The Nine of Swords

The Lord of Despair and Cruelty

FOUR Hands, as in the preceding figure, hold eight swords nearly upright, but with the points falling away from each other. A fifth hand holds a ninth sword upright in the centre, as if it had struck them asunder. No rose at all is shewn, as if it were not merely cut asunder, but utterly destroyed. Above and below are the Decan symbols of Mars and Gemini.

Despair, cruelty, pitilessness, malice, suffering, want, loss, misery. Burden, oppression, labour, subtlety and craft, dishonesty, lying and slander.

Yet also obedience, faithfulness, patience, unselfishness, etc. According to dignity.

Yesod of  ו (Illness, suffering, malice, cruelty, pain).

Therein do ענואל and מחיאל bear rule.

• • •

“The number Nine, Yesod, brings back the Energy to the central pillar of the Tree of Life. The previous disorder is now rectified.

But the general idea of the suit has been constantly degener ating. The Swords no longer represent pure intellect so much as the automatic stirring of heartless passions. Consciousness has fallen into a realm unenlightened by reason. This is the world of the unconscious primitive instincts, of the psychopath, of the fanatic.

The celestial ruler is Mars in Gemini, crude rage of hunger operating without restraint; although its form is intellectual, it is the temper of the inquisitor.

The symbol shows nine swords of varying lengths, all striking downwards to a point. They are jagged and rusty. Poison and blood drip from their blades.

There is, however, a way of dealing with this card: the way of passive resistance, resignation, the acceptance of martyrdom.

Nor is an alien formula that of implacable revenge. ”

— Crowley, The Book of Thoth