9 of Sticks — Tarot of the Absurd

Monday, July 30th, 2012

hidden enemies

The Nine of Sticks shows three camouflaged people battling with sticks amongst the trees. Are they fighting amongst themselves or grappling with a common enemy? How clearly do they see each other? How long has this been going on? Are they making headway or merely holding fast on the defensive?


The Nine of Sticks is about fighting it through to the end. The task at hand is almost complete— so close it seems as if it should be completed already.  Yet there is still more work. The work is perhaps more difficult than first imagined. There are unseen obstacles. Sometimes, such obstruction seems deliberate, as if hidden enemies wait around each corner or behind every tree. Try and try again. Be patient. Be resilient. Be vigilant and carry on. Some times, the greatest battle is the one that takes place in one’s own head.


*   *   *


I have dreams that I find a desk—
the sort with the front that swings open
to reveal cubbyholes and drawers
and within drawers there are partitions
and under the partitions there are boxes
and within the boxes there are divisions
each opened one after another because
inside there is something secret.
Each time I dream I find the desk
I am overwhelmed with excitement.
Nothing bad ever happens in these dreams.
No one ever finds me snooping.
I have no intent to take anything;
my only intent is to look
to find the last within-within.
The excitement is in opening one compartment
and finding another compartment to open.
There is nothing else.
There is nothing hidden but hiding places.
There is no enemy but that of waking up
before I find the ultimate within—

Nine of Wands — Tarot of the Immagination

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Artist: Frenec Pinter


I have neither Little White Book nor box for this deck. As with all cards, different people interpret the nine of wands in different ways. This reading is my feeble attempt at art interpretation, which is what I am left with when no one tells me what to think.


The man in the foreground is fishing at the edge of a canal. It looks like he is wearing fatigues and a Russian army hat. He is sitting on a poster of Lenin. Is this image during the war years, when Lenin, standing for maximum working-class democracy, lead the workers of the Tsarist Russian Empire to revolution? Or is it afterward, when the Stalinists, calling themselves Leninists, cut away at everything Lenin had worked for and adopted anti-working-class policies? I never paid attention in history class. There were too many wars and dates and dead white men.


Inner strength, stamina, and the will to go on despite impossible odds are at the center of the Nine of Wands. I would like to say, the man is a revolutionary. He sits on the ideals of Lenin, protecting them, making them his own. But the revolution is going on forever. So many people he knows have died. Will the war never end? It is so dark! If only he can follow the light of his inner strength, it will lead to glory.


The twist: there is glory for the Bolshevik Party, but all too soon their ideals are crushed and twisted. The revolution is stolen from the hands of the revolutionaries. The struggle of the working class has never ended. Only in heaven is there a chance for the light of inner strength to close its eyes in sleep, just for a moment.


This card shows that if we search deep inside ourselves, we will find the strength to endure.