Seven: Mindful Decisions

Rider-Waite-Smith Borderless

According to Biddy Tarot, the number seven means reflection, assessment, and knowledge. Take a look at these cards and notice if you can see those ideas playing out. The Seven of Pentacles has a man looking like he is reflecting on some work he’s done. The Seven of Cups depicts someone assessing various options before them. And if you remember that swords represent thoughts, the person in the Seven of Swords is perhaps stealing knowledge.

Think back to The Chariot, which is card seven of the Major Arcana. We talked about the idea of monkey mind, which is when your thoughts jump back and forth like a monkey leaping from tree to tree. We can use mindfulness to give the monkey mind a job. Focus on breathing, or what you can sense around you in the current moment. In each scenario above, I think mindfulness can be used to improve the outcomes. 

Seven of Wands: In this card, someone is trying to hold the high ground and fight off others who want to knock them down. It depicts a more serious conflict than the one in the Five of Wands. Have you been in a situation where someone is trying to discredit you, and you’ve felt defensive and had to stick up for yourself? In any situation, remember first to take a moment to ask yourself or your tarot deck questions such as:

  • Why am I feeling defensive?
  • How can I best stand up for myself?
  • Where is this other person coming from?
  • What can I learn from this situation?

Sometimes there is absolutely a need to stand up for yourself or others, in times when you see oppression or injustice. But rather than instantly react to a situation, make sure you are approaching it effectively, and from a place of compassion. For sure, get mad, feel those emotions. And then like The Chariot, channel them well. 

Seven of Cups: So many options. This person is in awe at the treasures contained in the seven cups before them. But some of them might be a bit fantastical and unrealistic. Cups represent emotions, and sometimes when making decisions, we allow strong emotions to cloud our judgement. No decision can be made entirely devoid of emotion, but mindfulness will help you to make better choices. Rather than just grabbing a cup, and perhaps accidentally being bitten by the snake, take the time to evaluate your options. If you have a strong emotional reaction to one particular option, ask why. 

If you pull this card, also consider whether you have too much going on right now. Having too many options can be paralysing. If the person in this card can’t decide, they might walk away with nothing at all.

Seven of Swords: I saw a meme about this card on Reddit that is really fun:

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In this card, someone is sneaking off with more swords than they can possibly use. They’re also carrying them by the blade which seems like maybe they didn’t think this through. This card is all about impulsivity and dishonesty. If you are prone to making decisions on impulse, this card asks you to take a moment to consider the consequences. This character is probably going to hurt their hands on those swords. The suit of swords is logical and rational. If you pull this card, consider where you could use more honest and direct methods of communication in your life. That means being honest with yourself as well as with others. Are you making a decision because it’s the best one, or are you avoiding something?

Seven of Pentacles: The person in this card is looking at the product of their hard work and taking time to reflect. It takes a long time for seeds to grow, and any project or idea that you take on is the same. Take some time to feel accomplished about what you’ve done, figure out if you’re on the right track, and make plans for future growth. 

The suit of pentacles is very grounded, so if you pull this card, it’s a great time to try a grounding exercise. I’ll leave you with a technique called Box Breathing:

  1. Close your eyes, and breathe in while counting to four. Try to focus on your breath.
  2. Hold your breath for the count of four.
  3. Exhale for the count of four. 
  4. Repeat the above steps four times, or until you feel calm and grounded.

Six: Moving On

Sasuraibito Tarot

Previously, we looked at dealing with setbacks. In any journey, there are challenges and successes. With the number six, we will see how your course can change, how sometimes big decisions have to be made.

Six of Wands: This card depicts some kind of a victory. It’s about being recognised by other people for what you did. Maybe your project is starting to reach people, maybe someone bought your art, or praised you at work. If you pull this card, it’s a time to think about your accomplishments, what you’re proud of. Pat yourself on the back. Sometimes people don’t like to celebrate their successes publicly in case they seem like they’re boasting. If you worked hard, you deserve to enjoy yourself. Remember that there are ten cards, so even though this card is a victory, it’s not the end. Keep trying hard!

Six of Cups: This card tends to represent nostalgia, recalling joyful moments from the past. maybe it’s time you think about where you come from, who you can thank for helping you to develop skills and qualities that you’re proud of. Like the Six of Pentacles, which we will talk about below, this card is about giving and receiving. But it represents more an older or more experienced person giving to a younger person. Is there something you can teach to the younger generation? There is a feeling of childishness in the RWS version of this card, and it can be nice to be reminded to be playful sometimes. 

Six of Swords: In the RWS version of this card, two people are on a boat together, leaving somewhere. If you remember that swords represent thoughts, maybe there’s some heavy mental baggage that they’re bringing with them. These people seem like they could be refugees, leaving behind a horrible situation in hopes of finding something better. For everyone, there are times when things are so difficult or toxic, we have to just make a choice to leave that situation well behind. If you pull this card, ask yourself how your current situation is, if there’s anything toxic you could discard, and if not, take a moment to be grateful. Remember that you can’t fully heal if you are still in the midst of the negative situation that is causing you trauma. Take care of yourself, and be safe. 

Six of Pentacles: In a way, this card is the opposite of the one before it. We saw in the Five of Pentacles that the characters were in a state of poverty. The person in the middle of the RWS version of card is able to give money away. They carry a set of scales, implying balance. But is there really balance in this card? There are two people dressed in rags begging, and one rich person. Remember that if you end up in a fortunate position that there are always still people who are struggling. Don’t forget to show humanity to other people when you can. 

What do you think when you pull a Six? Now we are in the second half of the Minor Arcana journey, what has resonated with you most? I’ll remind you that it’s good practice to keep a tarot journal: pull a card a day and see what you intuitively read from that card. Then look up the meaning and think about how you could use that card today. Keeping notes of these readings is a good way to consolidate any insight you get from the cards. 

Five: Dealing With Setbacks

Modern Witch Tarot

So far on this Minor Arcana journey, we have conceived of and set out on a new journey, a new project, maybe a new relationship. So far we have had success, but then the inevitable setback occurs. It’s okay to be disappointed when this happens. 

The Fives are difficult. It’s common to feel a bit disillusioned in your reading when you pull one of these cards. But conflict is a part of life, it’s another step in the journey, and you can work through it. In numerology, the number 5 represents humans. What is more human than messing up? 

Card 5 in the Major Arcana is the Hierophant, and it’s certainly not the most popular card. It can seem a bit stuffy and controlling. It is natural to want to go against that and find your own way. There are many pros to that, but it also means you’re more likely to learn from your own mistakes. 

Five of Wands: In this card, we see people battling each other with sticks. It doesn’t look like a serious fight, no one is hitting anyone else’s body with their stick. It might be a play fight, or maybe it’s a silly argument. This card asks you to pick your battles. It’s easy to get stressed out by bickering with your loved ones, and sometimes it’s best to walk away from a fight that no one will win. 

I try to avoid spending a lot of time on social media because there’s always someone trying to pick a fight and if you get sucked in, you just feel bad for no reason. Of course if it’s about something important, sticking up for yourself is great, but the Five of Wands represents those tussles that are pointless and will only do you harm to engage in. 

Five of Cups: In this card, we see someone whose cups have fallen over and they have lost what is inside. They don’t seem to notice that there are still two upright cups behind them. Remembering that cups represent emotions, we can see that this card is showing us that when something bad happens, it takes a while to remember the good. Feel the loss of the three cups, let that go through you, and then take a breath and appreciate what is left. 

This card reminds me of the stages of grief. The person is in denial of the cups behind them, they might be angry and depressed about the loss in front of them. Eventually they will notice the ones behind them and think ‘well maybe I can salvage this…’ and then acceptance. 

Five of Swords: This card is similar to the Five of Wands but where wands represents passions, swords represent intellect and thoughts. What is the hill you want to die on? Sometimes when we have an argument where we both think we are right, we pick tiny holes in the other person’s logic, and one of us ends up humiliated. No one really wins. The Five of Swords reminds us to avoid being defensive and lashing out. In the image, the person in front won the swords from the other people. But did they really need three swords in the first place? What really did they gain, and those other people lost everything they had. 

If you pull this card, think of a time where you might have been petty to someone else, and consider apologising or reconciling with them. If you are the one who was wronged, try to let it go, as other people’s actions only affect you as much as you let them, after the fact that is. 

Five of Pentacles: This is known as the card of poverty. The kind of hardship that is devastating to go through. The loss of everything, stability, abundance, a sense of identity. We see people out in the cold, walking past what could be a church. Do they see the potential for shelter, or would they feel unaccepted there? There is a sense of being an ‘other’ here. If you are struggling just now, don’t be too proud to accept help. Everyone needs their basic needs met, and you deserve kindness. 

If you are in a position of privilege and you pull this card, consider reaching out to others with compassion and warmth. It makes all the difference in this world where the gap between the haves and the have nots is so vast. 


If you are going through a hard time like these four cards depict, I wish you all the best. Next time we will begin to come out the other side with the cards numbered six. 

 

Four: Breathing Space

Rider-Waite-Smith Borderless

In the Major Arcana, the card numbered 4 is The Emperor. The Emperor represents structure, stability and leadership. It also represents having good boundaries and being able to stick up for yourself. When we look at the Four of Cups and the Four of Pentacles we can see that kind of imagery quite strongly. 

Think about the last time you had too much on your plate and had to say no to somebody or to something. Even if you really wanted to help, or were excited by the project or idea, you just couldn’t manage it. 

You’ll see a lot of people in the business of ‘positivity’ telling you that you should say yes more, that only good things will happen. This is an aspect of something called Toxic Positivity. You might have heard of this term, or you might be thinking ‘wait, what, how can positivity be toxic?’

If you strive to avoid suffering, you will feel worse when inevitable suffering comes your way. You feel like a failure, that you’re not trying hard enough. There are of course ways to reduce pain in the various parts of our lives, but sometimes, you have to just sit with it and let it pass on its own. 

Anyone who has struggling with mental ill health will know that when people tell you to just cheer up, it doesn’t magically cure you. It is a form of erasure and ableism to deny someone their lived experience. That’s why shaming someone for not being able to adhere to ‘positive vibes only’ is counterproductive and harmful. 

Similarly when you take on everything and never say no, you are bound to get burned out. Sometimes it is time to take a break and just do nothing.

Some people really struggle to do nothing, because that’s when the painful thoughts and feelings start coming in. You get restless and want to do something just to take your mind off of everything you’re repressing. It’s hard, but try to sit with those feelings, even if only for a few minutes at a time. Don’t dwell on them and don’t push them away. If it helps, write down what you’re thinking. 

Understand that as you learn to see yourself through these difficult thoughts, they will loom less, and you will be better prepared for dealing with hard times further down the line. 

Let’s have a look at what we can learn from these four cards.

Four of Wands: This card is about appreciating what you have right now. Have you ever heard of a depth year? It’s this idea that you should take a year where you don’t buy anything new for your hobbies, you don’t learn new things, only improve on what you already know. Started to learn guitar a few years ago and lost steam? Pick that up again rather than get the ukulele you’ve been eyeing up in the local music store. Read the pile of books you bought ages ago that you never got around to. 

The people in this image are celebrating. This represents reflecting on everything you’ve achieved so far and feeling great about that, rather than thinking ‘what’s next?’

Four of Cups: The person in this card looks very apathetic. They don’t notice, or don’t feel up to accepting this fourth cup they are being offered. There’s something called Autistic inertia which can be really difficult to deal with. Even doing things you enjoy like your hobbies, or basic everyday things like eating, become a slog and you can’t make yourself get up to do them.

Alternatively, maybe you just don’t want that fourth cup, you don’t need it. Being able to stop before you get in over your head is a really good skill to have. Be aware of your limits, don’t run out of spoons.

Four of Swords: I’ve heard that some people see this character as someone who has died. They almost look like they’re made of stone. To me, that’s how it can feel sometimes when you’re so burned out, you can’t even get out of bed. You’re stiff and can hardly open your eyes. Sometimes you’ve had so much going on lately, you haven’t even processed it all yet. If you pull this card, it might be time to take a mental health day off work, or take some time to just take care of basic things like eating and sleeping until you feel a little more energetic again. 

Four of Pentacles: Traditionally, this card represents a miser. He is protecting his pentacles, his wealth. Maybe he’s being too materialistic, or maybe he just has boundaries and has been giving too much lately. This card can represent self-care. 

Think about the word ‘selfish’. It’s too often misused. According to Oxford Languages, selfish means:

(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

An action is selfish if by doing it, you profit, and don’t care about anyone else. But colloquially, we often call someone selfish for doing something for their own good even when it doesn’t negatively impact anyone else. I don’t think that’s selfish. It’s okay to prioritise yourself sometimes. So long as no one is hurt, you’re allowed to protect yourself. It’s up to you whether you think your motivations are good or not, so if you pull this card, take a moment to think about the difference between being miserly and selfish, and looking after yourself in a healthy way. 

 

Three: Community and Growth

Top left: This Might Hurt, Top right: Sasuraibito, Bottom left: Star Spinner, Bottom right: Modern Witch

When you pull a Three in your tarot reading, it’s really asking you to open up and invite other people into your life. It’s all about community, groups, and about learning to grow and develop your creativity. As John Donne wrote:

No man is an island

Later in that same poem he writes:

any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind

How can you involve yourself in your community, and the wider world, in a way that is positive for yourself and others?  How can you experience personal growth when you’re a bit burned out trying to do it all alone? The stories represented in these four cards show us how these ideas can play out.

Three of Wands: In the Three of Wands we see someone who has been working hard on something at their desk. They take a moment to look out of their window and see boats sailing by. This moment represents a turning point. You’ve done some hard work and now you’re ready to put it into the world. Will it resonate with anyone? Where will this project take you next? You feel accomplishment for what you have done so far, but you are not close to the finishing line yet. It might be time to ask for creative input from other people, or to get inspiration from other sources. Take a break from planning, and do something practical. 

Three of Cups: This card really speaks to the joy of having people in your life with whom you can share affection. The Three of Cups represents celebrating with others, supporting each other, and helping others in your life to achieve what they want. Perhaps you have a friend who has been working on something and you could signal-boost them on social media. if you pull this card, reach out to your friends and loved ones to see how they are doing. Alternatively, if you are having a hard time, now is the time to seek help and support from others. You don’t have to go it alone.

Three of Swords: This is a painful card to look at. Three swords stick like skewers in a heart. In many decks, this can be quite a gory image. The Three of Swords represents heartbreak and grief. It can be a very cathartic card. rather than push those feelings of loss and sorrow away, accept that pain. If you have lost a loved one, focus on the happy times you had with that person, and eventually that sadness will be transformed into a bittersweet love. Again, this card speaks of community. Don’t suffer alone, allow other people to share in your grief. 

Three of Pentacles: I am reminded of card 3 of the Major Arcana, The Empress. There’s this nurturing energy of self-expression, a proud vulnerability. This card represents teamwork, so put yourself out there, advertise all your strengths and talents, and put them to work where they are needed. This card asks you to consider if there are groups you could join to further your career or business opportunities. If you are struggling alone with something, admit that you can’t do everything, and bring in someone else to help. If you can share and delegate work, it will be completed much more efficiently. 

What do you think when you see a Three card?

Two: Yin and Yang

Taijitu

A taijitu, commonly known as the yin and yang symbol portrays two opposing forces held in balance. You can see in the dark half, there is a little light, and in the light part, there is a little dark. It shows how everything is connected, and that differences are only surface deep. This symbol is not only found in China, but was also depicted in Roman and Celtic art. What else does the number two evoke?

The number two implies duality, balance, exchange. It could represent a relationship between two people, or having to make a choice. Looking back at the Major Arcana, the card with the number two is The High Priestess. We talked about how she can represent seeing the difference between how you perceive a situation versus how someone else might see it. On a surface level, the number two does not allow for very much nuance. As you can see from the symbol above, there are no shades of grey with the number two. When we look at the Two of Swords, we see how that can be an issue.

From left to right: Modern Witch, Sasuraibito, This Might Hurt, Star Spinner

Two of Wands: The two wands surround the woman in this card like a doorway or a gate. She looks out as if she is contemplating what to do next. She looks almost bored, fed up of what her life is like just now. The Two of Wands tells us to combine that fiery wands energy with a plan and some solid decision making. In the Rider-Waite-Smith version of the card, the character is holding a globe in his hand. He can do anything, go anywhere, but must ensure he can follow through and not impulsively follow whatever comes along first. 

Two of Cups: This is a sweet and vulnerable card. It can represent beginning a new relationship, or having some kind of deep and emotional exchange with someone else. That could be in the form of therapy, or maybe a close friendship. As the number two represents balance, and cups represents emotion, this card could be reminding you to keep an eye on your feelings. In a new relationship, you don’t always notice red flags, for example. If you struggle with your mental health, take a moment to recall if you’ve been feeling particularly down or especially up recently. Be mindful of how you can create balance in your emotional life.

Two of Swords: In this card, a woman is blindfolded, but this doesn’t seem to be forced upon her. It is like she herself does not want to see what her options are. She doesn’t want to make a decision. Maybe she is only seeing two options, when there could be many more. She may be struggling with black-and-white thinking. The way she holds those swords is like she is defending herself. If someone were to approach her to help, she might lash out. Swords represent thoughts and intellect, so if you draw this card, consider if you might be overthinking a situation. Try to get another perspective before dooming yourself to either picking the bad choice or the less bad choice. 

Two of Pentacles: Pentacles represent mundane and practical matters. This card can represent work-life balance. It reminds us to manage our time appropriately so that we don’t become overwhelmed. How can you balance your priorities so that nothing is neglected? Is that even possible? If not, this card may be asking you to make a choice. What can you give up so that your life is more balanced? You might be able to keep all the plates spinning right now, but how sustainable is that?


What do you think when you see the cards above? Are there aspects of your life that need more balance? It is always worth taking time to re-evaluate your priorities so that you are living life, not just existing.