Element: Air

Sign: 2. decan of Gemini

Planet: Mars

Tree of Life: Yesod

Light: self-accusation, self-punishment, self-torture, heartless passion, bigotry, revenge

Shadow: shame, guilt

Lord of Cruelty

The Nine of Swords is also known as the Lord of Cruelty. This title is derived from the card’s association with the harsh realities of life, the agonies of the mind, and the heartless passions that can consume us. 


This tarot card serves as a reminder of the price we pay when we allow our ego-mind to become so invested in control and domination that we disregard the human costs. It encourages us to face the cruel truth that is out there, no matter how painful it may be.

Joe’s Divine Guidance - Nine of Swords in a Tarot Reading



The Nine of Swords in the upright position indicates a time of deep concern and distress. It suggests a period of inactivity where you may feel stuck and unable to move forward. It serves as a reminder to avoid remaining in a state of resignation without taking any action. Instead, it encourages you to assess the situation, make up your mind, and have the courage to leave the current situation behind.

The Nine of Swords reversed may indicate that you are beginning to move out of a period of distress and negativity. It suggests a time of healing and transformation, where you are beginning to find the will to move forward and make changes in your life.

Mystical Symbolism - Nine of Swords Thoth

Image of the Nine of Swords in the Thoth tarot deck.

9 Red Swords: The red and rusty swords represent the aggression and unpleasantness of war and torment. They symbolize the negative energy that can arise from conflict and cruelty.



Poison: The poison serves as a metaphor for negative self-talk, anxiety, worry, and distressing mental patterns that can be harmful to one’s well-being. It drips from the top of the card to the bottom of the swords, signifying the descent of these destructive thoughts.


Blood: The blood at the bottom of the card represents the harm and destruction that can come from holding onto these poisoned thoughts. It represents the draining of vitality and life force, as well as the erosion of inner peace.

Tree of Life: Yesod and the Nine of Swords

The Nine of Swords is associated with Yesod on the Tree of Life, which represents the gathering and consolidation of energy. Yesod receives direct influence from Tiphareth, which is a crucial element in the flow and transfer of energy. This means that Yesod is connected to a powerful source of energy that influences its functioning and purpose within the overall structure of the Tree.


The Nine of Swords’ connection with Yesod signifies the powerful manifestation of elemental forces, particularly in their material form.

Astrology Insights

The Nine of Swords is associated with Mars in the 2nd decan of Gemini. Mars is the planet of action and desire, and Gemini is a sign associated with communication and adaptability. This combination suggests a deep emotional connection and a nurturing, loving relationship. 


The card serves as a reminder to cherish and find delight in the pleasures and beauty present in the world around us. It encourages us to actively seek out and appreciate the simple yet profound experiences that bring us joy, fostering a deeper connection to the divine and a greater sense of fulfillment in our lives.