And all that we built
and all that we breathed,
and all that we spilt, or pulled up like weeds
is piled up in back;
and it burns irrevocably.
Joanna Newsom, “Sadie” (The Milk-Eyed Mender, 2004)
Nine yellow sticks lean against each other to form a cone shape. It is the base of a colorful bonfire, with flames of red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.
Like the Nine of Cups, the Nine of Batons shows the destructive aspect of its element. Old ideas are processed and consumed in the bonfire. There is a sense of defeat at this point of no return, with Summer dying into Autumn. “Sadie” laments the loss of things that one assumed would always be there. But, the way of Batons is not to dwell on the loss. The driftwood fire burns in a spectacular display, and afterward lightens the load and clears fertile ground.