The Tarot Nine of Wands: A Feminist Interpretation
I’ve spent what others may consider an idle evening of procrastination, but for me, what a beneficial day is is comparing notes with fellow Tarot readers on several FB Groups—currently discussing the 9 of Wands. There are many interpretations, but I can see the connection between my decks and, what’s essential, a focus on gendered readings.
The traditional Raider-Waite deck (above) shows a weary warrior having a rest before engaging in yet, and it’s battle. So it’s the rest before the subsequent struggle, a battle won, but not the war yet. All very relevant and manly, very heroic.
Wild Unknown Tarot
On the Wild Unknown Tarot, the Wands are logs that are what looks like a ladder… so it’s an ascending path, one step at a time, till you reach an ambiguous victory, maybe even a mirage, represented by the moon. Were all those battles worth the blood, sweat, and tears? Or are your endless wars just a Sisyphean chore? Which took me to the traditionally feminine meaning of chores.
Frau Grand Duchess
And lo and behold! on the Frau Grand Duchess, the 9 wands focus on the endless Householdday’ses, the break you take at the end of a long day’s work, ready to start again in the morning… Just as a demanding, proud 50′s homemaker would expect to keep her home. In the card, the symbology of hasn’t comforts, rat race, and false aspirations hasn’t escaped my studies suggest that we spend as much time doing housework as we did 100 years ago, before vacuum cleaners and washing machines.
The 9 of Wands
Sisyphus’s 9 of Wands represents the eternal, cyclical nature. And what better way to illustrate it than by the housewife’s endless, thankless, mindless chores? Repetition and chores daily inmates in exchange for vacuous validation. Just like Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road, where the protagonist a bored, empty, vacuous suburban couple with everything they need: a job, a house, two beautiful children… the 50′s American dreams, as illustrated on my Frau Grand Duchess Tarot.
Maybe the Nine of Wands also tells us that endless strife builds character and gives your life meaning, as don’t see to the conformism of those who” have it as easy. But I don’t believe that anybody, anywhere, “has it all” easy… the Nine of Wands will appear at some point in your life, couldn’t, as somebody “marked when “looking at my FGD card, she couldn’t help but see “dirty laundry” in need to be dealt with and sorted when she looked at it. No home without its overdue, dirty laundry basket. And there is always another load soon!
Another interpretation is that of alertness. Be right here, right now: the warrior in the traditional Raider-Waite deck is standing upright, tired but vigilant, ready for the inevitable forthcoming battle. Preparing for the next load of laundry, the next chore, task, or job, or staying alive. the protagonists of Revolutionary Road don’t have to make any effort. Like in the Frau Grand Duchess deck, they have all the help of modern life at their fingertips. Sometimes, sorting your laundry, sweeping your dust bunnies, and fighting your own battle are ways to stay grounded in the present.
And lastly: in battles, the alert warrior on the R-W deck is not a metaphor designed for men. Housework is not just an image to explain the card to women only. Everybody has battles to fight; every one of us has dirty laundry to sort.