Welcome back to the Swords section of Izzy and Booze Explain the Tarot! Tonight’s episode is brought to you by St. Elder, elderflower liqueur, which was a holiday gift from a friend and is all kinds of good.
Seven of Swords
Holy shit, look at this guy. Seriously, do an image search for “Seven of Swords” or get out a couple decks and have a look at this card, in which some random if smug looking dude is just making off from a castle or a tournament ground carrying five swords like it’s no big deal.
First of all, someone’s GM is clearly not enforcing the weight rules, or really anything else, because swords are both kind of heavy and pretty sharp. Dude seems to be carrying them unsheathed and bare-handed, and not bleeding all over the damn place, and furthermore is carrying them pretty casually, despite not looking in any way muscular. At least he usually leaves two in the ground, I guess? (There is legit one deck where he’s clutching all seven in his hands, behind his back, and I’m like, one, what kind of freakish giant hands do you have, and two, HOLY JESUS TENDONS.)
This guy is either secretly Superman or he’s going to be rethinking his decisions really damn soon.
Most of the time, he looks like he’s sneaking away, so this is clearly not authorized barehanded multi-sword carrying.
That might be part of the point. Sevens are bright luck, and bright luck isn’t the same as good–it looks good, but there’s generally a catch. More specifically, this card is about secret plans, treachery, dishonor, and generally being a sneaky motherfucker. So yeah, the person this card refers to has most of the power and knowledge in a situation, but they got it through underhanded means, and maybe aren’t handling it in the wisest or safest ways, and it definitely could come back to bite them.
And why the hell do you need five swords anyhow? You’ve got, like, a general sword for killing things, and a silver one for werewolves, and an iron one for fae or tanar’ri or whatever the hell side of the Blood War takes hits from cold iron and first of all, at that point, just level up and get a damn Holy Avenger already, and second, you still have two swords for no particular reason I can see.
Also, what criteria are you using to tell the swords you leave in the ground from the swords you pick up and stick under your arms so you can give yourself a really intense shave?
The Seven of Swords: yay, you got knowledge and power! Do you really want…all of that? Will the way you got it come back to bite you? It’s worth thinking about.
The Eight of Swords
These swords make more sense. Not that they’re being used as intended, but they’re at least being used. Namely, they’re sort-of-but-not-really imprisoning a woman: she’s in the center of a horseshoe, and there’s an opening in front of her so she could just walk out, but to be fair, she’s bound and blindfolded and, in one excessively creepy card, her mouth is stitched shut. (The swords are all stabbing her in the heart, too, and you can see the heart, and it’s this whole Virgin-Mary-Clive-Barker thing, and Google Image Search gives me no actual deck for this one, so there’s even odds this is some kind of curse and I’ll die in seven days.) She’s generally near water, under a cloudy sky.
This is a major challenge in knowledge, freedom and power, and the three are pretty clearly linked here. If the woman in the center could see, or had her hands free to feel more cautiously, she could easily walk out. But she can’t.
The specific meaning here is feeling trapped or constrained. Some interpretations say that’s self-imposed, and some say that it means your judgment is clouded, and I think it’s a little of both. Like, she can’t just take the blindfold off, because her arms are bound, so escaping isn’t an easy thing or a simple choice.
But: the swords are point down. Running into them would be a bad idea, and walking into them might still hurt, but “collide slowly and carefully with the things until you find a path out” is totally a non-lethal option, as is “kneel down and use the hilt to nudge the blindfold off,” and probably a couple more things. Hell, she can walk forward and hope for the best.
Getting out of the situation you’re in, if the Eight of Swords is where you are, probably isn’t going to be painless or dignified, and you might have to take a small leap of faith. But you’re not actually as trapped as you think. Life is not old-school Nintendo: running into obstacles won’t kill you. It won’t even take away your raccoon suit most of the time.