The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, from Letter To A Young Activist During Troubled Times
With so much strife unfolding our our world, it should not be that surprising that we could be called on to step up this week. The Seven of Wands suggests we might need to come out of our comfort zone and defend the risky edges of what matters most to us.
With the Wands correlating to the suit of Fire and ruling our will, creativity, ego, and passion, we see a figure who is staunchly defending himself. And the Sevens of the Tarot are ruled by Saturn, so they often present lessons and challenges, as well as creating structure and boundaries.
With an expression of fierce determination, and although he is outnumbered, he stands on the high ground. This would seem to show he has a moral advantage, pointing to his integrity and valor. Despite the dramatic look of this scene, his adversaries are not able to reach him.
Balance In Difficulty
Much speculation has been given to the fact that he is wearing two different kinds of boots. He may not be perfectly attired for the task at hand, but how much do you think he cares at this moment?
Was he simply in a hurry to get dressed? Or is this a reference to the Masonic initiatory rite for a First Degree “Entered Apprentice?”
Perhaps it is a way of depicting what we describe as “wearing different hats,” meaning that one has a variety of different roles and responsibilities to perform.
In addition, he is straddling what appears to be a small stream, not the easiest way to defend himself. If he is divided against himself, standing on the edge, or trying to protect two different causes, it is not going to be an easy battle.
He also appears to be staring beyond the staves below him. What does he see? Perhaps he is discovering that when threatened with overwhelm, it is helpful to gaze beyond the immediate situation, and see the bigger picture.
The difficulties that come into our lives always have the potential to help us clarify what is and is not a real priority. Ready or not, we must react in the face of urgency or danger.
Stepping Up In Testing Times
Sometimes we are pushed to the edge. Testing times show who we are, for better or worse. And unless you have been visiting some other galaxy and have no clue, I think we can all agree:
we are there.
Recent steps forward on matters like climate change, institutionalized racism, affordable health care, and equal rights and fair opportunities for all are fizzling. The issues that have been so dear to us, even seemingly within reach for the past eight or so years, are not only slipping away, but under aggressive dismantling.
But the Seven of Wands is a helpful guide for us. Sometimes, even if we feel out maneuvered and ill-equipped, it is time for direct confrontation.
As we are now seeing, there are times when all attempts at cooperation fail. We must fight for the higher good. Our willingness to defend it with all our power illuminates the truth — both the virtue of what we value, as well as the agendas of those who are undermining it.
Thus, crisis times reveal strength of character, and the lack.
The True Heart of Courage
When someone tosses a racial or sexist joke or slur, what do you do? In the face of injustice or ignorance, how do you respond?
Under what circumstances would you step up and lay it all on the line? What do you value, despite those in power? How do you deal with criticism or negativity from others?
How do you make a firm boundary to protect yourself from overwhelm? In what ways might you be confronted in your loyalties — particularly to yourself?
Know where your high ground is, and please do not abandon fairness or compassion. Be aware of your edges. What do you deeply care about, and what can you let go?
While we all have to pick our battles, times may come when we must respond to a challenge and defend who or what is more important to us than our own neck. We may not have a plan in place — simply the clarity that we must act.
If your heart is true, assert your courage. Defend what is necessary.
Let your soul throw sparks, catching fire at the edges. Success is not guaranteed, but it will never be ours when we cower behind some illusion of safely keeping quiet.
The only safety there can be in testing times is when we are fiercely committed to opposing every threat.