Tarot

Seven of Wands-- Grounding Oneself when Anxiety Around Boredom Arises

Society sure gets impatient when things don't give us what we want right away.  We hear, "just get rid of it" or "just dump him/her" all the time when something doesn’t produce when it should.  Seven of wands, like most cards in the tarot has two meanings- to reject or to persevere, and you

Nine of Wands-- "Ignoring One's Aggressions Out of Existence"

Nine of wands.png

It's time to go back to tarot cards, specifically the nines.  I'm going through this phase in my life where I seem to be surrounded by people who are Enneagram type Nines on all sides, and if you read this blog, you know I make a correlation between the Enneagram and the tarot.  And if you are surrounded by Nines like me, you probably know exactly what it feels like living inside a vacuum bag when the vacuum is on: they don't allow anything to affect them so everything you project outward to them gets blown back in your face.  Either that, or the opposite happens: they stick to you psychologically and agree with and copy everything you say and do. There’s a resistance to being affected because they know that if they allow themselves to be touched, they will glom onto you and not be able to separate. So resistance is their only way of holding onto a semblance of individuality, and what powerful resistance it is. The picture at right does nothing to show how fiercely their heels can dig into the ground.

Three weeks ago, I covered how I interpret the Nine of Cups card, and today I want to cover the Nine of Wands because I had a frustrating "Nine of Wands" encounter last night.  It was a casual catching up conversation with a friend over text. The halting conversation took place over 3 hours and 20 minutes.  I took a 1.5 hour walk in the middle of it, and the rest of the time, we stayed on the surface of about 3 conversation topics, often with a good 10-20 minutes between texts.  Not easy for a chatty Type Four like me who likes to go deep and tackle difficult subjects, but I know he was trying, and I understand the reasons for the difficulty in navigating conversation with me- which to him was full of landmines- so I tried to stay upbeat for him, and I give him big kudos for his efforts to connect despite the difficulties.

The core problem for Nines is that they are seekers after internal and external peace, but are so fearful of creating conflict that will disrupt their peaceful connection to people that they insist on ignoring their assertiveness and personal boundaries away. Don Riso is one of the masters at describing the Enneagram types so I’ll let him describe their inner mechanism:

The Nine is the primary personality type in the Instinctive Triad— the most out of touch with their instinctual drives and their ability to relate to the environment. This occurs because Nines do not want to be affected by the environment. They have established within themselves a kind of equilibrium, a feeling of peace and contentment [my edit: hence the nine of cups card] and they do not want their interactions with the world to disturb them. Similarly, they do not want to become unsettled by powerful feelings that their instincts would stir in them. Nines have sufficiently dissociated from the intensity of their passions , their drives, and their anger to allow them to remain tranquil and even-tempered.

This dissociation from their aggression gives Nines a false peace that comes with the cost of being out of touch with reality, and by ignoring their problems, they create even more conflict than if they had just given voice to their desires and impulses in the first place.

But they have a choice. Riso describes the outcome of either taking the high road, or taking the low road— continuing to react unconsciously to the fear of separation:

Thus, when they are healthy, they work to create a peaceful, harmonious environment around themselves. They may do this directly by soothing others and healing conflicts and hurts, or indirectly through creativity and communication which appeals to the idealistic side of human nature, to innocence and gentleness. In this way, Nines contribute to their world, but also influence it so that it will support their inner peacefulness. When Nines are less healthy, they maintain peace for themselves by ignoring those aspects of the environment which they find disturbing or upsetting. Eventually, this can lead to a highly dissociated approach to life in which Nines to not relate to others or the environment as they really are, but instead relate to an inner, idealized image of others which is more pleasant and less threatening.

The more you try and provoke them into action to solve the problem, the more they retaliate by disappearing into a wall of stubborn silence and denial.  You can't really win unless the Nine in your life is fated to see the red flags that their behavior is seriously ruining their life and destroying their relationships, and takes conscious action to change their behavior. (I say fated because I’m also a student of astrology, and some of us are not going to develop our spiritual side because there is no indication in our birth chart for it.)

Anyway, I hope that provides a fuller definition of the Nine of wands card. Tarot readers for the most part get it right when they interpret it as “defending against” or “defence”. It’s not as bad as the Nine of Cups that is always misunderstood, but it’s nice to know the inner psychology of the actual Type Nine person to give you a fuller picture during a reading.

What are the Pentacles?

In piecing together the rosetta stone of the tarot cards and how they correspond to the ancient wisdom of the Egyptians and Greeks, I am still stuck on a major piece of the puzzle: the pentacles.  The word "pentacle" is a fancy word for money or coin.  Tarot readers today interpret pentacles generally as slow but steady movement forward, groundedness, money, our finances, our practical foundation in life.  I'm trying to figure out the pentacles' correspondence to the Enneagram, which is a personality system that goes back probably just as long ago to ancient times, albeit in a much more rustic form.

The Ace of Pentacles

I have been realizing how indebted I am to one particular tarot website for the interpretation of the Ace of Pentacles in the tarot deck.  All of the other cards-- and I'm particularly interested in the Minor Arcana here-- I have come to an understanding of through the Enneagram, particularly thanks to Sandra Maitri's in-depth explanation of the nine Enneagram types' psychological patterns, but the Aces don't lend themselves that easily to transfering meaning from the Enneagram to Tarot.

The Fours in Tarot

I have made the case on this blog before that the Enneagram and the Tarot had similar origins back in Ancient Egyptian and Greek days.  The Tarot has become, in my mind, a powerful tool for explaining the different mental, emotional, and instinctual reactions for each Enneagram type.  Maybe someone figured somewhere back in the day that if we could see our neuroses depicted as harmless cartoons, we could feel more comfortable accepting how we went off course and became "blocked from the divine". 

The Enneagram and Tarot

Over the last two years, I've had the most interesting and frustrating journey with tarot cards.  I started learning them two years ago and early on, began to see the connection between its archetypes and those of the Enneagram, which drove me to understand tarot as much as I could.  Surely, somewhere in humanity's distant history, the two modalities were used side-by-side, or at least they cross-pollinated each other over time.

Why I use Tarot Cards

  Tarot cards are an intuitive way of getting a beat on the energy of a particuar situation.   Image from Fortune Magazine. 

Tarot cards are an intuitive way of getting a beat on the energy of a particuar situation.  Image from Fortune Magazine. 

This summer, my landlady needed a cleaning agent to kill some pests, and I knew I had exactly what she needed, although it was nowhere to be found in any of my likely storage places.  A few days after I'd promised her I could help her, I decided "what could it hurt if I asked my tarot cards?"  I did a three-card reading and the answer I got was that it was "behind [or after] addictive substances."  I don't have any addictive substances amongst my possessions- illegal anyways- but the closest I could think of was wine bottles, so I went to the storage room and checked at the back of a shelf behind some bottles, and voila- there it was.

Two days ago, I read an article on Fortune Magazine about how more and more executives are turning to psychics, astrologers, and tarot card readers to make important business decisions.  From the perspective of the service provider, this is a good business to be in if you know your shit.  Some of them charge up to 800$ an hour to give their clients insight into their competitions' business.  I have worked with three astrologers- one of them studied with Carl Jung's daughter, and she charges 400$ CDN for 80 minutes.  Most of her clients are executives, as she inadvertently revealed in a huff of impatience with me one session.  She can afford to be picky; she books a year in advance, and she expresses a certain displeasure with you if you don't take the opportunities that she tells you about.  Mr. M and I were referred to her by a former Pepsi exec and Fortune 500 VP that we met at a workshop.  He'd used her to get through a divorce and found her to be extremely helpful.

Through experience, I have learned to take my horoscopes with a healthy dose of salt and rely more on personalized readings from astrologers who are actually reading my chart.  I do really like one website, though, for their horoscopes: astrolis.com.  One day this past May, after having read their horoscopes for a good year, I decided to click on the "tarot" section, wondering what baloney they were going to try and feed me, and when I clicked on the three cards, three cartooney pictures were revealed.  I read the descriptions beside the pictures, and the sentiments in the card mirrored the general gist of what I was going through, so I asked another question and clicked on the cards again. 

That was the beginning of my adventure with tarot cards.  Since then, they've forwarned me about a break-up, warned me what it would be like if I went back to an old boyfriend, told me [correctly] that my next boyfriend would be younger than me, helped me understand why someone was being cold with me, pointed me in the right career direction, and helped me make good decisions while apartment hunting.  Right now I'm using them to find something else that got lost last summer.  They can be insanely tricky to read due to multiple meanings, or their meaning can be clear as day- the more you use them and sit and think about their meanings, the better reader you become. 

Yes, there's a lot of hokiness out there, and you do need to be careful.  My ex and I visited a palm reader for kicks last summer in an old, smoky, run-down house in Philadelphia, and she was way out to lunch.  On the other hand, I had a tarot card reading a month ago, and she was off on some things [and I knew it], and embarassingly accurate in others.  You can find quacks and frauds just as easily in a financial planning company or a law office as you can in a psychic's youtube channel.  You can also find people who are grounded and wise in both places.  Neither needs to be discounted wholesale, you need to follow your gut- ask a trusted friend for a referral.  And of course, you get what you pay for.  400$ or 800$ an hour is going to give you much better quality information from someone with much more experience than someone who charges 50$ an hour.