“The 9s constitute the last impulse on the four elements before they reach their final manifestation in the 10s. The 9s are ruled by the Moon and by the subconscious – drives and impulses that are rarely fully transparent to us and that may work for us or against us.
With Swords representing the rational, conscious mind, the influence of subconscious impulses does not result in harmony, but in bitter conflict. We repress, project, regress, we punish ourselves or others – in short we display all the typical defense mechanisms of a deeply wounded psyche. If we pull this card the message is difficult, but we cannot side-step or avoid our fear or shame and misery. The only way out is to walk through the heart of terror, to face our demons and to use our rational mind to recognize what is lurking in the shadows. Only then can we vanquish it and move on.
One of the most deeply unsettling situations in the books is Umbridge’s punishment of Harry by making him write with the cursed quill. It is so unsettling, because on some level Harry does truly feel he deserves it – not for the reason Umbridge gives him, but for failures he does feel responsible for, like the death of Cedric Diggory.
This kind of co-dependent sense of guilt locks teacher and student into a truly sick relationship where the punisher derives sadistic satisfaction from the pain of his victim, and the victim complies, because he feels it is the right thing that happens to him.
There are no actual physical swords in this card, but the nine lines Harry has written have cut into his skin like so many sharp knives…”
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