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The other side of the Seven of Wands

January 8, 2017

There are no “good” cards or “bad” cards; they all have a spectrum of meaning.  Here are some thoughts about negative aspects of a card that is typically seen as being positive.

RWS 2.0 Seven of WandsThe Seven of Wands might be considered a “neutral” card since it is not one that is generally seen as either “good” or “bad.” Nevertheless, I have found that it is often seen in a positive light. Perhaps this is because we tend to identify with the guy typically depicted on it—someone who is under siege but valiantly holding his own. When we see him as a proxy for ourselves when we feel beleaguered, we gain an affinity for him and we cheer for him. Consequently, we like to see this card as either encouragement to stand our ground or confirmation that we should do so. Unfortunately, although standing our ground is right sometimes, at other times, it’s not a good idea, and we tend to be the worst possible judges of which is which.

When our ego believes something strongly, it will doggedly cling to that position even (or especially) when confronted with an avalanche of compelling evidence to the contrary. In such situations, we congratulate ourselves on our plucky tenacity, but in truth what’s going on has little to do with defending our beliefs and a great deal to do with defending our egos. So perhaps a message in this card is that standing your ground is only a virtue if you are also open minded. Otherwise, you’re just obstinate. Or, as I pointed out in one pithy meaning for the Seven of Wands:

Before you stand your ground, be sure that it’s the right ground to stand on and that it’s important to be standing on it.

Similarly, this card can indicate the mistake of confusing criticism with harassment. In support of that perspective, I once posted the following quote as a meaning for this card:

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

In short, then, although (as Isabel Kliegman states in her book, Tarot and the Tree of Life), “Outnumbered does not necessarily mean wrong,” be careful not to let defending your position trump seeking the truth.


For a general discussion about the good side of “bad cards” (and vice versa), see an article that I wrote for the 2007 edition of Llewellyn’s Tarot Reader titled “When Good Cards Go Bad”  

You can find more blog posts about the other side of the cards listed here:  

And if you want to further explore this or any other Tarot card, you can find links to a wealth of card meanings here






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