Tuesday, September 25, 2007

7 of Swords - Conflict Avoidance

As noted previously, this is a chapter in a book about the Tarot aimed at Intermediate students, not beginners or advanced students. It is particularly aimed at writers.

It should eventually be titled: The Biblical Tarot: The Not So Minor Arcana by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, but who knows?
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The meaning of a Tarot Minor Arcana resides in the placement on the Tree of Life (i.e. the number on the card) plus the "World" or Suit of the card. For the Tree of Life and the Jacob's Ladder diagrams see:
http://web.onetel.net.uk/~maggyw/treeladder.html

On the right hand side of the Jacob's Ladder diagram, we are now looking at the circle that is #3 UP from the bottom of the right-hand side.

From the 6 of Swords - Love as a transitive verb - we got here to 7 Swords by making some sort of substantive change in habit patterns, very likely because of the interaction with a loved one. (stopping smoking, change of job to follow spouse's career, trying to be good enough for one you worship from afar, etc)

The image on the Waite Rider deck shows a fellow stealing swords from an encampment of tents, sneaking stealthily away.

Remember the whole business of being alive is the process of channeling pure divine energy down from beyond Existence to Here-And-Now. Every breath, every blink, and every book you undertake to write, every speech you give, everything is composed of all the processes represented by the circles on Jacob's Ladder. Every bit of energy you bring into existence is filtered through ALL these processes. Each circle contains within it all the other circles on Jacob's Ladder. It's the holistic view of the connection between Creation and The Creator.

Understanding that view makes being alive easier.

So, note the difference from the 5 of Swords where the fellow has taken another's swords by force and gloats about it, not knowing he's done wrong.

Here, swords are taken by stealth and there's guilt in the body language.

Something changed in the passage through 6, something having to do with the ability to empathize with others, to know right from wrong, to know that having a right to do something doesn't necessarily mean you must do it, or even that you may!

The 5 on the Tree of Life is associated with Mars, the god of war, yes, but the ruler of Aries, the First House, the source of Identity, of ego strength. It's your umph, your get-up-and-go. It's the power that lets you clean the whole house, singing.

The image for 5 Swords is the king in his chariot going to war. In 5 Swords there is a readiness to fight for what's right. (Politicians are always saying, "I'll FIGHT for Education!" and I'm always replying, "Why fight? Just do it. Go around spoiling for a fight, you'll get one.")

In 6 Swords, "what" is right got modified by the experience of love.

This sequence of processes is the essence of the Romance Novel about a man and woman who meet on a battle field, save each other's lives, and discover (in 6) that to live together they must leave the lives they know as Mercenaries. Here, in 7 Swords, we begin to see the result of that decision.

In 7 Swords we come to some confusion about what is right and what that means in terms of actions -- and thus of relationships.

7 on the Tree of Life is associated with the Astrological symbol Venus which is all about Relationships.

Venus is the ruler of Libra, the 7th House of relationships with others, of marriage, but also ruler of Taurus, the Second House and source of our own values. (Some people choose their values to please their friends; others use their values to select their friends.)

So whatever happened in the transit through 6 - Love - affected values and relationships in some profound way which now becomes apparent.

In the World of Action, Swords, the willingness to fight became a willingness to avoid fighting, to avoid conflicts.

Libras, of all the natal signs of the zodiac, are known as peacemakers.

The Libra child in the family is the picky eater, the one who leaves the table when the other kids get rough, the one who needs to wear certain colors. As Libras grow up, they become managers, politicians, corporate ladder climbers, because they have the knack of being liked and creating teamwork.

Taurus can be about money, but Taurans are born with an appreciation of composition, beauty, and an ability to prioritize because they establish their own value system very efficiently.

Taurus is a very practical sign that sees sensuous beauty as practical. Venus as ruler of Taurus is about your Relationship to what you value and how you determine what you care about.

Venus as ruler of Taurus is about the perception of beauty, in a different way from what we discussed in 6 Swords, but remember 7 contains 6.

You will also find echos of the 2 of Swords in the 7 of Swords.

Note the 2 of Swords on Jacob's Ladder is the 5th circle up on the right-hand side.

All the circles on the right hand side have some essential core meaning in common, as do the ones on the left, and the ones in the middle. Discovering what that similarity is will lead you to the advanced level of study.

We can discover the meaning of the 7 of Swords by combining the attributes we understand about 7-ness with Swords-ness.

Here, in 7 Swords, Peace becomes a transitive verb.

Peace is a concept which is virtually undefined in the zero-sum view of the universe, which is the basis of the Waite Rider Tarot images.

Where influenced by Libra (which is somewhere in your Natal Chart, as is Venus) you might find yourself so sensitive to personal strife when bringing a project through 7-Swords that you will do literally anything to avoid conflict, including abrogating the self, subjugating the self, or attacking clandestinely.

Libra is not inherently that sensitive. That sensitivity happens because of too much internal, subconscious tension on your heartstrings.

Low-strung, Libra is a cardinal sign -- a positive, starter of projects, an instigator and manager with harmonizing heartstrings.

But in our zero-sum culture, we often substitute a habit pattern of conflict avoidance for peace. That's why the Waite Ryder card image highlights that most common experience of the 7 Swords process.

The 7-Swords conflict-avoidance actions are usually intended to take charge of the situation.

Writers note: 7-Swords is the part of the plotting process where most writers make mistakes or find themselves unable to imagine the next action of their main character. When you, as writer, are avoiding a confrontation with conflict inside yourself, your characters will be unable to do anything but wait for rescue.

The conflict-avoider waiting for rescue can become every bully's dream victim, too. Anything to please, anything to appease. The one who accepts all the guilt -- "just don't yell at me."

The cardinal signs are always trying to do something, to start, or control, or get what they want. The cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. These are the pro-active signs (remember everyone has all signs and all planets, just mixed up differently. All signs, planets and attributes, behaviors and tendencies are in us all, and brought to the fore sometime in life by transits.)

The Libra in you needs beauty, harmony, light sound and music, the heart pumping love, lots of people around, plenty of family and associates galore.

When manifesting as the conflict-avoider, the 7-Swords can prompt every sort of trickery and deceit to "get away with" whatever action seems likely to satisfy those needs.

When manifesting with a solid assertiveness, the 7-Swords process leaves love and harmony behind in a spreading wake.

Whether, in the development of your project (writing a book, building a house, courting a life-mate) you experience the process of 7-Swords as sneaky deceit or as an emitter of pure harmony depends to a large extent on whether you see the world as a zero-sum game.

If working in the zero-sum game model of the universe, where in order for there to be a winner, there must be a loser, then the lessons of 6 Swords will lead to conflict-avoiding behavior in the 7 of Swords.

Why? Because the 7-Swords process is Cardinal (like Libra) and driven to GET what is needed, while likewise maintaining peace.

The way to win but avoid conflict is to steal, sneak, sow confusion and snatch, -- to GET what you want, behind others' backs so they won't attack you.

7 Swords pretty much explains every I LOVE LUCY (the TV show) plot: ways of manipulating relationships from a position of weakness (feigned and otherwise).

If, on the other hand, you see the world as abundant, then it's never necessary to take what another person has, leaving them without. There's plenty. You can go get some for yourself from the Source. Everyone can be a winner and there doesn't have to be losers.

In Magick, that's called The Law Of Abundance.

The 7 of Swords is not about things -- it's about actions, methods of getting (i.e. it's about PLOTTING A NOVEL).

Sometimes what you, or your characters, are out to get isn't a thing - it can be prestige, power, control, intimacy, psychological validation.

7 Swords can have a lot to do with flimflamming, with casting illusions and slight of hand to misdirect attention -- so you can grab what you want.

7 Swords is the process of copycat behavior, stealing another person's actions. By copying what another person does, you expect to get what you imagine they have.

It's also where you get "I'm doing this for your own good." and "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

It is keeping up with the Joneses, believing the outward show, the seeming of power over others is all there is, and there is no inward price.

7 has a lot to do with imagination and thus creativity, another Venus function.

Writers of Romance will see how the 7-Swords process in the development of a Relationship can be driven by fear that the new Lover will not tolerate their old, habitual, actions, so to avoid strife they indulge in secret.

In Reverse, 7 Swords points the way out of this passive-aggressive trap built of fear of others' emotions.

Seeing one's own actions through the pain you are causing another changes everything.

Now you see what you've done, you see your failure, and you must make amends.

To do that you will give up a habitual action, return what you've taken, confess, express regret and remorse, turn your heart inside out to make it right with your victim.

You will accept advice, try harder than ever, hold nothing back, cry out to the heavens for help -- and as a result, there's a good chance events will carry you on to a better place.

Remember this is the plot basis of a novel. If your protagonist hadn't imagined the rage of her Significant Other and decided on subtrefuge, she wouldn't have gotten into enough trouble to be able to learn the lesson from the results of her actions.

Every card in the Tarot deck is ultimately good - even when the lesson is harsh.

The 7 Swords (Reversed in the Waite Rider deck) is the path of tshuvah, the path of return to the source of your Soul, the path toward becoming a tzadik. It is actually the key step toward becoming wholly at peace within yourself and in total harmony with your environment.

In a novel, 7-Swords Reversed is where the character "arcs" or changes substantially via an epiphany, a Dark Night Of The Soul, and does their act of contrition or act of faith. And it is followed by a release of the tension that was causing the conflict or its avoidance.

So, in 4 of Swords, you produced a copious flow of words to fill up your novel. In 5 Swords you showed it around and got told to cut and rewrite -- it may have felt like rejection of your heart's greatest creation, but in 6 Swords you left that first draft behind and forged bravely ahead to a new version, suddenly totally in love with the new vision.

In 7 Swords old habits reasserted themselves and you tried to sneak in some of the bits you really loved and just couldn't cut; maybe nobody would notice!

Now you've seen that your 5 Swords critics had a point - those bits just don't belong in this story (maybe in another, but not here), so you've found your main character's inner conflict, taught him a lesson he'll never forget, and brought the conflict to a satisfying release of tension. He's become a wiser soul, as have you, as will your readers.

Now you're ready for a serious encounter with objectivity -- submission to a paying editor.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

http://www.simegen.com/jl/

6 comments:

Kimber An said...

Very cool, Jacqueline.

Cassandra said...

Wow! This is sooo neat! Thank you for posting it. I'll have to print it out and show it to my mum (if I may), as she is 84 and cannot access a computer. She will get a kick out of it, I know. Thanks. ((hugs))

Jacqueline Lichtenberg said...

Cassandra:

You may also want to read my 2008 review columns -- being written in conjunction with this sequence on the Swords.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg
http://www.simegen.com/reviews/rereadablebooks/

SM Kovalinsky said...

THIS IS THE BEST TAROT ANALYSIS I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED. BRAVA!

B.R. said...

This is by far the most articulate and accurate portrayal of the 7 of swords...I would like to know if Jacqueline Lichtenberg has written more about tarot...

Jacqueline Lichtenberg said...

SM Kovalinsky and B.R.

Thank you, and yes there's much more. With the 20 posts here on this blog, I've completed the set on the Minor Arcana.

The first, introductory, volume NEVER CROSS A PALM WITH SILVER is available in print on Amazon.com (search my name). It is aimed at new people pondering whether they want to get involved with Tarot even to the extent of seeking a Reading. But everything in it lays the foundation for a view of Tarot that contradicts almost everything in print.

We are in the process of making PALM available as a PDF download and various e-book formats.

Then we expect to present the set of 4 volumes in the series I've been calling for years THE NOT SO MINOR ARCANA.

I'm currently on the final proofing of WANDS, so there are 3 volumes to go.

The blog posts here will be compiled and re-edited into two separate volumes, also presented as PDF and various e-book formats and possibly on paper, too.

I would like to post your comments on the 7 of Swords on the page where the downloads will be presented in the section where we will also be presenting more compiled blog posts on writing craft.

http://www.simegen.com/marketplace/downloads/

Oh, B.R., could you tell us how you found this old, obscure post?

Jacqueline Lichtenberg
http://www.simegen.com/jl/