Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment. Brené Brown
Looks like we could be called on to step things up this week. It’s been a couple of years since it came visiting, but in this pivotal week of the American and the Canadian celebrations of independence, the Cancer New Moon (that is accompanied by a total solar eclipse), Mercury turning retrograde, and the ingress of Venus into Cancer, the Seven of Wands suggests we might need to choose and protect what matters most to us.
With the Wands correlating to the element of Fire, which rules 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 cliff side has an expression of fierce, wild-eyed determination, and although he appears outnumbered, he stands on the high ground. This would seem to show he has a moral advantage, indicating integrity and grit.
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 borderline, 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.
Saturn, Pluto, and the Eclipse, Oh My!
Speaking of Sevens-ruled Saturn, as my (tropical, not sidereal) astrologically savvy friends will be aware, this cycle is likely to be challenging, thanks to the opposition of Saturn to the Sun and Moon in the eclipse chart.
Conflict always has 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. Difficulties in life are inevitable, but they can help us develop our inner strength.
But with Wands, we must be careful. They are full of zeal, impatience, and potential for transformational change. If their fiery power is not tempered by compassion (Cups), intelligence (Swords), or grounded practicality (Pentacles), tempers may flare and reactionary events can spiral into harmful outcomes that may have otherwise been prevented.
There is certainly a proclivity for such drama as Mars moves into Leo on July 1. Walking that fine line between healthy boundaries and desperate defensiveness can be tricky, as our Wands warrior shows us.
Wendy Guy of Evolving Door Astrology notes:
Being at zero degrees of Fiery Leo, Mars feels a raw urge to express emotion, especially in order to get what he wants. So, your reactions might lean more toward the explosive, aggressive, spontaneous side of the Lunar Child, leaving the Saturnian Adult in you to figure out what to do with all that energy.
When she wrote of the current Saturn/Pluto conjunction, she might as easily have been describing the Seven of Wands:
Saturn is the “tough love” planet, like the mother bird who kicks her fledglings out of the nest, and if we fall, well then we’ll have to figure out how to get it right the next time. She doesn’t do it out of malice but to ensure our survival.
Saturn is currently conjunct Pluto (0°), which gives that Saturn-Nodal-Eclipse energy an even more forceful spin. Saturn and Pluto, which travel together throughout this year and next, are ushering in some very deep-seated changes, both in the collective and individually. We are all grappling with some hard realities. We can’t afford to pamper our passage through these mountains too much or we’ll miss learning the lesson.
Our job is to gain a bare knuckled grasp on what is actually happening in the world around us and in the world within us. We can no longer survive by taking for granted the belief that the archetypal Mother will catch us when we fall. We must learn to fly by developing greater independence and responsibility that replaces our dependency on external protection…
it is crucial that we grow—and grow up—during these volatile times. Saturn and Pluto are here to remind us that it’s time to take the next step…
It’s easy to assume that all we need to do is to take a few more steps in the same direction that we have been going. But with the Jupiter-Neptune square [also] happening this year, we increasingly come to realize that the path we have been on has vanished or become too rocky to navigate.
Similarly in our card, the man bare-knuckle-grasping his staff has clearly come to a threshold. The way forward is not guaranteed, and he alone is responsible for his next steps. Yet if he will remain steadfast, success is possible; Arthur Waite describes this card as “a card of valour…a card of success, for the combatant is on the top and his enemies may be unable to reach him.”
If, indeed, the line of staves below are indicative of genuine enemies.
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: such times are here.
Previous steps forward on matters like climate change, affordable health care, equal rights, and environmental protections are failing. The progress that was seemingly within reach just a few years ago, is not only slipping away, it is being aggressively gutted.
But the Seven of Wands is a helpful guide for us. Sometimes, even if we feel out maneuvered and ill-equipped, it may be time for direct confrontation.
As we are now seeing, there are times when attempts at cooperation fail, especially when, as last week’s card warned, there is blatant dishonesty, cruelty, and corruption smirking in our faces.
We must stand strong 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, or 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 us 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 protective of 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 being “nice,” or safely keeping quiet.
The only safety there can be in troubled times is when we are fiercely committed to acting on behalf of what is right. Know what you care about, shine with gutsy determination, and then hold the high ground.
Only then may freedom ring for all.
Dearest readers —
For the next month or so, I have a number of scheduling conflicts and travel plans that will interfere with my Monday card of the week posts. While I would not dream of skipping them altogether, after today, they will be comparatively abbreviated.
Thank you for your ongoing interest and especially your supportive comments, feedback, emails, and gifts. I am always deeply honored to know you are reading along, and it is my great privilege to be of service to you.
Love and blessings,