Tarot Musings: Seven of Swords

Deck: Robin Wood Tarot
Card: Seven of Swords

A man shrouded in a gray hooded cloak is climbing over a waist-high stone wall. Only eyes, nose, and mouth are visible from within the hood, wearing a scowl that suggests anger and bitterness. Sticking out from beneath the man’s cloak are four swords, while a line of tents is visible in the background, suggesting an encampment from which the man stole his treasures. His left boot rests on a flat surface of stone that sticks out halfway down the visble side of the wall, aiding the man in his escape.

This sword speaks of ill-begotten gain, both material and intanglible things which we have aquired in less than honorable ways. Like the man on the card, we sneak away feeling that we have gained something, but at the expense of our own integrity. Most often, these occasions occur when we feel that we are due something and have been cheated out of it. After all, the expression on the man’s face makes it clear that he feels that his pilfered blades are rightfully his. Perhaps he too feels that he was beguiled out of them unjustly and sees his thievery merely as the best way to rectify the situation.

However, this card reminds us that even the right result achieved in less than honorable ways robs us of something greater. While the man may be collecting what is rightfully his, his methods of doing so shall permanently mar him as someone who is slippery and less than trustworthy. Indeed, the relatively small size of his stepping stone in the escape — barely big enough to rest his boot upon — suggests a precarious path, and one that can easily result in a sudden downfall. And so it is with the path of going to dubious means to aquire our goals, no matter how noble they may ultimately be.

This card calls us to consider our methods of getting what we want and going where we want to be. It calls on us to be upright in our dealings, even when those we deal with fail to return the favor. After all, the way in which we make the journey for ourselves can have as lasting effect on us our final destination.

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