In the Seven of Swords, we see a man in a peculiar hat sneaking out of an encampment. He is carrying five swords away, clutching the blades in his bare hands and checking behind him to see if anyone has noticed. The dangerous mission was not a complete success; he could not get to the other two swords, and there’s no telling if he gets away with it.
Presenting the archetype of the sly man, this is a simple stage card without the poignant emotional charge that dominates the suit. Nonetheless, its implications are worth looking into. In this article, we talk about the sneaky Seven of Swords’ symbolism and meaning in a Tarot reading.
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Seven of Swords Symbolism
One thing is certain here: this mischievous fellow is acting very strange. What is his angle, and what is he up to? In contrast to the rest of the Sword cards, the Seven describes a serious situation in a rather comical way. The man in the funny hat has mustered all his strength and cunning for this feat. He is making off with the enemy’s weapons in broad daylight; perhaps a disaster will be averted thanks to him unless, of course, he gets caught red-handed.
So is he a cunning saboteur or a mere thief? All things considered, he doesn’t look very trustworthy. How does he justify his actions? And why did he grab the swords by the pointy ends? Either he does not know that he is completely out of his depth, or he has decided to do what no one else will. It’s a daring act either way, yet there is a fine line between bravery and stupidity.
The number seven signifies an action in the world; here it is divided into five and two. Doubt and the dualistic mindset are left behind, but what has been gained exactly if not more troubles, dangerous ideas, and alarmingly impulsive confidence? Understanding is not the same as knowing…
And what about the card’s connection to the seventh degree of the Major Arcana? While the beautiful Star gives freely to others, this lowly man takes away. As for the triumphant Chariot, this demonstrates the many ways to achieve victory, some of which are highly questionable; acts of courage aren’t always black and white, and sometimes a confrontation should be the last resort.
On the subject of social settings and relationships, we meet again with the Five’s competitive and catastrophic spirit; one’s loss is another man’s gain, and instead of unity there is division and opportunism. This rogue tip-toes around and between the lives of others, making short work of their defenses and salvaging what he can for himself. Despite his confidence and motivation, he will not avoid getting entangled in conflict.
And yet nobody can deal with this fellow; he can cheat everyone blind and then disappear, snatching the words from their mouths, and by the time he has gotten away, it is too late to apprehend him. People will talk and criticize, but any belated reactions won’t do much for the disturbance he has caused nor refute the valid points he has made; that is called “raising a bow after the thief is gone.”
Consider this, however: plenty of people are confounded and deluded already and will probably stay like this, struggling or pretending to understand, so this man could be doing them a favor, even if his ways are controversial.
More than happy to rid people of their attachments and false concepts, he is robbing them of what they do not need, gently deceiving them if we may say so. It is just a game he is fairly good at, reminding others how futile it is to take life so seriously. Many will misunderstand him, but a few will get it; after all, there is honor among thieves.
In its shadow, the card stays true to the ruthless spirit of the Sword. We may talk of strength and courage, but a clever trick can fool a thousand brave soldiers. Still, the Sword favors the strong, not the weak, and the man in the picture does seem a bit like he cannot handle his lot in life; the task is beyond his abilities, but at least he has decided to take action and do something about it.
To top it off this rascal has obviously found himself in quite an embarrassing situation. Sneaking around and deceiving others is what dishonest people do. Having strayed from the path, he now tries in vain to save what he can, as does someone who talks all the time, afraid that if he stops, everyone will know he hasn’t got the slightest idea what he is talking about. That is called, “trying to do the sword dance without knowing how to handle the sword.” In this sense, he is an insecure hypocrite, or deeply ignorant, and will surely lose his footing should someone put him to the test.
Considering the cards that follow, the Seven of Swords is the last straw. The funny man is up to no good; a scheme unfolds; betrayal is afoot. Delighted at his misfortune and thoroughly exposed, will this one see that all the loot he has stolen is worthless and just drop it before he becomes a prisoner of his own thoughts?
What does the Seven of Swords Tarot Card mean?
The Seven of Swords often means that deception and tomfoolery are at play. It describes a person of shady behaviour and dubious motives who tries to take what he lacks from others, out of necessity or at whim. Alternatively, it may refer to a challenging venture that requires audacity and ingenuity.
We cannot stress this enough: the Swords are the most unstable suit, and as the cards progress, the troubles multiply. The Seven of Swords talks about a situation that isn’t considered very serious, though it creates complications in more ways and levels than one can discern.
In this sense, the card offers a final warning: if you are not careful and honest with yourself, falsehood will catch up with you. What do you lack that you have to pilfer from others? And if that is not the case, who are you allowing to take advantage of you despite the obvious red flags? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice…
The card might symbolize a person who should not be trusted; their carefree and perhaps ludicrous attitude is merely a front to conceal motives that are either sinister or so idiotic, selfish, and insensitive that they become extremely inappropriate and even dangerous. It may also identify a stalker, a compulsive liar, a thief, or an unpleasant and impulsive individual who plays dirty tricks on others.
How many times will they get away with it before getting caught in their web of lies? Gain and loss, misunderstandings, and dishonesty couldn’t be farther from the Way.
We can, of course, find other ways to interpret the card. Sometimes it will refer to a very challenging situation that requires walking a tightrope, so to speak; there is no room for doubt and error, and you must think on your feet!
Seven of Swords Keywords
- Getting away with something
- Overly confident
- Cunning scheme
- Daring act
What does the Seven of Swords Reversed mean?
The reversed Seven of Swords has a deeper, more personal meaning. It points at self-deceit, thoughts of incompetence and inadequacy, and mindless actions whose consequences should have been anticipated. At this point, the Swords are done with warnings; the card exposes the embarrassment and futility of false ideas.
In reverse, the Seven of Swords implies a different kind of deceit, that of fooling oneself. At least with confusion, one knows that he doesn’t know; here, the certainty of ignorance becomes dangerous, and the clever mind falls into doubt. The card describes an incident that should have never happened because we should have known better.
It is difficult to unlearn ill-advised thought patterns and spot those errors in judgment that lead to poor decisions. We could say there are two kinds of problems for a seeker of truth: the first one is going to great lengths looking for something you already have; the second is refusing to let it go once you realize that you got it but do not need it.
These deductions might differ from what you would expect in a casual Tarot reading, but a card like the Seven of Swords calls for a thorough look behind the scenes. Personal problems manifest because of social ones and vice versa: when the people are hungry, thieves roam the land; when a crooked man leads, people lose their way…
Seven of Swords Reversed Keywords
- Imposter syndrome
- Neglected advice
- Caught in the act
Is the Seven of Swords Tarot Card a Yes or No?
In most cases, the Seven of Swords means “No” and raises a counter-question: “What are you trying to achieve here?” If you are honest with yourself, the answer might surprise you. However, on rare occasions and when you are sure that you are doing the right thing, the card is a guarded “Yes.”
The Seven of Swords describes a tricky situation and an unreliable person, so its answer to a general Yes or No question would be negative. Refer to clarifying cards on either side to determine the direction of the card’s energy.
On the off chance this is about a risky venture that you, nevertheless, feel very confident about, then go ahead but do so with extreme caution.