Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Tarot Card of the Week: May 3-9, 2010

He who holds the ladder is as bad as the thief.
— German Proverb

It’s interesting that this card last came up at this same time last year. And like last week’s card, we are again challenged with some kind of painful cargo.

The Seven of Swords features a young man sneaking away from a military camp. He carries five swords in the most unlikely way, for it seems that he must inevitably slice his fingers. Behind, he leaves two stuck in the ground. He is smiling, and seems rather pleased with himself. The way that he looks over his shoulder, it appears that he is acting in haste and stealth. Mid-stride, he does not look to see what lies before him.

Here we have another of artist Pamela Colman Smith’s “stage” cards, meaning that there is a double horizontal line going across the width of the card like a theater stage, instead of the uneven ground of a meadow or road. This is a hint that whatever is playing out before us is some kind of act, or that there is more going on than we (the audience) may know.

In the far left background, the soldiers of the camp are encircled around a fire. Who are they? What are they planning and who are they fighting? Although the man in the foreground is clearly tiptoeing away with most of their weapons, we do not know who he is, or why he is stealing from them. Perhaps he is a spy or a deserter. Maybe he is a pacifist trying to prevent bloodshed.

Whether his intentions are noble or not, it appears he is about to get away with the loot. Perhaps that is why, unlike all the other more gloomily colored Swords, the Seven is dominated by yellows. Despite its disturbing premise, the scenario is definitely hopeful and optimistic in some way, for someone.

Theft is something that everyone experiences sooner or later. From the adamant “MINE!” of a four year-old caught red-handed, to pilfering from the office supply closet, to the widespread plagiarism and unlawful use of copyrighted material on the Internet, stealing is increasingly tolerated in our culture.  Nothing is safe, not even our own identity.

And I can’t help but think of how theft by financial institutions and other corporations has become commonplace, despite resulting in massive suffering, foreclosures, bankruptcy, and joblessness, not to mention nearly destroying our economy. In fact, it seems our whole economy depends on a certain tolerance for rip-offs.  Usury, once considered a mortal sin, is now the norm. And where would our consumer society be if we didn’t all turn a blind eye to the abusive, slavery conditions that often pass for Third World manufacturing, so that we are provided with cheap goods?

Like the Seven of Swords, thieves often believe they are outsmarting their victims and getting away with it. But such actions reveal great ignorance, for such behavior is perilous and can bring eventual karmic payback. As they tip-toe away from the scene of their crimes, these crooks are holding dangerous loot with bare fingers. Woe to us if we are complicit in such actions, either by our silence or by “holding the ladder.”

Whether it is on a societal basis, or personally, as in a mugging or burglary, being stolen from is a painful violation of our sovereignty. We need healing right away. And for real recovery, we also need to know that someone, somewhere will seek and stop those who are causing harm. History has long shown that when justice is compromised, or deliberately weakened, and the laws of protection are failing, civilization is in danger of collapse.

If you have suffered from this kind of injustice, what kind of help can you ask for?  Who is violating your boundaries? Such events can compromise and even shatter our sense of safety, and may require intense healing and energetic clearing. Do you need to take some time for this?

This week, pay attention to the actors on your own personal stage. Who, in the events that involve you at this time, has real integrity, and who is play-acting? Is someone attempting to take what they have not fairly earned, or what rightly belongs to someone else?

The Swords suit would suggest that this theft is most likely to do with words, ideas, or visions. It could be someone taking unfair credit for a  project; or unethical methods of gaining status within a group.  Perhaps someone is telling lies (or, more likely, by leaving the two Swords behind, partial lies).  It may even be a deliberate undermining of someone’s authority, power, or energy.

Many dishonest choices are made by people who believe they are superior in some way, and so are exempt from the common rules.  So be sure to candidly examine your own actions and attitudes.  Given some conflicted situation this week, what are your motivations, and to what lengths will you go? Would you bend or break the rules, in order to suit your desires? Do the ends ever justify the means?

Finally, keep asking yourself what is being shown to you, and what is kept hidden?   Seek the real truth in the dramas you are facing. Do not hesitate to confront a thief, or otherwise protect what is valuable to you. And when in doubt, be sure to ask, “Who goes there?” and “Why?”

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  • May 3, 2010, 11:04 am Regina

    Hmmm. This card has been coming up a lot for me lately. And I just can’t figure it out. Over the last month or so, I’ve been very careful to conduct myself with integrity BECAUSE this card has been coming up for me… And yet, it still continues to do so. Maybe there’s something going on with someone else that I just haven’t noticed yet. Guess I need to strengthen the frequency on my radar!

  • May 3, 2010, 6:03 pm Terry

    What flashed for me as I read this week’s card is a reminder “Life happens while you’re making plans”… Perhaps we are like the soldiers planning and organizing, or maybe waiting for someone to lead them or maybe just playing around the campfire. Perhaps we too are caught up in distractions or avoidance to our real task at hand. Unnoticed we let our life’s energy slip away. “Like a thief in the night”. The thief may be us, our higher/trickster self, reminding us to find a balance between planning and doing. The thief may be time running out.
    Thanks Beth for this great reminder!
    -=Terry=-

  • May 3, 2010, 6:40 pm Beth

    Oh, that’s really, really good, Terry! I like that a lot! Other ideas anyone?

  • May 3, 2010, 8:12 pm Regina

    Terry – Thank you! THAT makes sense to me!

  • May 4, 2010, 9:53 am Maria

    That card is so “on the money’ for me right now. I have stood by, feeling helpless, watching my boss take advantage of others and use underhanded means to underpay people – all while maintaining his “good guy” image. Now it’s my turn to be stolen from and treated like garbage under his feet (not that the treatment is anything new, it happens in phases, but the stealing from me part is new). He definitely believes himself to be above the law. This has galvanized me to get my act together about making a change in employment. This card was a confirmation for me.

  • May 4, 2010, 8:07 pm skye

    I think of the oil spill and what is being taken from the Earth in the most unjust way imaginable. There is no integrity in what is happening, and it is the responsibility of us all not the “hold the ladder.” It is time to wake up, face the inconvenient truths (sorry for the pun), and acknowledge that we need a viable, healthy Mother Earth much more than she needs us.

    Integrity means to live what we believe. By turning a blind eye to what is happening, we are essentially holding the ladder. We share collective responsibility for what is happening.

    love & light