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Dienstag, 3. Januar 2012

The Seven Sword Itch


1st version of this article published April 2010 on my old blog - edited and shortened

Cards by permission of Baba Studio, copyright Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov http://www.baba-store.com

Today I drew the Seven of Swords from my Victorian Romantic Tarot. The card shows a man who is dressed like a soldier walking away from a settlement which can be seen in the background. He is carrying three swords and a wooden chest tucked under his arm. He is looking back over his shoulder as if to check if anyone is following him. The sky looks as if it could be either dusk or dawn, most probably dawn.

There is a sense of doing something forbidden here, the notion of feeling guilty and of not wanting to be detected.
Here are some questions that pop into my head when I look at the card:

1. Why is the man looking over his shoulder?
2. Has he stolen the chest and the swords? If so - why?
3. Who did he take the chest and the swords from?
4. Where is he going?
5. What is he hoping to do with the chest and the swords?
6. What will happen in the village?

1. I think his looking over the shoulder is a clear sign of a guilty conscience. He is aware of the fact that what he is doing is not entirely ethical in one way or another. He travels alone and he travels at the break of dawn, suggesting he does not want to be seen or be asked any questions.

2. His clothes don't look as if he would have to steal to get by. One of the swords he is carrying is in a sheath at his side suggesting it is his own sword. The others are probably not his. If he got attacked, they would not be much use to him. He would have to drop them to draw his own sword. Obviously he has no need for them as he has his own sword. He only has two hands, so he could only wield two swords at best. Why take three? He could be preparing for a battle or is he preventing the villagers from using the swords? We do not know what the chest may contain but I would assume it is something valuable. Perhaps he didn't steal the chest but has been carrying it all along and is trying to protect it.

3. Who then are the villagers? Are they his enemies? Are they friends? Did they offer him shelter for the night and he thanked them by taking French leave? The card does not give us any clues about that but it is a valuable question one might ask in a reading if the card pops up. Is the querent probably running away from someone or something, trying to sneak out of a situation? Could the chest contain a burning issue that they know the should tackle?

4. Where is he headed? From his attire one could assume that he is a soldier and he could be coming from a raid in the enemy's village sneaking weapons and a chest of gold (or provisions) to his camp.

5. That would mean he outwitted the enemy, managed to trick them and gain an advantage for his own troops. So this card can also point to someone cunning or sly who knows all the tricks.

6. What happens when the sleeping village awakens and the villagers notice the chest and the swords are gone. Are they going to follow him? Will they try to take revenge and punish him or will he get away with it?

The card's positive side could clearly be seen in the image of the soldier who manages to sneak into the enemy's village to steal provisions and weapons. It suggests cleverness, wit, cunning and being able to cover one's tracks. However that is always risky business and a bit of a gamble apart from the ethical questions it could raise.

The negative aspects are of course betrayal, stealth and lies, trying to hide something, to escape unnoticed. It does not necessarily mean someone is cheating on you or stealing from you if this card turns up in a reading. It could be that you are trying to avoid unpleasant business or that you are not taking the direct path. It could also mean that you are not honest with yourself. Swords being the suit (that among other things) represents thought and communication there is likely to be some form of miscommunication or lack of communication. Rather than confronting the villagers, our soldier here sneaks out at dawn, he is looking for the easy way out of a situation.
In a reading you could ask: who are you in the card? Are you the sleeping villager - unaware of the covert activity (or turning a blind eye to it)? Or are you the thief stealing away? Or maybe both?

When the Seven of Swords turns up, it raises the question: is there anything that needs to be communicated or tackled that the querent or somebody in their life is avoiding? Why are they trying to "sneak around" an issue? What is their worst case scenario if they let the cat out of the bag?

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