Well I know what’s right,
I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around.
But I’ll stand my ground
And I won’t back down.
Tom Petty, Full Moon Fever
With so much strife unfolding in our world, it should not be that surprising that we are called on to step up again this week. The Seven of Wands seems a continuation of last week’s message, indicating our comfort zone is long gone, so we must 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 time.
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.
Stand Your Ground
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 vaporizing. 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 attempts at cooperation fail, especially when there is bald-faced dissembling and deceit spewing at us every day.
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? On behalf of who or what will you act, even when you are alone and surrounded by criticism or negativity?
We must learn pragmatic remedies for ourselves when the world pushes around, and threatens to drag us down.
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. Understand, too, those others who also feel attacked, compelled to defend their status quo, or some mythical “greatness” of long ago.
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 yourself. Defend what is necessary.
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. Know what you care about, shine with gutsy determination, and then stand your ground.