And as I was writing that last sentence - "it may be something new" - I was shaking my head silently but resolutely.
First of all because there is nothing new under the sun, and our lives tend to travel in spirals, where we see things time and again at different angles, perhaps from an increasingly compassionate and detached perspective.
Second, because the Nine of Wands at the centre of the reading suggests a breakthrough. Or a break out. Or a clean break. None of which can happen without the experience of having been held in something that you've know only too well, and probably for some time.
Let's start with the card on the left, the Eight of Wands. As you can see, we have a chronological pairing with the Eight of Wands, and the Nine of Wands next to it. They come one after the other in the Tarot deck, as they do here, and that suggests the kind of progression is underlined: it is both emphasised in the reading, and there will be a quality about it that suggests that its path is eased. It could even be that there is a default or least-resistance quality to it - like lightning crackling along a wire.
Well, hey! Isn't that what leads to the break-through? Doesn't that mean that following that lightning path will blow the whole thing open?
Maybe it will.
Maybe the breakthrough comes because there is that no-obstacle feel to what's happening. It could feel magical. It could feel fucking electric. Because that's what it is: electricity, libido, creativity, va-va-voom! That's Wands when we hit the realm of the Eight. Activation.
Maybe you have a choice, though.
More choice than you've had before. Maybe the CHOICE is what's important - the fact that you can choose under circumstances that in the past have followed a current either with no alternate path available, or a path you were unable to take because the current was so compelling, so driven by a power that swept you along with it, zipping you past any deviations.
Libido on default setting.
And remember that 'libido' is not just about sex. Not at all. Libido is the creative drive that underpins all things. It is plugged into and fed by the unconscious, by biology, and initiated in a zone that precedes thought, or logic, or what's rational. It is also creative to the point of destruction.
This is where plans and good intentions fall by the wayside. It is where heartbreak is forgotten (or postponed). It's where consequences are put on the back-burner. This also is where breathtaking art is forged. It is where a meeting of minds (among other things) can change lives. It's where the popping-fizz of ingenuity finds the perfect chemical reaction to make the kind of progress that, before, had felt impossible.
One way, or the other, you're looking at the most potent energy available.
Don't forget, though, that you are also looking at a choice.
Only you can know whether that pulsing zip-wire of recognition and intensity is what yields your breakthrough this time. Or whether the breakthrough comes from a different quality that stands alongside this. One that is more grounded, perhaps slower-moving. It may feel downright sluggish by comparison, but, then again, anything is going to feel sluggish by comparison.
This other quality is represented by the Prince of Disks, whose profile mirrors one of the two masculine profiles to the right of the card in the Eight of Wands (one with moustache, one without).
Did you notice the double profile on the right of the Eight? It's easily missed. Our eyes want to brush past it; it takes a moment of pause to stay still enough to see it.
A moment to see the choice.
As a Disks card, the Prince is slower than Wands, and denser, being associated with earth and not fire. As 'air of earth' he represents the intellectual mind as it is applied practically. He is an architect. He is methodical. He may not move as fast as greased-lightning, but he is consistent, and he has a plan. He is committed; he is built to see it through.
Notice the little explosion of light behind the drawing of the amphitheatre on his crown? My eye moves from that, and to the explosion of light that breaks open the stone cell in the centre of the Nine of Wands. With this particular side-by-side comparison, I see a controlled detonation - one that took planning. And then I see the value of 'slow and steady'.
And with that detonation comes what has held you back, or down, or in one kind of prison or another.
It seemed to be all about the electricity, when actually it's about the choice: between what seems so immediate and so beguiling, and what has the ability to endure.
Again, only you can identify the choice in your own life and how and where it's showing up, and only you can make it.
Finally, an after-thought that may in fact be central to the whole matter: the choice may not be limited to two options.
It may be a third choice that holds the greatest power:
You need both the va-va-voom and the planning and commitment.
When the quickening volatility seduces you into surfing the current, it's the Prince of Disks who has the plan to harness it, and to use it before it either fizzles out or takes an entire continent with it.
In other words, what you're looking for is something to break you out of a situation, and which also works for you. It is constructive, yes. Creative, for sure. But it also has longevity.
If you're tempted simply by the fireworks, I leave you with Lili von Shtupp's long-suffering lament in Blazing Saddles:
I've been with thousands of men / again and again. / They promise the moon. / They're always coming and going and going and coming / And always too soon.
Happy New Year!
Astrology Correspondences: Eight of Wands (Mercury in Sagittarius), Nine of Wands (Moon in Sagittarius), Prince of Disks (the airy aspect of earth)