The Nine of Pentacles has been showing up a lot in my own personal readings, so I think it best if I write about her (she has a very feminine energy to me, which I will explain). I also think she's a suitable card for around St. Patrick's day, because it is a wish card, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Numerology assigns the qualities of altruism, compassion, and mastery to the Number 9. It is the number that signals a completion, the home stretch. The Nine of Pentacles usually foretells wealth, luxury, and security. I also like to think of it as a karma card--you've laid down the foundation for your wish, and it is coming true.
The white elephant in the garden is no accident. He is a representative of Ganesha, the Hindu remover of obstacles, the god of luck. On his back is an offering in a golden bowl. The woman has made her sacrifices, and Ganesha has noticed. The Nine of Pentacles, like all Pentacle cards, is concerned with practicality, and hard work. A stroke of luck that seems unconnected to any actual work on the questioner's part is probably an unexpected gift for sacrifices the questioner made, or good deeds done, that he or she may not even remember, or thought was too tiny to make any big difference. But small causes may lead to large effects, and nobody knows this better than Ganesha. He rode on the back of a mouse, after all.
Her hawk is her messenger, the bird that connects the earth to the heavens and the gods to the mortals. But this is where the imagery gets tricky--the hawk is tamed. It's hooded and its talons are bound by leather strips. This could symbolize the questioner's self control and focus. This is a good thing--it means the questioner showed up for her own life. It means she buckled down. The golden fence can show that the questioner will (or has) achieved harmony and security in his life. However, the appearance of the hawk, combined with the elaborately designed golden fence, may indicate a self-imposed imprisonment. The Nine of Pentacles may be warning to not value security so much that you stop taking risks (Wood 113). It all depends on your intuition.
Yet, even when I look at this card, I refer to it as a "she." Perhaps because of the association with the nurturing, traditionally feminine Earth, and also the fact that there are nine months to a pregnancy.
Reversed: Reversed, the Nine of Pentacles means that either your dream will be disappointed, or postponed. Perhaps there are more steps that must be taken before it reaches the promise of the card. Or, there should be a change in the way you're going about achieving the dream in this late stage of the game. It could also mean that you have lost enthusiasm for the dream, and need to do some soul-searching to figure out what it is you really want.
Archetypes: Pregnant women
People getting closer and closer to their goal
a romantic partnership or friendship that can bring security and creative fertility to both parties
An artist or writer nearing the end of their projects, OR someone who is now courageous enough to sit down and take the steps necessary for the project to gain momentum.
Wood, Robin. The Robin Wood Tarot: The Book. Livingtree: 2009.
This book is chockfull of information about the symbolism of Robin Wood's art, card by card, by Robin Wood herself. If you are a student of symbolism, this is for you.