The Seven Returns to the Five

I’ve been doing a lot of intense meditative work with the Minor Arcana of late (which led to my recent post on the Swords and Cups). One of the things I noticed in this work is that in each suit, there’s a connection between the Seven and the Five.

The Fives are all hard, unpleasant, cards. They bring strife and problems. But the Seven of each suit revisits those problems, with a fresh perspective and greater wisdom, so that we can overcome obstacles that previously seemed insurmountable. Consider:


The Five of Pentacles is a card of financial hardship, poverty, and struggle. In the Seven of Pentacles, we revisit the instability we found in the Five; now, we have learned how to invest our resources responsibly, to save and plan for the future, and we are planting seeds that will grow in time so that we can have a buffer in case of future hardship.


In the Five of Swords, we’re locked in a battle that we just can’t win. Facing off against opponents who are better equipped than us, and playing a game where the deck is stacked against us, there is just nothing we can do to come out on top. But by the Seven of Swords, we’ve learned the secret: When the game is rigged, the only way to have a fighting chance is to break the rules and cheat.


In the Five of Cups, we are drowning in sorrows and caught in the past, focused on our regret for the things we’ve lost. The Seven of Cups turns our attention away from the past and instead invites us to consider possibilities for the future: Imagining the way things could be rather than the way they used to be. It invites us to create the world we want to live in, rather than wallowing in despair over a world we’ve lost.


In the Five of Wands, we’re locked in aggression. Not the undercutting aggression of the Swords, but a fierce, open competition, where we revel in the heat of the conflict. The Seven, however, shifts our perspective and our stance; no longer on the offensive, we’re now put in a defensive position, and we have to consider what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the aggression we were doling out in the Five.

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