I ran across an interesting concept that interprets the nines and tens of the Tarot as endings and beginnings. In the classical context, the tens usually symbolize completion, the end, or the summation for that suit. In a slight twist, the nines are seen as the end, the completion of a cycle or path while the tens are seen as a summation of the journey or situation that has been completed.

It is important to remember that “ending” in Tarot doesn’t necessarily mean stopping. The world never stops, time never stops. Instead, it indicates the ending of a particular event, lesson, or theme as a prelude to something else. 

Nines as Endings

I like this method of interpretation because, for me, the nines and tens have always seemed linked. Let’s look at them:

Nine of Wands

Modern Witch Tarot

Ten of Wands

Modern Witch Tarot

Looking at the Nine of Wands, the battle is almost over. The fight is ending for the figure in the image. They have bandaged their wounds and are keeping an eye out, but their work is basically done.

But now they need to gather up their gains and get them home. I’m seeing this as pointing out that the struggle is never truly over, it will continue as you level up, so organize what you’ve gained, put it where you can find it again, because your new knowledge will require what you’ve already learned.

Nine of Cups

Modern Witch Tarot

Ten of Cups

Modern Witch Tarot

I strongly feel and ending with the Nine of Cups. There is a satisfaction in this ending, a kind of smug “I’ve got mine” to this card. The figure has all of their cups in a row.

The Ten then scatters those cups across the sky, sharing the knowledge and benefits of all of that emotional knowledge with the world. Letting go and sharing is how you level up emotionally.

Nine of Swords

Modern Witch Tarot

Ten of Swords

Modern Witch Tarot

The Nine of Swords shows an ending of the nightmare that is pure logic without heart, inspiration, or grounding. You’ve arrived here, now what?

The Ten of Swords reflects that we can’t ignore all of that pain and suffering. Or maybe we can! Either way the sun will rise, it is our choice as to whether we need to repeat this level or move up by embracing the suffering and moving beyond it.

Nine of Pentacles

Modern Witch Tarot

Ten of Pentacles

Modern Witch Tarot

In the Nine of Pentacles the figure is gathering her harvest, the endings of her long labors. She is already looking towards the future, to winter and then the new cycle of growth.

In the Ten we see those hard labors turned into a home, family, and material comforts. We still see a choice, though. The center figure with its back to us might be greeting their family or might be saying goodbye to return to work. Are they going to repeat the cycle of work and material gain? Or move up and comforts beyond the material?


In readings, the differences between the nines and tens are far clearer. I’m finding that the Tens often display the lesson we’ve learned or the knowledge we are taking forward. The nines mostly speak to me as reaching the end. In Tarot, as in life, endings don’t necessarily mean stopping. 

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