He who holds the ladder is as bad as the thief.
– German Proverb
Is it just me? I sometimes feel like we are constantly getting this card! But when I checked, we actually haven’t seen it since the Spring of 2012. So yes, it’s been a while, but it doesn’t seem like it! Here comes the Seven of Swords again.
It 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, how he got inside, 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, at least for someone. The thief? Or perhaps this is where the thief is finally outed.
What Valuables Are In Peril?
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.
But remember that Swords are not material, physical objects. They represent thoughts, attitude, perception, communication.
So this theft is most likely to do with words, ideas, plans, 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). The two swords left are just enough truth to give this sneak credibility, maybe even an excuse.
Lies, Politics, and the Mercury Switch
Just this week, award-winning journalist Bill Moyers interviewed investigative reporter Chuck Lewis about his book, 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity.
It examines the propaganda machinery we’ve come to accept, and the toll that it is taking on our democracy. They expose the recent history of government officials and media pundits declaring and repeating (and repeating and repeating) untruths to shape public opinion and policy. Today we are living with the bitter results of “10 notable whoppers that affected hundreds, thousands, and in some cases, millions of lives.”
Like in the Seven of Swords, the grain of truth is the killer, if no one will care enough to dig deeper, or consider who is proclaiming it and why.
I also often consider the Swords suit to represent the concept of time. If this is the case, then beware, for as the old proverb reminds us, “Procrastination is the thief of time.” Act on your own behalf!
As Mercury switches gears from retrograde to direct this week, this is the time we are most vulnerable to disruptions and outages in communications, technology, and travel. Go slow, take it easy, keep your eyes open.
Protect Your Sovereignty
If you have suffered from 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?
Like in the Seven of Swords, thieves and con artists often believe they are outsmarting their victims and getting away with it. But such behavior is perilous and is bound to eventually bring karmic payback.
As the deceiver tip-toes away from the scene of his crime, he is 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.”
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.
Keep asking yourself what is being shown to you, and what is kept hidden? Seek the full 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?”