Nine of Vessels

Element: AETHER

Upright: Accept who you are, Reconciliation
Reversed: Envy, Feeling Drained


The main figure in this card is a three-headed creature that resembles a chimera.

In Western tradition, the chimera is usually described as a symbol of nightmarish nature. For the Chinese, however, the chimera, aka “Qilin”, appears as a benevolent symbol of serenity and prosperity. This mysterious hybrid marks an important point of self-understanding, despite its strange appearance. 

At first sight, the group of heads do not look in total conformity just yet.

This original rivalry of our opposite sides is quite common during our lives and requires a constant effort by weighing and balancing each part of it. In this image, these antagonistic parts are struggling hard, with each one of them pulling the body to a different side.

We can see that one of the heads is completely white, while the other is black, marking the contrast between them. The white rooster or eagle represents the Sun and the light as the masculine; active principle. The black dragon, on the other hand, stands for the darkness and the Moon as aspects of the feminine; receptive principle.

To bring these two wayward heads closer, a red tinted lion enters the stage. This creature, having the colour of the last phase of the alchemical work, represents the secret fire from our soul, the inspirational energy.

This third head assumes the firmness of an essential mediator. It appeals to a peaceful ground between the parts. Like a team leader, it encourages the two other heads to work together in the same direction by creating a dynamic development. Akin to the Yin-Yang, one cannot live without the other and both have influence on the opposite side. No work can be accomplished unless both are united.

The red head appears to dominate the group, implying an efficient progression that started on the fighting birds. They are already merged in a single body, but the work towards the ultimate equilibrium is a continuous effort.

Much like a dragon, the chimerical group developed mammal limbs to walk on the earth, as well as wings to fly in the skies. These aspects indicate that a sense of balance is being created and that the working process is in the right direction.

Unlike the previous card, there are no boundaries here and the atmosphere seems to be more pleasant than before. The trees, the river and the rocks seem to be harmoniously integrated, suggesting that the environment is favourable for our personal growth.

Upright Meaning and Interpretation

Accept who you are, Reconciliation. 

Accept who you are.

We all look like strange creatures in this realm. Notice how strong the chimera is, with every head focusing and receiving energy from different sides – exactly like you.
Remember that you need to keep your balance – your light and your darkness.

You finally feel that your opposites are being merged – conscious and unconsciously. The union of both allows your higher self to emerge.

You are no longer repressed by illusions and delusions.

This card, bearing the number 9 (3×3) along with the three heads of the chimera, establishes that you have the power to create the present, perceive the future, and benefit from your past experiences, providing you with the full comprehension of your true nature.

You may not like what you see at first sight, but in this moment, you are what you are, and that is the purest shape of you. Embrace it and let your whole body, soul and mind be in harmony.

Reversed Meaning and Interpretation

Envy, Feeling Drained.

Do not mind too much about what people say.

Envy rules the world. To covet others’ achievements is part of our own nature, many times unconsciously.

Every time you succeed, more eyes are focused on your accomplishment. Not everyone cares about the efforts and challenges you passed through to reach this point.

You must take your courage in both hands: face the world, get rid of this poison, ignore all those jealous and envious people. If you feel drained by the negativity and non-constructive criticism, just walk the other way.
Meditate, connect with your energy, and remember: “Envy is emptiness in action”.