“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”, goes Newton’s third law of motion. In other words, if you push against something (or someone) you will be pushed back. When it comes to people, I don’t know how “equal” that reaction is. You rarely see someone pick a fight if they think they’re going to lose. Someone is always bigger, faster, younger, smarter, more fit. In fact, I’m not sure I believe in the concept of “fair” fight. Then again, I don’t much hold with the concept of fighting, so what do I know.
Ah, but not all fighting is an easily recognizable physical altercation outside a pub at 1 AM, is it. Even though the young man in the RWS Seven of Wands seems to be fending off a group of attackers, attacking a group of defenders, or both, this energy could just as easily (and more likely) manifest in a battle of wits, words, water balloons or solicitors, to list a few examples. But it would still be aggressive, one opponent against another.
On the other hand, aren’t we meant to stand up for what we believe in? And isn’t one of the inevitable consequences of doing so opening yourself to the possibility of attack? One thing we can be certain of in the social-media savvy 21st century is that if you publicly state something, anything, even it seems to be of little consequence and completely incapable of causing offense, there will be people who have something to say against it. Some people just seem to thrive on conflict and drama.
The Seven of Swords is quite willing to engage in conflict for a cause. It is commendable to be that committed to your beliefs. Fighting for them in a manner that can be seen as aggressive results in people being more defensive than receptive. That might work if your main goal is to impose your will. “Winning” may be more important to you than the collateral damage of encouraging people already opposed to you to become even more entrenched. If you are trying to change hearts and minds, open conflict is probably not the best way to go about it. I think the Strength card might have something to say on this subject.
If you do feel the need to go all Seven of Wands, there are some questions you should ask yourself first. Is the struggle worth it? I don’t just mean are you that committed. Is it worth going through the conflict and dealing with the consequences? How will you be affected if you lose? For that matter, what happens if you win?
Before going into conflict, one of the most important questions you want to ask yourself is “are you right?” Yes, of course you are. Everybody’s right. Don’t believe me? Try finding somebody who thinks they’re wrong. So what does it mean if you’re right and your opponent is right? Most likely, it means that you have two different perceptions of the same thing. Hitting the other person over the head with your seven-foot staff might render someone unconscious, but will probably do little else to change their perception. Maybe there’s another way.