A solitary figure, his back turned toward us, carries ten wooden wands that he has bundled like a sheaf of wheat. His head is bowed, his shoulders stooped; his burden is obviously heavy. He has a long way to go to reach his house in the distance, and in the meantime, his fields are being neglected.
Thus the first world of Aziluth, the world of supernal emanation and of fire, is extinguished as it is subsumed in the watery world of Briah. When “the fire goes out” in our personal lives, it’s often accompanied by a “let-down” feeling. What was once a joy is now a thankless chore, and what once uplifted our hearts is now a heavy burden upon it. Similarly, when we “burn our candle at both ends,” it can also result in breakdown and collapse. And when we feel ourselves coming “under fire,” it can blinker us to the marvels of the wider world that would normally fill us with wonder and awe. As with the sentry in card Nine, we become prisoners in our own house, haunted by demons of our own making or by attempting to atone for our shortcomings by “taking the weight of the world on our shoulders” when, really, we are free to unburden ourselves at any time. We simply need to change our way of thinking, and take some time to recharge our “spiritual batteries.” A fire extinguished can always be rekindled.
Meanings in a reading can include: Burdens and oppression, hard times ahead, loss of innocence, ambitions thwarted, “by the sweat of your brow you shall eat your bread,” and disappointment in general; but also, unburdening of illusion, the work accomplished, the harvest gathered, opportunity for change, and new beginnings in the offing. Fire has given man warmth and heat, and enabled him to live anywhere on earth. But now the last days lie ahead, when earth shall be destroyed by the same fire that gave him life. Thus we pass from fire’s world and into the world that tempers the steel: The world of Briah, intuition and water.