Seven of Swords

Element: AIR

Upright: Betrayal, Trickery, Mental Manipulation
Reversed: Conscience, Truth Revealed / Deeper Lies and Cheating

Symbology, Meaning and Interpretation


Betrayal, Trickery, Mental Manipulation.

We can see the main Seeker fleeing with five swords, probably stolen from the place in the background. The dark night and the moon looking the other way denote a certain sense of secrecy. It also strongly suggests an act of betrayal as we look at the keys on the figure’s belt. Those keys gave him free and full access to the building where the weapons were stored. Running away with them has a great impact on the people he robbed, weakening them, and preventing their defence.

The fox at his feet is often described as a trickster or a liar that makes profit with other’s disgrace. In this case, the fox steals a bird, a symbol of Air and mental faculties. The fox here stands for our ordinary and immediate impulses that dominate our judgement.

The act of running away from something is, by itself, a doubtful and malicious act, suggesting that something is not as good as it should be.

This Seven of Swords has a great influence in our intellectual plan, and it refers to some kind of mental manipulation, such as burglary, fraud or dishonest behaviour.

The man on the card is stealing the weapons of his adversaries during the night, to avoid fighting them. Symbolically, it represents our struggles or dilemmas: we are not actually solving them, on the contrary, we just run away from the problems or make them even more stressful to handle. Therefore, it also indicates that we are fleeing from something we have done in the past that we are not proud of. It implies, too, that someone is doing something on our backs, or we are doing something in secret.

In lighter interpretations, some tarot readers describe the card as a very skilful moment, a mental strategy to reach our objectives. However, in this case, we understand that those abilities are used with darker purposes.


Conscience, Truth Revealed / Deeper Lies and Cheating.

As most of the Minor Arcana cards, this one has different meanings depending on the context.

On the one hand it can mean that you realise you were acting improperly and are confessing and making peace to your “adversaries”. Your conscience is kicking you in and is making you act and live differently, finally facing your problems and working hard to solve them, instead of running away from them.

On the other hand, the Seven in reverse represents someone who ignores the warnings, has dangerous behaviours, and acts cowardly. The negative attributes from the upright position could manifest themselves in its worst way in reverse. You do nothing to change your behaviour, so all the lies and cheating are going deeper, resulting many times in disastrous outcomes.

It may also say that you have been dragged down by people who take advantage of you for their own good. They use their skills to manipulate and play with your mind, but you do not realise that: you are totally wrapped in a dark cloth.