The human mind is a powerful thing. It is never more evident than in sleep and dreams, when it paints our hopes and fears in vivid colors. We can do anything and anything can be done to us. Our vulnerability opens us up to view the best and worst possible consequences. We can use our mind to evoke positive imagery to help us achieve goals, or we can use it to allow negative imagery to storm the fortress of our security and inner faith with doubt and self-defeat.
This card, the Nine of Swords, deals with the power our mind has to overwhelm us with doubts and pain. These feelings can be real or imagined, just as our dreams can be real or imagined events in our lives.
Therefore this card is represented by a sleeping woman, lying between reality and dreams. She lies on a bridge, as sleep is often called the bridge between dreams and reality, the bridge between life and death. Above her in the airy clouds are her fears and insecurities, as represented by demons and devils in a wildly agitated night sky. An angel points a sword through her, symbolizing the real possibility that her fears may very well pierce through from her dream world into the real world if she lets them manipulate her, or the sword may cut through the false illusions of her dreams to what is real.
The Nine of Swords warns us not to let our doubts and fears overwhelm us and control our lives. We must put them aside and not dwell on their possibilities, real though they may be. We must remember they are not necessarily future events; however, they are an unfortunate distraction from concrete attempts to overcome problems in our lives. If we pay too much credence to our fears they will control us and become a self-fulfilling prophecy of loss.
The negative of this card would be letting inner fears overcome you and control your life. You have become the warden of your own inner prison.