Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.
General Norman Schwarzkopf
Looks like we could be called on to step things up this week. The Seven of Wands suggests we might need to defend that which 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.
The man on the edge has 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, in fact, his enemies are not able to reach him.
Much speculation has been given to the fact that he is wearing two different kinds of boots. Was he simply in a hurry? Is this a reference to the Masonic initiatory rite for a First Degree “Entered Apprentice?” Or is it similar to what we describe as “wearing different hats,” meaning that one has a variety of different roles and responsibilities to perform.
Similarly, 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 agendas, 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 challenges that come into our lives always have the potential to help us clarify what is and is not a real priority. Some of the tiny details, like matching footwear, can be justifiably skipped when we are defending what matters most.
Thus, the winning strategy may not be a strategy at all, but instead the shining courage of our true character. Testing times come to help us develop our inner strength.
This card reminds me of the dramatic events of the last several days in Turkey. In Istanbul, a small group of men and women began a peaceful demonstration against the destruction of a beloved city park. Their resistance was met with violent repression from the government. This has now escalated into deep national unrest and violent confrontation throughout the country.
But despite the entrenched power of the wealthy, the government, and the military, the people must have a voice.
In my own state of North Carolina, resistance is underway to combat the shockingly heavy-handed, hurtful policies our extremely conservative legislature is pushing. To meet these challenges, “Army of Love” protests at the state capital have begun.
These are growing hundreds of citizens who, week after week, are willing to be jailed for civil disobedience, fighting against the undoing of our environmental protections, the gutting of voting access, and the destruction of the support systems we have created for the poor, the ill, the elderly, and working class families.
Sometimes, it is only direct confrontation that will illuminate the true agendas of those who are working against our better good.
Under what circumstances would you step up and lay it all on the line? What do you value, despite the majority opinion? 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 challenged in your loyalties – particularly to yourself?
Know where the high ground is, and 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 what matters to us. We may not have a plan in place — simply the clarity that we must act.
As long as your heart is true, assert your courage and defend what you care about. Your integrity is the only path to any real victory.