Seven of Swords

Key Meanings

Tactics. Strategy. Showing smartness in order to take good care of yourself.

The Seven of Swords—Original RWS TarotThe Seven of Swords—Original RWS Tarot

Meaning of the Seven of Swords

The Seven of Swords is about tactics, strategy, and making an attempt to do something. It’s about being smart in your decisions, and sometimes about being sneaky in order to help yourself in particular situations.

You could be being told to take care of yourself, or that you should be making full use of a situation you face.

Use your wits; use your wisdom.

You may be being advised to use stealth in your dealings with others; perhaps now is not the time to fully reveal your intentions. Sometimes it’s necessary to allow ideas, projects, or other things to grow and become more established before you tell other people. Perhaps you’re involved in a new career choice, and this card may be telling you to protect yourself by keeping it secret for now in order to protect your from unwarranted criticism.

Hold your own counsel.

It can sometimes be a card of betrayal, deception, or theft (also in the reversed position).

The Seven of Swords can sometimes indicate a journey, usually over land. 

As with all cards, it has both positive and negative meanings. Look at the other cards drawn to determine the precise meanings.

The Seven of Swords Reversed

The Seven of Swords reversed can show the opposites of the upright meanings, or it can show a blockage of some sort (relating to the upright meaning). An internalisation of the energy can also be indicated.

Insolence, unreliableness, betrayals, deception, or theft can be indicated.

You might be dealing with an argumentative person.

Someone may be thinking too much in a way that’s unlikely to be of benefit.

Seven of Swords—Animal Totem TarotSeven of Swords—Animal Totem Tarot by Leeza Robertson and Eugene Smith

The Animal Totem Tarot shows the self-protection aspect of the Seven of Swords in a positive form.

Images, Symbols, and More

The Seven of Swords shows a man escaping from a camp with five swords in his arms; two swords are left behind, sticking in the ground. He looks behind as he runs. Behind him is a camp with people who don’t appear to see him escaping.

The esoteric title of the Seven of Swords is the Lord of Unstable Effort, and in this context can be the card of partial success, possibly of giving up too soon.

Astrologically, it relates to the Moon in Aquarius.

Read more tarot card meanings


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