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?”