle rises behind her and oily water lies at her feet.

Obviously, this is a nasty assed card and you shouldn’t expect any positive meanings for it.  The subject is completely immobile and helpless, bound in place by the powers that surround her and blind to what has caused her dilemma.  There is really nothing she can do to help herself because she doesn’t even understand how this happened to her or why. This isn’t just about being a victim;  there’s also a lot of denial and refusal to face reality.

Reversed:  The forces that restrict her will gradually loosen their grips, but there are still hard times ahead.

EXAMPLES:  The alcoholic who just got busted for his fourth DUI but refuses to get into recovery.

The abused wife who insists that her abuser, “really loves her,” and is going to change.

Seven of Swords

A man with a mocking grin on his face is seen sneaking away from an encampment bearing five swords in his arms while two swords remain thrust upright into the ground.

This card hearkens back, therefore, to both the five of swords and the two of swords.  The same sort of merciless, sadistic power games are being played as in the five of swords, but there is an element of secrecy, concealment, and being underhanded about his malice.  The individual is causing just as much harm but doesn’t want others to know about it.

Swords represent power and he is literally stealing someone else’s power from them.  As a result of it he is leaving them power-less, locked into the same state of stalemate as the two of swords and no longer able to function.  

Reversed:  The person doing the stealing and deception is about to get caught.  His or her behavior will be revealed and the problem will resolve.

EXAMPLES:  The employee who is constantly undermining her supervisor with malicious gossip.

The, “friend,” who is gossiping about you behind your back and destroying your credibility and reputation.

Six of Swords

A woman and a child huddle in a boat surrounded by a cluster of upright swords.  Behind them a boatman propels the boat forward with a long pole.

This is a card of leaving troubles behind and moving toward better times.  A journey from rough waters to waters that are placid and calm. There is a definite element of escape, of fleeing in this card.  It springs naturally from the brutal power games of the Five of Swords. The subject of the card has had enough and is taking a leave from it all.  Note that the woman and the child are hooded and their heads are down, as if concealing their identity from the dangers they are leaving behind.

There is also an element of turning your power over to someone else, of letting a third party make decisions for you if that will get you to safety.  It is the man who is the motive force here, not the woman and child and he is transporting them to a safer place. On a mundane level this may indicate a journey across a body of water.

Reversed: Difficulties in travel and travel arrangements.  Missed connections, lost tickets. It may indicate loss due to inattention or a failure to move rapidly.

EXAMPLES: An abused woman fleeing to a shelter for battered women, perhaps being escorted by the police.

Quitting a horrible job with no notice.

Just the Tarot,” by Dan Adair, available on Amazon.com