coming to the last leg of a difficult race, the final steps of a long journey, the end of an intense battle - even after persevering, after staying strong, after pushing yourself hard, sometimes finishing something is so much more difficult than starting it.
there are many different depictions of the nine of wands, but the wild unknown's interpretation resembles a staircase, shaped with thick, roughly-cut wands leading up to a shining moon. the branches get narrower and thornier the higher up the stairs climb, though the gentle colors and bright crescent give a sense that the struggle to reach the top will be richly rewarded.
nines are right at the tail end of the journey - we haven't quite reached the completion (or burnout) of ten, but can see the finish line in the distance. it's all about that final push, gathering the strength and stamina to reach your goal. it's important to keep a small reserve of energy, to protect ourselves, to stay strong and resilient and not stumble when we're so close to achieving our objectives. the war is almost won, the prize is within our grasp - don't give up now, not when you're so close!
there's also an element of transformation present in this card that i really love. there's something in struggles, in pain, in a long, difficult journey that has the power to alter us permanently. the passions and fire that are so present in wands are capable of wild and beautiful things, but can leave lasting impressions that change us irrevocably. that lost job, that broken heart, that big mistake can hurt so deeply, but also continue shaping us into the people that we're meant to be. and in those final steps towards mystery and magic and completion, as we reach down deep for whatever shreds of courage we have left, we can discover truths about ourselves that aren't as visible when things are easy.
after yesterday's bright, positive ace of cups that seemed brimming with love and joy and possibility, today's wands still give me hope. so many pieces of my life have been stagnant for too long, but i will persevere. i will not give up. i will reach the top and be able to look back over the journey, with all of its twists and turns and struggles, and know that it was worth the trouble to finish what i've started.