|Titania's Star Tarot, 2003|
Again, Hardie gives us a tidbit about 9s in general -- they 'relate to the most optimistic side of Aquarius' and that the number 9 is 'concerned with wishes'. Okay.
'The Nine of Wands shows a friendship that is true, wise, solid and perhaps also profitable. It might be a best friend, but also an indication of someone who is lucky in friendships generally. The key meaning is understanding.'
And that's the entire entry for 9 of Wands. I can't say that this deck and its companion book would be the ideal starter set for a tarot beginner. This interpretation of the 9 of Wands sounds very little like the traditional Golden Dawn interpretations:
Golden Dawn - 'the Lord of Strength' - Okay, I can see how the chain could be a reference to strength
Rider Waite Smith - Strength in opposition; ability to meet an onslaught boldly
Thoth - 'Change is stability'; 'Balance is made difficult by not going fast enough. So also, one cannot draw a straight line if one's hand shakes.' (That's from Crowley's companion book, Book of Thoth)
All traditional interpretations aside, I tend to interpret this card as a wariness based on past experience, and a readiness to meet whatever life throws at you. So my view is closest to RWS. (It usually turns out to be!) Now, that's not very much like 'a friendship that is wise, solid and perhaps also profitable.' To me, Wands are about action, not friendship. I would be more likely to see Cups as referring to friendship. However, Hardie seems to see the number 9 itself as being associated with friendship, because her 9 cards have to do with friends (in fact her companion books says it is 'best friend to the world'):
9 of Wands - True friendship
9 of Swords - Frustration with friends
9 of Coins - Spending money on friends
9 of Cups - NOT about friends, but 'fulfillment of a wish'
So her interpretations are the opposite of how I would see them - only the cups card would default to a possible 'relationship' meaning.
If I were to draw this card, given my conception of the 9 of Wands, I would see the chain as being whatever obstacle, impediment or opposition that is faced or expected, and the configuration of the wands into three triangles look to me like three wedges or battering rams that would come up against it. If the first triangle breaks on the chains, there's a second and third to follow through. The army is in formation, ready for battle, should the need arise.
I don't think I will be coming up against any opposition today, unless it's my daily battle with food choices! I'm off to pick up my new prescription varifocals, so wish me luck that I don't walk into a streetlight pole or fall down any stairs on the way home! :)