Magical Forest - 7 of Swords


from lwb: courage and useful actions

This is one of the cards that I think the translation from Japanese
to English has failed. There's no way this card means courage
and useful actions to me. Does it to anyone else?

This card has always meant someone you can't trust. Someone
who is not up to the challenge of being a supporter, someone
who will run away from the situation if they get the chance.
Someone jealous, superficial, not showing their true self. The cat
is sneaking away from the village in the middle of the night.
The buildings look like carnival or circus tents to me.
He's looking back making sure no one saw him leave or take the
swords. Are they part of the show? Did he take something
necessary for completing the task? Interfering with the progress
of something?


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    Swords - 7.jpg
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Magical Forest- Seven of Swords

I think the only way that definition might fit is if the cards around it were positive and then I would say it just means you like to do things your own way. I have only drawn this card once in my daily draws and it turned out to be that someone in my roommates extended family tried to be underhanded and sneaky in dealing with other family members and this is more appropriate meaning to me. I see sneaky, theivery and dishonesty even more so than the five of this suit. I feel a more negative connotation with this card as if someone is trying to get away with something. It can also serve as a warning to pay attention to your life because, there might be an area in it where you are not being honest with yourself.


Seven of swords is a sneaky card. Deceptive. Or so everyone says.

But looking at the details of this card suggests something different. I've been trying to study some numerology lately and I think that the numbers can help with the significance of Cat's swords. The way Cat clutches only five swords and leaves two behind seems significant to me. Seven is a number of wisdom and insight, and we see here again the crescent moon, further pointing toward knowledge and reflection. Fives represent change and instability, rebellion, crisis, and a turning point. Two is a number of harmony and balance. It is as though Cat has decided to remove conflict in order to bring harmony.

Applying this to the idea of swords as communication (or action)...I feel this card suggests that sometimes you have to confront a problem directly before harmony can be restored. Another thought is that perhaps it suggest that one should remove themselves from a negative situation/conversation/etc., or that they are causing the problem. I think that this perspective helps to understand why "courage and useful actions" might make sense. (Sadly, I can't read Chinese so I can't check my LWB for the original translation.)


This cat looks like a thief to me - he is walking away clutching the swords and looking back to see if anyone is following. There are two swords left behind, but very much a contrast to the 5 of swords where they are lying carelessly - in fact there are lots of contrasts between the cards and I would say that the five is about facing up to responsibilities and be let down by others - this card is about avoiding responsibility and being the one to let others down. Perhaps this cat is one of the cloaked figures in the 5, sneaking back to get rewards that others fought for, or perhaps he just prefers to work alone rather than out in public


I have both the original book in Taiwanese and the Lo Scarebo LWB. I wish I could read the Taiwanese book, as there is a LOT more info: Both upright and reversed meanings, as well as 4 spreads for the deck. (Why they didn't just translate this already great book is beyond me!)

I only know Japanese, which borrows and uses a form of Chinese characters along with two phonetic systems. The Chinese characters used in Japanese happen to be somewhat similar to the current version (non-simplified) used in Taiwan. For this reason I can sometimes get a very general sense of what the meaning should be. This time I transliterated most of the text from the Taiwanese book for the upright version of this card into Google translate.... this is absolutely a very far from perfect translation, but here's the gist of the original text:

"Sudden desire and impulse, wish to escape the current situation, a careful adversary, moving or changing jobs, using tricks to succeed, lack of goals with no real progress."

I often wonder where the text came from for Lo Scarebo's LWB, as it is usually just one point taken from the Taiwanese text, or sometimes isn't part of the original text at all. It is in no way a translation of the book originally written by Leo Tang. Sometimes I wonder if maybe Lo Scarebo told him he could choose one quick phrase to sum up each card for their int'l printed version, and they would just translate that phrase. Unfortunately the full greatness of this deck is lost in the process. From what I can grasp from the original book though, it tends to stay pretty close to RWS traditional meanings, so readers are safe to stick in that territory.

As a side note, I do see how the card could be seen in a less negative light with the LWB meaning of "useful action". Besides being seen as a thief, the cat could be seen as a survivor who improvises with the resources available in order to survive. We also don't know who he's taking those swords from.. he could be a hero sneaking into the night to disarm the enemy.

This card fascinates me, because whether the cat is a negative or a positive figure is mostly determined by who you see as being on which team of right/good or wrong/bad, and what context in which you imagine the scenario playing out.