Contemplating the 7 of Wands

IMG_4193Some fights just aren’t worth having. As I get older, I appreciate how finite time is and how quickly it passes. I started my course with Tarot School, just as an example, in 2012. I bought it for myself as a present for winning a graduate fellowship at my university. I was in my first year of an MA program in religious studies, on my way to a PhD, by anyone’s account. But that didn’t happen. Life stuff came up, I got deeper into the academic life, and I realized that it wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I finished the MA and left. In the years that followed, I wrote and published my first book, worked as a professional tarot reader, went back to school, got a teaching certificate, started teaching high school, and put more and more energy toward writing. I also went back to school, this time for English, concentrating in creative writing. I’m about to be 35. Most of my friends are married, have children, and are a decade into their careers. Their lives are more conventional, and I’m often left feeling like mine has just been a string of false starts and bad choices. I’ve done plenty I’m proud of, but I always think, “Man, what if I’d known what I wanted from the beginning and had just gone for it? How much more could I have done by now?”

I’m a late boomer, for sure. Always have been. It’s been a big part of my depression, which really took hold of my life in my early twenties as I watched all of my friends graduate (with better grades, tighter relationships, and buttloads of solid plans) and go off to start careers or graduate programs or marriages (i.e. to be better than me, who was off to a part time job at Barnes & Noble…in the café, without even the books to comfort me). Years later, I’m much kinder to myself and I’ve got a better sense of what’s actually important, but it’s these experiences that help me to understand the 7 of Wands.

The 7 of Wands often indicates struggle, an unfair situation (look at that poor bastard…even his shoes are mismatched), the need to persevere in the face of challengers, or the anxiety that comes with being outnumbered, unprepared, and exhausted from trying.

IMG_4194But it’s also about choice. Imagine the 7 of Cups—often taken to indicate the need to make a decision without getting lost in fantasy—except instead of resting gently on a fluffy cloud, someone’s beating that guy with all of those goblets while everything goes flying, making a giant mess. That’s the 7 of Wands. This guy, swinging his wand around on that cliff, is trying to take on all of his battles at once, and he’s about to get his ass kicked. Not because he’s deficient in any way, but because he’s not focusing on what actually matters.

Sometimes, we need to walk away from an opponent. It’s not a coincidence that we can’t even see who’s holding the other six wands; this guy doesn’t even know who he’s fighting. What to focus on? Where to pour your effort? What’s really important? What’s just you wearing yourself out unnecessarily out of stubbornness or pride? He got himself onto this cliff, but he can get off by making a choice. What fight is actually worth his time? Where should we be directing out Will?

I’m only just now learning this lesson, so I empathize. I used to think this card was all about the need to persevere and keep struggling, that victory would be hard won but assured. But the truth is he could just as easily be clubbed to death and find himself at the bottom of that cliff.

So when the 7 of Wands shows up, ask yourself: What is my time and energy worth? If I had to choose where to spend it, what’s my priority? What fight is worth having, and when should I put my ego down (he’s holding a giant dick metaphor, let’s not forget)? Oh, and maybe start keeping a bullet journal or buy a planner.

2 thoughts on “Contemplating the 7 of Wands

  1. Pablo Dotro

    Hi there!
    I can only start by saying I understand you quite a lot. When I graduated from High School, everyone assumed I was going to make it big in college, and get a Ph.D. by the time I was 30. Well… 20s, and 30s have gone by, and education wise, I only have a few half-finished undergrad courses. I’ve been in “7 of Wands” (and 8… and 9 and 10 hehe) quite a few times. I’ve seen my friends graduate, marry and have kids, and be successful. My 20 years working at the Lab have left me in a conventional career dead end, and with a salary that’s half of what I would need if I had to support my family by myself.
    But you know what… there’s plenty of room yet to grow. And plenty of worthy challenges. I am 42 now. I am married to the woman I love. I have a beautiful girl. We are not rich, but we get by. and while I am now in the brink of having to make a lot of hard choices… I, for once, know that I am really good at what I do. That I can still learn new trades. I for the first time in my life I know where I want to be.
    The remedy for the 7 of Wands is a healthy dose of the Hermit, and a quick call to the Magician within. For, you see, you have all that you need in front of you, you just have to choose your path, and start walking. Maybe a little of the Fool also hehe.
    You are a wonderful writer. Your book is awesome. I am sure you are a wonderful teacher. So pick your battles, set a course, and go for the win 😉
    Blessings!
    Pablo

  2. Amy Leonard Creative

    Thanks so much for these words, Thorn. And for sharing so much of yourself. The synchronicity is powerful at my end! I just loaded 8 bin bags of my past self into my car, because I realised some of those old lose threads of daydreams that I’ve been having for decades are making me feel like shit! Ha! And for what it’s worth the main vibe I get from your URL imprint is concentrated knowledge, multi-facets, and authenticity. And none of those things suck.

Say words at me.

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