Off You Go
In the RWS Seven of swords we see someone who is sneaking off with five swords. It should be seven, but he’s in such a rush to get out there he dropped two. Or maybe he’s looking around to see what happened to them and is about to go back and get them. Or maybe he’s not stealing them at all—maybe he’s sneaking them in to some captured rebel alliance in an effort to break them out. Or, looking at it a little less literally, maybe he’s striking out on his own because he’d rather do whatever he’s doing without objections, interference or other points of view, although how he’s going to manage all seven swords at once is beyond me. He can’t even do it in the Pamela Coleman Smith illustration, let alone on the field.
The Seven of Swords is one of those cards that makes it obvious that interpretation is in the eye, mind and intuition of the interpreter. The meaning can go in a variety of directions depending on the context, what you’re picking up from the seeker, and your own internal filter. Yes, we try to be objective and as clear of our own stuff as possible when doing a reading, but admit it—one or two interpretations jumped out at you while others didn’t occur to you. For me it was sneaky dealings of one sort or another with lone wolf following quickly behind in second place, ironically enough.
I will give you some context now. The question was, “What do people need from me today?” We can all make a case for our different interpretations of this single, stand-alone card. And as long as we come by those definitions with a certain degree of honesty and integrity, who is to say whether one is better than the other, more “right” or more “wrong”. We don’t all interpret identically, not just with the cards, but in all things.
Even taking one of the possible interpretations here, that he is stealing the swords, some might assume that he is acting dishonestly and some might not. Your own feelings about that are probably tied to the question “why is he taking the swords?”. The obvious answer is that he’s a thief. Maybe, and maybe those were his swords to begin with and he is taking back what is rightfully his. Or maybe he’s trying to prevent a battle that would end in disaster. Of course he might not be stealing them at all. How do you know? We need more context, insight and intuition?
On a more logical level we’ve probably all read up on various interpretations of this card from sources good, bad and indifferent, so that will come into play. Swords, relate to the intellect, justice, force and fortitude. The number seven is where spirit and matter unite, and perhaps conflict, forcing us to make a choice, take us out of our comfort zone and do something we wouldn’t normally do. We can juggle all those swords in our left brain while deciding on an interpretation, and probably drop a few in the process like the guy in the card.
So what is the answer? Wait a minute, what was the question again? “What do people need from me today?” Hmmm, I seem to have just wandered out on my own and done my own thing without giving you a tangible answer. Yep, you’re on your own. Don’t worry. There’s so much to work with here I’m sure you’ll come up with something. It will be the interpretation you think, feel and trust in, without anyone telling you what it should be. You can collect all the information and second-hand insight you want, but eventually you have to strike out on your own. You alone know what this card means to you, in your life, on this day.
Hey, I just thought of another one—maybe this guy is playing a practical joke on his friends. Maybe he’s practical joking with intent.