Maat Tarot Study Group Seven of Swords


Last Quarter Moon in Leo: The Seven of Swords

Illusion is a major theme of this arcana. In the background a burial sheet coils in upon itself and is just about to complete a circle. Its source seems to be the clothing of a man whose torso is mostly nude: A beautifully worked Renaissance sleeve is intact; otherwise, the fine suit of clothing dissolves to feed the sheet. The state of the clothes notwithstanding, the man’s body seems to be young and in a fair state of health.

Assuming that the body does not deceive, we may now turn our attention to the head from whence deception, if it is present, arises. There is, I believe, a single head which sports two faces: a skull looks at us and a young face in profile looks to the left. The third face, also in profile, is a mask.

Three layers: now the fun starts. :D

First layer: the mask. The figure in this arcana is a Renaissance character—at least according to his clothing. The mask fits that culture, too. Of course Renaissance people did not go about literally holding masks. However, they were expected to construct a mask using behavior, speech, and even clothing to conceal what they thought, felt, or intended. There were manuals to tell one how to do this. So, here we have an apparently wealthy young man pretending to be wise and experienced. But he’ll only fool the foolish because his body (literally or metaphorically) will give him away.

A modern reader might interpret the mask differently, however, because most people have some knowledge of psychology these days. With the idea that a person’s self-image is likely to lag behind his/her chronological age, one might conclude that the young face along with the young body is the man’s idea of himself which is “masked” by age. In that case, we’d have an old man fooling himself.

Second layer: face of flesh. This young face is the least visible face of the three, for all it seems to be the one in control of itself and the mask. Problem: it does look like flesh except it’s blue and has a blue nimbus surrounding it. A similar blue nimbus covers the top of the hand manipulating the mask. Now perhaps this young face has reached the sixth level sword (the blue chakra) or perhaps the blue is a ghostly blue and is letting us know that this face is the least “real” of the three faces we see, even though it fits the body best.

The third layer: the skull. So you don’t like masks? You want to see it like it is? Then this is the face for you. It is beyond doubt the ultimate earthly reality. Beyond that metaphysics takes over. Traditionally, however, a skull appearing in the way this one does—atop a well-fed and (perhaps) youthful individual, and facing the viewer—stands for vanity, self deception and a wish to deceive others. The winding shroud being formed from the fine clothing is a visual metaphor for this concept as is the mask.

And speaking of coils. . . ;)

Between the shroud and the figure may be a saving grace. Seven swords are ranked corresponding to chakra levels from anal(red) to supercranial (purple) in more or less prismatic order. Chakras are part of a system of yogic practices in which one attempts by meditation and other contemplative exercises, postures, etc. to awaken ones vital power. This power, which takes the form of a serpent (a.k.a. the kundalini), coiles itself three and a half times around the sacrum but may be induced to rise to higher levels within the body via the spine, primarily. The higher ones kundalini rises, the greater is the spiritual progress. Ultimately one might even reach beyond the body, but the pentultimate chakra corresponds to the head. This chakra is blue, which likely accounts for the blue color of the young face. If so, the person depicted has made considerable spiritual progress despite his worldly posturing.

Which all goes to show that we can be fooled from the right to the left. :laugh:

So how does all this connect with the following:

“’The last quarter moon phase symbolizes the power of an acute awareness of ideals and high standards and the implementation of these standards into daily life. Disappointment can occur if these standards are not met.‘ "

because the connections are there to be made. :)


The burial sheet is of a beautiful color. It is crimson red. It makes me think of the Red Death in the Phantom of the Opera (where Erik the Phantom is dressed up and making quite an impression wherever he goes in the Opera's celebration).

The swords seems to affect the air. There is some kind of smoke that take a tourbillon form. The man seems to have a aura surrounding him. Is he a spirit? It was my first impresion of him.


annik said:
The burial sheet is of a beautiful color. It is crimson red. It makes me think of the Red Death in the Phantom of the Opera (where Erik the Phantom is dressed up and making quite an impression wherever he goes in the Opera's celebration).

You share an impression with the clerics of the time. There were always sermons about how one shouldn't wear rich clothing.

And your reference to the Phantom of the Opera makes a lot of sense. He was another mysterious mask wearer who was glorious in a dark sort of way.

annik said:
The swords seems to affect the air. There is some kind of smoke that take a tourbillon form. The man seems to have a aura surrounding him. Is he a spirit? It was my first impresion of him.

The swords certainly refer to ones spiritual life. If you look at the sword that is second from the top, you can see that it is the same color as the aura around the man's head.

I don't think he is a spirit, exactly, though that color makes him look ghostly--or ghastly. ;) (Of course, you could read the card that way if you wanted to.)

Rather, I think he is a man whose spiritual state is supposed to give us something to think about. Do we really want to spend our time impressing people with our fine clothes? Are we pretending to know more than we really do? Are we hiding real spiritual progress because we think people may make fun of us?

Of course, that skull reminds us that we don't have all the time in the world, either. :laugh:


Maat tarot IDS

Card/Number: 7 of Swords/13

Card image: see attached

First Impression: At first, this card seemed very strange for a 7 of Swords. I typically view this card as stealing from the camp of the enemy. This picture shows a different take on that theme; how we wear a different face/mask depending on the situation/space we are in. More of a manner of self preservation in different areas of life rather than just in a hostile environment. You can also see the three different faces depicted here as the three parts of the soul, or the psyche (Id, Ego, Superego).

Card Description: A man stands in the forefront, bare chested. His bare skull, covered by a black hood, looks out of the card, toward you. A spirit face of a man looks to the right and in his right hand is a mask of an old man's face. Behind and above him are seven horizontal swords, each the color of the corresponding chakra for that level. The background is black, with a white wisp of smoke curling in the upper right portion of the picture.

Masculine/Feminine/Neutral: Masculine

Colors: 7 chakra colors, red, blue, white and black

Senses: you feel a buzzing under your skin, that expands to fill you with the awareness of your spirit-self, attached yet distinct from your physical body. You can hear the buzzing like crackling in your ears. You tast the electricity, the lightening-like crispness in the air.

Symbols: skull, mask, spirit, chakra colors

Story (intuitive): "Hmmm, um, I don't really get it." I mutter to the mother. I hear a snort. OK, definitely not the mother, she really doesn't do that. Ahhh, yes, here comes my consort, a smirk on his face. "Don't even start." I warn the trickster, knowing what he is about to say in retort to my previous comment. "Whaaaat???", he replies, eyes too innocent to be real, followed by a smirk and then laughter. I do love Him, my consort, smartass that he is. We sit together. "Haven't seen you in a while." I mention casually. "That's because you were too busy feeling sorry for yourself." he replies. Smartass- did I mention to mention that? I get the wicked-sexy grin, and he sits down, relaxing and starts explaining the card to me. "OK love, this should really be a no-brainer for you. You have the idea of this card mastered. Think about it, the many faces of you, one for each title you wear- mom, wife, daughter, priestess, shaman, lover, doctor- each one slightly distinct from the other, some more so. That is the true meaning of this card, not thievery per se, but survival in each facet of your life. But....HERE is the key- you see those three faces? They represent the three parts of the soul. As you wear these masks, they always emphasize one portion of the soul, while dampening another. So when your life is unbalanced, and you overwear a mask, you forget that alternate part of your soul and start believing that you ARE the mask. You see people like this, you can feel the imbalance and wrongness of it wafting from their core! No matter how many masks you need to get through life, remember your three souls and align them often. And love- with those you hold dearest to you, please remember to drop all the damn masks while you are with us. You really don't need them, and it is lovely being able to spend time just being you.". I smile at him, then stick my tongue out at him. He laughs joyfully, then kisses my hand. He truly is a wonderful companion, and I have missed him terribly. We sit together, hand in hand, and enjoy each others company- no masks needed.

Astrologic: Week of the last quarter moon in Leo. Planetary ruler: Pluto.

Element: Fire

Keywords: theft, thief/thievery, masks

Meanings: traditionally warns against theft, stealing from the camp of the enemy

Quote: "Wear them when needed, but remember- they are only masks, and not You!"


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Wow I love these posts they are such a gift...I feel like you are bringing new life to these cards! These messages (the stories) have meaning for me. I feel like you are tapping into some timeless place where the cards came from. Thank you