The key phrase for the outer meaning of the Nine of Swords is QUARREL RESULTING IN ENMITY.  Studying C.C. Zain is an opportunity to become familiar with vocabulary that has fallen from common usage. The word enmity means hatred, hostility, antagonism, and rancor.  Enmity may be obvious hatred, or it may be concealed.  Other outer meanings for this card could be:


Poverty overcome by wisdom 

Sickness of a loved one 

Discordant working environment 

Fixed mental attitudes bar achievement 

Letting go of old conditions 

The Nine of Swords represents the Taurus decanate of Virgo.  This decanate is symbolized in the heavens by a crown of twelve iron spikes called Corona Borealis.  Because Virgo primarily corresponds to the house of work, people born under this sign are most often happiest when they are in the service of others or working for a noble cause.  The tug and pull of this state of affairs, of course, is that those people who are engaged in such service are often asked to give up many things they would rather be doing.  In other words, sometimes our “noble cause” is just paying the bills!  The key word for the inner astrological meaning of the Nine of Swords is, therefore, RENUNCIATION, which means giving up, refusing, or renouncing.


The sign of Virgo governs work, illness, and servitude – experiences that are almost unavoidable in the human condition.  Zain write in Spiritual Astrology: The fruits of life, whether they be tares or wholesome grain, are harvested from experience.  What that harvest shall be is not determined by the nature of the experiences, but by the mental and emotional reaction toward them…In the final winnowing all except the golden grain of character is blown away as tares ad chaff.


Zain is saying that, no matter what comes our way in this human experience, it is up to us to glean character development from that experience by assuming a positive attitude toward it.  Each zodiacal sign has its own particular type of affliction; therefore, the crown called Corona Borealis has 12 iron spikes and pictures the reward of character triumphing over trials and tribulations.                   


One of the best stories depicting reward from affliction is that of the Biblical Job.  Job was a devout and prosperous man who gave constant praise to God for his many blessings.  He was, unfortunately the object of a bet between God and Satan but ultimately triumphed over all trails and afflictions bestowed to him by the Devil, and rewarded by God for doing so.   The spiritual text for the Nine of Swords, therefore, is:  He who would live the life of the spirit, here and now upon this earth, seen and known of men, must have fortitude (strength of character) in times of adversity. ___C.C. Zain


This is the last card in the series explaining the Minor Arcana of the Brotherhood of Light Egyptian Tarot.  In the coming weeks, look to this blog to explain the Tens, Horsemen, and Court Cards of Egyptian Tarot.


For online classes, books, and more information about The 21 Lessons of the Brotherhood of Light, the Church of Light, or Hermetic studies, please visit our website at











About letstalktarot

Allyn McCray began reading Tarot in 1971 after discovering a deck in an occult shop in San Francisco, California. In 1999, the American Tarot Association recognized her as a Certified Tarot Reader. During her experience as an Internet reader between 2000 and 2002, Allyn’s readings were regularly featured on the websites, Psychicnut and Roadtalk. In 2002, Allyn joined The Church of Light, aka Light.Org, a non-profit international school of esoteric studies, where she is now a Hermetician, Certified Teacher, and Minister. Allyn also serves as the Communications Director of The Church of Light and is a Section Advisor in The Order of the Sphinx.
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