Friday, April 16, 2021

Tarot Tales: N is for Nine of...

Welcome to the 2021 A to Z Blogging Challenge! My theme this year is Tarot Tales. I am making a selection of folktales, legends, and other traditional stories that correspond to tarot cards. Storytelling and tarot go well together. Do other stories come to mind? Let me know in the comments!

This is once again an unconventional Minor Arcana post. I am picking four tales for the four Nine cards in the tarot deck. I have struggled with the Nines, because they are not easy for me to grasp in concrete terms, but I am trying my best.

Nine of Wands

Nine of Wands is exhausted but not broken. It is a card about still standing after going through a lot. It is about resilience, overcoming obstacles, standing your ground and not giving up. It is also about boundaries - the boundaries that protect you, that you have fought hard for. They keep others from bringing you down, even when it feels like everything is testing your resilience.

In this tale, a girl's Destiny appears to her in the shape of an eagle, and asks her if she wants to be fortunate when she is young, or when she is old. She chooses fortune for her old age - which means misfortune plagues her while she is young. The eagle follows her everywhere, and messes up whatever she tries to achieve. She goes through a lot, gets kicked out of all her jobs, until finally she manages to find a place as a servant in a king's palace. In her most desperate moment, her misfortune finally breaks, and she ends up marrying a prince.
This tale type has many other variants. You can read one here, or here, or here. It's tale type ATU 938A.

Nine of Swords

This is not a nice card. It is about anxiety, fears, worries, and all those other dark things that literally keep you up at night. It is despair, lack of self-confidence, and haunting thoughts. 

A princess dies of a broken heart, and demands that someone should guard her crypt every night. However, each guard is found dead in the morning. Turns out the princess transformed into a monster who crawls out of her coffin at night to eat people. One brave man volunteers to spend three nights in the cathedral where she is buried. On the first two, he hides in various places, terrified she'd find him; on the third, he jumps into her coffin and locks himself in. She screams and scratches the lid all night, but he holds out. By morning, the curse is broken.
Yes, you know this one from The Witcher. I always thought this folktale is about anxiety. Folktale type ATU 307.

Nine of Cups

This one is also known as the wish card. It is about wishes coming true. It is about satisfaction, blessings, happiness, gratitude, living your best life, having it all. I wanted to find a story that has a water element (Cups), a wish, and a content happy ending.

A king is searching for someone who would bring water from a magic lake to cure his sick son. Two young men set out but they fail. Eventually, their little sister sets out on a journey too, and with the help of her pet llama and some grateful birds, she manages to find a lake. The birds make her a magic fan from their feathers, a fan that fulfills her every which. At the lake, she uses it to defeat a giant crab, an alligator, and a flying serpent. She takes the water to the king in a golden jar. In return, the king grats her three wishes. She receives a large farm for her family, and lives happily ever after. The ever-full golden jar keeps the royals healthy and safe.
(You can also read the story here or here, or find a lovely Spanish telling here.

Nine of Pentacles

If Cups is about wishes, this one is about wealth. It is about having financial security, the ability to enjoy the fruits of your hard work. It is a card for luxury and comfort. It also usually depicts a woman surrounded by nature, enjoying her life. It's the treat yourself card.

A poor widow supports herself and her three sons from her weaving. One day she sees a beautiful painting of a palace with gardens, and she decides to weave it into a brocade, escaping into the beautiful imaginary world while she works. When the brocade is finally finished, the winds picks it up and carries it away, and the widow, after so much work, falls ill from disappointment. Her sons set out to find the brocade, but only the youngest succeeds; he finds it in a palace of fairies, where they are busy copying it. He takes the brocade home - and when he unfolds it, it comes to life, providing a gorgeous garden and a palace for the widow (and a fairy wife for her son). They live happily ever after.

If you could have a wish, what would you wish for? If you had the resources, what would you treat yourself to? What keeps you going when times are hard?


  1. One wish? Hmm. I guess for all my family to healthy.
    Id think I'd treat myself to a new car and give mine to my kids to use. A Tesla or something like that.
    What keeps me going? Easy, my family!

    Tim Brannan, The Other Side: 2021: The A to Z of Monsters

  2. I think the girl was very wise to choose misfortune in her youth. The young can handle it better than the old!
    A wish? Like Tim, for my family. To be happy. I will assume happiness would already include health and love and all that!
    Treat myself? Well, that depends on how much! I have a lot of little things that might add up to one big thing. A new deck. Heating/Air conditioning. Pay off bills. Bigger things would be new car (mine is a 2000, although under 90,000). I'd share with my family. My daughter has student loans with more ahead. That might take it all!
    What keeps me going? The fact that life just goes on, and we really don't have any choice when others depend on us. I think I feel that way because people acted like I was "strong" when my husband died, but really? What else could I do but keep going, I had two children still at home?

  3. The Princess In The Shroud sounds familiar - I haven’t seen or read The Witcher. I think I read it in a short book aimed at young reluctant readers.

    A wish? I’d like my family to have their mortgages paid off, homes for my younger family members and renovation for my mother’s home. I guess that’s three wishes!

  4. Interesting selection!

    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge with an A-Z of Faerie: The Nightmare Steed

  5. Awesome! I was just here from a link on the witchy things blog which also talks about the 9's of the tarot deck and I remembered I haven't been here the past couple of days. I love tarot and the stories you share. I did not know the one Witcher story was from folklore. Have a great day!

    Anne from

  6. My one wish? For this pandemic to stop
    If I had the time and the money, I would want to go on a trip around the world
    What keeps me going when the going gets tough? Faith and family

  7. Nine wands sounds like my week!

  8. I'd wish for the security of a roof over our head always and enough money so that we didn't go hungry. My beloved always is what I need to sustain me.
    Another great post.

  9. I have only one magic wish - to be healthy. Alas, I don't have the Nine of Cups card to make this wish come true. But I do all I can, card-less as I am.

  10. I think you're doing a brilliant job choosing stories to illustrate the cards. My wish is a metta: "May all beings be happy; May all beings be safe; May all beings everywhere be free."

  11. I really like the tale of The Princess in the Shroud. Brave man, indeed.

  12. I love the Magic Brocade story, it's about art, family love, adventure and fairies, all my favourite things :)