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It makes sense that the figure of the Nine of Swords is in bed because it is during the night when our sorrows and regrets come to mind most intensely. The quiet darkness eliminates the distractions of the day, leaving us alone with our thoughts. Who hasn't stayed awake at 4 AM full of worries that refuse to go away? The Nine of Swords represents that unhappiness that can strike us at any time.
Unlike the pain of the Three of Swords that seems to come from outside, the Nine of Swords represents the pain that we generate from within. What tortures we are subjected to when our fears and doubts overwhelm us. Concern is probably the most common. Have I done enough? Will everything work out? What am I going to do? Thoughts go round and round, impossible to turn off.
Guilt is another source of pain. When we've done something that we feel is wrong or is hurting us, or we haven't done something we think we should do, the distress can be very real. It's worse when nothing we do relieves bad feelings or makes them go away. Finally, there is only pure distress. Sometimes the pain of life is so total that all we want to do is cry on our hands.
Needless to say, the Nine of Swords isn't the nicest of cards, but it doesn't always indicate great distress. It's often just a sign of some element of unhappiness or problem, a vulnerable point in your life. This card is often a warning from your Inner Guide that the path you are taking may be difficult. If you approach the Nine of Swords in this spirit, as a sign of caution, you can use it constructively. Examine your situation carefully to ensure that you are making the best decisions. Even a small change can make a difference.
The Nine of Swords represents isolation. We need to learn to open up new avenues or channels of communication. We must talk about what retracts us. According to this card, we should go through a confessional to free ourselves from the prison we created for ourselves. What's stopping you from going out?