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Seven of Swords Meaning – Smith-Waite Centennial

The Sevens are back again today with the Seven of Swords following yesterday's Seven of Cups. Both cards reflect choices, distractions, and plenty of possibilities. But the Seven of Swords leans more on the overwhelm side than the dreamy Seven of Cups.

Today's tarot card asks you if you're juggling too many things at once. It's an invitation to keep your eye on the prize and maybe pare down your commitments. So let's take a closer look!

Seven of Swords Rider-Waite-Smith tarot card pictured on top of the remaining Centennial edition deck, detailed image description in body text

The Seven of Swords card in the Smith-Waite Centennial tarot deck

In our trusty Centennial edition of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck, the Seven of Swords takes the well-known form of a figure with five swords in their arms and two rising up from the ground. The reds and yellows in this card are particularly striking—even in this more muted-colours edition of the classic divination deck!

Everything about the body language in this card emphasizes internal conflict, mixed directions, and overwhelm. And with Swords as a tarot suit representing the rational mind, decision-making, and the Air element, the meaning comes through loud and clear! This card is all about taking on too many ideas or responsibilities, biting off more than you can chew.    

See how the figure's legs are twisted up, while their torso faces one way and their neck strains to look over their shoulder? They already have as much as they can carry, but they're failing to move because their eyes are so fixed on even more. Behind them is a camp with merry-looking tents, perhaps evoking a circus. This background can represent trivial reasons to burn yourself out, and it's a prompt for you to consider your motivations for pushing yourself too hard.

Mentally, are you carrying too much?

You can probably relate to the Seven of Swords' energy if you remember a time when you tried to bring in every last bag of groceries in a single trip—even though it simply couldn't be done! Or maybe you succeeded, at great cost to your fingers. (And if you now have Chance the Rapper's "GRoCERIES" stuck in your head now, you're welcome.) The point is that sometimes we get so determined to do everything all at once that we don't even question what the motivation is or how much time and energy we waste with ill-conceived attempts.

Now think of that grocery situation as a metaphor for what's going on in your life more broadly on a mental level. Are you trying to live up to too many ideals at once? Or are you trying to take on more plans before you've settled what you already need to deal with? 

The Seven of Swords reminds you that sometimes, less is more

Today's tarot card isn't telling you that your plans and ambitions aren't important. But it is asking you if you'd pursue them more effectively by setting some projects or goals aside for a while. Are you holding yourself back by tackling too many things at once? And if you had to prioritize, what would you work on first?

It's worth asking yourself these questions today. You might even find that writing a list helps you get a better picture of what all you're working toward right now. Taking stock of where you're at is the first step to putting a better plan in place.

S.M. signature — Savanna Margaret's initials