The Seven of Swords, in the astrological correspondence system I follow, is linked to the Moon in Aquarius - as well as to the final ten days of Aquarius (9th/10th-18th February this year). We’re still looking at Fixed Air, but now we add some water through Cancer’s rulership of the Moon.
So if this is the sign of the unconventional and the unorthodox, the reformer and revolutionary, how is it affected by the Moon? Well, the Moon is about emotional needs and about the way we react to things automatically, instinctively. So an Aquarian Moon could react unpredictably, perhaps, and with a sense of detachment. Being free to express ideas, especially ones that don’t conform to the ‘norm’, and to be innovative might give this Moon a sense of security.
But how does this fit with the Seven of Swords? This card is often linked to being stealthy – one of my tarot friends, Alison Cross, calls it the ‘Sneaky Pete’ card. Some say it’s about making a sly escape, but I like Juliet Sharman-Burke’s description – “tact rather than aggression”. There’s something about thinking things through and making plans for the future (Aquarius) but taking great care with those plans. Remember the Moon is ruled by Cancer, so there’s likely to be an element of protectiveness involved – possibly to the point of being underhanded. Aquarius brings the detachment, the clarity of vision, so that any protectiveness or nurturing quality to the action is not going be based on emotional needs. We often warn against being too free and open about what we intend to do when we see this card – that’s the Moon’s caution acting on an Aquarian desire to spread knowledge within the community.
The Shadowscapes Tarot shows us that stealthiness by a figure hiding behind a mask, having just managed to steal a sword from the swan that guards them. He thinks he hasn’t been seen but in fact the swan has one eye open and knows exactly what’s going on. Here we can see the Moon in the idea of deception (the Moon card in the tarot is about illusion and deception, among other things). A life lived in stealth and in deception suggests a lack of faith in the world, and that this is the only way to get what you need. Which brings us to negative thoughts...
The Wildwood Tarot’s Seven of Arrows shows us a woman defending herself against arrows that aren’t actually hitting her. ‘Insecurity’ is the keyword given to this card by its creators; “ungrounded fears and confusion lead to instability and panic; self-torture through guilt or delusion...” says the LWB. This seems more inward-focused than more ‘traditional’ meanings for the Seven of Swords – less of the ‘doing things by stealth’, ‘keeping things hidden from others’ sort of thing.
In the Thoth Tarot, the word that Crowley chose for the card is ‘futility’ – a daunting card to be faced with, I often feel. As with many of the cards in this deck, I feel it’s coming from the other direction – but yet still brings us to the same point (sorry – no pun intended!). The six smaller swords each bear a glyph on their hilts, representing six of the planets. Each of those smaller swords is meant to represent thoughts which stand in our way – negative thoughts. For instance, Mars could symbolize feeling too tired, or that there’s not enough time – while Neptune could reflect a sense of not really knowing what you want, that it’s all an illusion. Meanwhile, the Sun and Moon – the conscious and unconscious – are at opposite ends of the seventh and largest sword; the Sun glyph on its hilt, pointing towards the Moon at the top of the card. The message? Not to let a sense of it all being ‘futile’ stand in your way – by doing so, you’re actually trying to escape taking responsibility for your actions – hence the stealthy appearance of the guy in the more traditional images!
Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn
Sharman-Caselli Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by US Games Systems, Inc.
Wildwood Tarot created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections