August: Nine of Wands

It’s been awhile.  I’ve been away, first on a family vacation to Sanibel and then on a mini-vacation with my flower shop cohorts to NYC for a whirlwind flower tour in Brooklyn and Manhattan.  I should also mention that these trips happened through the generosity of others – don’t go thinking that my student loans are all paid off and I’m able to jet around the East Coast as I please.  (Perhaps we should discuss budgeting, income, and loans here one day?  I’m all about transparency, it breeds healthy conversation and awareness.)

August is here, and we’re experiencing a second heat wave here in Lansdowne.  There was a bit of a reprieve from the heat when Chris and I were in Florida with my family, thank goodness, since we left the cats at home with our sweet first floor neighbor caring for them.  It’s hard not to have air conditioning during these days where the heat index is over a hundred and five degrees.  (In case you didn’t know, the heat index indicates how hot it feels to humans, taking into account the temperature and the level of humidity.)  The second heat wave has been happening since…well, right after we returned a week ago.  It should be getting a bit cooler by Tuesday, but that’s two days away and it’s pretty oppressive right now.  I don’t want to wish away an entire season, but I’m ready for autumn.  Summer is just chronically uncomfortable in this region, and I’ve never truly looked forward to the summer weather that sits and hovers here.

I wanted to share the card that I pulled for August when I did my “Year Ahead” spread, months ago.  The card for August is the Nine of Wands, and it looks a little something like this.

Herbal Tarot on the left, Rider/Waite/Smith on the right, and Tarot of the Old Path on the bottom beside the notebook.  Candle from the shop, and sun tea from this stupid heat wave.

Herbal Tarot on the left, Rider/Waite/Smith on the right, and Tarot of the Old Path on the bottom beside the notebook.  Candle from the shop, and sun tea from this stupid heat wave.

And when I read this card back in January with my Rider/Waite/Smith deck, the prime word that I used for the analysis was “exhaustion.”  If we focus on the image on the card from that particular deck, the figure does appear to be tired.  The character’s cheek is flushed, there is a bandage of some sort around their head, and they’re supporting their standing posture by holding tight, shoulders tensed up, with a staff. 

At the time of reading, I simply thought that my August, something would require me to hold on until I could make a final push through my own tiredness, until a level of completion (any ten in a suit) was reached.  Now, I’m not quite so sure that I was thoroughly accurate.  The hard part about reading tarot for yourself is that you’re inherently biased.  It’s hard to remove yourself enough from yourself when you’re reading about…yourself.

Side note: if you are interested in joining the beta test group for a tarot reading from me, please pop over to the Tarot tab (password: swords) to join in!

In regards to exhaustion, the Nine of Wands is feeling it.  But there is no sense of defeat or giving up.  How could we come so close to finishing the suit of Wands, to just give up?  The Herbal Tarot figure is at the ready, holding a wand in their hand, keeping watch.  They’re resting and trying to find a bit of respite, but they’re not finished.  They are alert.  Finding the space to rest during a trial of any sort is important in order to find the strength to continue.  And for as blazing and urgent as Wands can sometimes feel to me, I appreciate that the Herbal Tarot is showing the mental, conscientious element to this card.

Another mindset that is being shown in this particular card is from the Tarot of the Old Path, in its representation of the Nine of Rods.  The figure is also on guard, holding one of the rods, flaming, in their hands in a defensive position.  Their eyes are alert and though the rods surround them, there is still space that needs to be defended from whatever the threat might be.  They appear to me, distrustful, which is something I can relate to during certain trials or challenges from others.  The wariness in this card, and the weariness in the RWS card.

After taking the time to research this card and to compare the illustrations on each deck, I feel that I can gain a grander take-away from this month’s card.  I don’t always compare cards across decks, especially not during an active reading.  However, I like to learn as much as I can about the subtle details of things that interest me, and this is certainly one of them.

If you’re interested in podcasts, I encourage you to listen to Edyss of Stay Woke Tarot on her first ever podcast from a month ago, coincidentally regarding the Nine of Wands.  I value her interpretation of this card under the circumstances that she drew it, as I’m a very sensitive person to conflict and dissonance.  I’ll definitely be checking back in on her blog periodically to see what else I can learn.