The Seven of Wands, one of the key elements of the suit of wands in the Rider-Waite tarot deck, is an image representing a defensive struggle. As one of the Minor Arcana, its image can be interpreted in a wide variety of manners, and the meaning of the Seven of Wands may vary depending on its position in a tarot spread or the context of the tarot reading. Its equivalent in playing-card tarot is the Seven of Clubs.
In the Rider-Waite tarot deck, the most popular tarot set in the English-speaking world, the subject of the Seven of Wands is battling six hidden opponents using a single wand. He is on higher ground than them, on or near the edge of a cliff. Height gives him the advantage in battle, and he looks both stressed and determined.
Given the context of the story told by the other cards in the Suit of Wands, the scene could be interpreted as the subject struggling to defend territory that he has just claimed. Although he stands on strong footing that gives him an advantage over his opponents, his position also puts him in danger as he lingers on the edge of a cliff.
The Seven of Wands’ meaning can be interpreted as a subject who has achieved a desired goal, but whose rewards are at risk of being usurped by an opponent (or many). Although the subject of the reading is standing alone against many obstacles, he can maintain his strength and dignity if he battles carefully to defend what is rightfully his.
The tarot reader should vier the Seven of Wands as a card of defense, not offense. Just as the character in the card will topple from his position of power if he leaps to the level of his opponents, the tarot subject should not stoop to the moral level of his competition. Success can be achieved and maintained through sustained, but possibly exhausting effort.
Although it may seem morbid, the Seven of Wands can actually be viewed as a card of optimism because it indicates that the tarot subject is in a position of power. While his hard work is in jeopardy of being lost to an opponent, he can maintain his victory through willpower and hard work.
When reversed, the Seven of Wands tarot card places the opponents above the character. He is moved to the losing end of the battle, pursued by six formidable rivals. The reversed Seven of Wands indicates that a lack of decisiveness and control have caused the tarot subject to lose a battle or an opportunity. Because he failed to act in a timely and powerful manner, his dreams were lost to opponents.
The Seven of Wands is full of powerful and poignant imagery, all of which play a critical role in signifying advancement in the face of opposition. As a tarot card, the Seven of Wands is representative of the skills required to meet a stressful challenge.
Source: Rider-Waite Tarot Deck
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