The Suit of Swords as “Opportunity” – 7 of Swords

Radiant Rider-Waite-Smith, © U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

It’s hard to tell just what this card is promising. Waite himself says “The design is uncertain in its import, because the significations are widely at variance with each other.” Does it mean a chance to get away with something, like a “thief in the night?” A conflicted attitude, wanting to take that “step in a new direction” signified by all the Sevens, but being drawn back into “unfinished business?” The  swords are being held rather precariously by their blades, suggesting that there is no real commitment to deliver them; this guy would sell his swords (and his services) to the first bidder. Perhaps the man is in the middle of creating a defensive barrier with them and has only managed to plant two so far (those two resemble a neat fence, not a pilfered weapons rack). Or he is pulling them up to open the way for a clandestine assault on the tent city. The tent flaps are all open and the supposed occupants are off in the distance, looking distracted. The man could be a turncoat deserting with the camp’s weaponry, implying “faithlessness.”There is an uneasy feeling of deception about the whole scene,

Tarot writer Elizabeth Hazel says the Sevens indicate a “test” and a “need to clarify;” maybe what is being clarified is the boundary between something established and something that has yet to be discovered. In that case, though, the facing is problematic. The figure is moving to the left, generally indicating a step into the past, while he is looking (or is he, with his eyes closed?) over his shoulder at a future he is still unprepared to face. The implication could be a futile attempt to fend off change by “turning a blind eye” to it and retreating behind a wall of weak excuses.Don’t expect straight answers to any demands for explanation.

One thing I’ve never felt strongly about this card is that it shows a risk of being stolen from. I see a kind of low cunning in it that may ultimately fail in its purpose, but I think it’s something of the querent’s own making and not the influence of an outside agency. One definition I’ve encountered is “a confused and undecided mind.” Aleister Crowley deems it “vacillation, a wish to compromise, a certain toleration, the policy of appeasement” – in short “Futility,” but only partial “intellectual wreckage.” The sign of Aquarius is not a very comfortable or fruitful place for the Moon, which comes across less as huntress and more as prey (Think “deer in the headlights”). To paraphrase Crowley, the “one strong” is overborne by “the many feeble. He strives in vain.” If I were to offer advice for dealing with the energy of this card, it would be “Wait a bit, watch carefully, and see what shakes out before doing anything. There are too many ‘irons in the fire’ right now to confidently devise  a winning strategy.”


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