The Nines are a little harder to tie to the Runes. There is no Rune of sleep, though ᛁ (Isa) comes close. There is no rune of mental illness, though ᛏ (Tiwaz) comes close. There is no rune of dreams, though ᛃ and ᛜ (Jera and Inguz) come close.
Nine of Pentacles
The work is done. Now you get to enjoy it. This card is the place where ᛃ (Jera) and ᚠ (Fehu) overlap: You have done the hard work in the last two Pentacles cards and now you have wealth as a reward. At the end of the harvest, you have that which you have sown. It’s okay to take a break for a moment and appreciate all that you’ve accomplished. You put in the work, now you get the reward.
This card has elements of ᛒ (Berkano) as one of the few cards which contains a single woman without a man in the Waite-Smith Tarot. She is in her place of power, where she has the ability to shape the world and create wealth (ᚠ, Fehu) with the sweat of her brow (ᛃ, Jera). She has her hands on her wealth, which is a very Norse concept: the women would hold a man’s wealth and the keys to his household in medieval Nordic cultures. When Thor was dressed as Freya in the Thrymnismal, one of the ways that they made him look feminine was that they gave him Frigga’s keys (presumably the keys to Valhalla).
Nine of Wands
The Nine of Wands shows the warrior ready for Valhalla. He has fought hard, but he is exhausted and probably injured. He shouldn’t be where he is, but he doesn’t know how to change the situation. He fears that going back to safety would make him a coward. He will keep going on, even though it is unhealthy to do so.
If this card or the rune Thurisaz (ᚦ) comes up in a reading when the querent’s romantic partner is in earshot, I will tell the partner to take a hike for a moment. Then I will ask the querent if they feel safe at home. This card and ᚦ (Thurisaz) both sometimes represent a domestic abuse situation. If you suspect that this is the case, direct the querent to seek help. It might even be a good idea to keep domestic abuse hotline literature in your divination bag for situations like this.
A person who has experienced trauma (ᛏ, Tiwaz) will be more vigilant toward others’ emotions, knowing that a slight shift in someone’s face will lead to imminent violence. They are often more defensive of their personal space, whether that is the 6 feet around their body, or the shoebox where they keep their prized possessions. Please be extra respectful of your querent’s needs when this card or ᚦ comes up.
Nine of Swords
The Nine of Swords is another Swords card of utter desolation. Unlike the Three of Swords, however, it is a phantom pain. The Nine of Swords is a card of depression, anxiety, and nightmare, but not of anything wrong outside of yourself. There is no ᚺ (Hagalaz) or ᚾ (Naudhiz) to hurt you.
This card frequently refers to depression or addiction, mental illnesses which keep you up at night. There is no Rune for sleep or mental illness, but I have found that ᛏ (Tiwaz) sometimes refers to trauma. (It’s pretty traumatic having your hand bitten off by a wolf, after all.) This is another card where you may want to keep literature in your divination bag to help the querents: a list of local therapists. (You will need to use a different list if you are at a faire far from home, but I find Psychology Today’s list pretty helpful for this.) If you are worried that the querent is going to self-harm or commit suicide, provide them with the suicide hotline (800-273-8255) or the suicide textline (741741).
In the Pagan Tarot, above, you will notice that ᚹ (Wunjo), the rune of joy, appears in the folds of the sheets behind her… but she can’t face it. The carpet in front of her shows a common representation of the Web of Wyrd, but her eyes are covered because she can’t face her own fate either. She can’t face anything, including herself.
Nine of Cups
This is the card of emotional fulfillment. It is almost the exact opposite of ᚾ (Naudhiz), the rune of hunger and thirst. This card is all about being warm, having a full belly, and sitting contentedly with a roof over your head. Some people associate this with ᚲ (Kenaz), the rune of the warming fire, but the association between Kenaz and stomach pain doesn’t fit as well.
If you see this card, it is easy to become boastful. If you have ever attended a large Sumbel, you have seen that there is a right way and a wrong way to boast. A talented boaster makes everyone feel better. A poor boast makes everyone feel like they are less because they don’t have what the boaster has.