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Seven of Swords

The Lord of Inconstant Effort

Swords, 7

The moon in Aquarius. The card, an updated version of the Rider Waite deck's image shows a departing man who has just looted a shop and stolen some swords.

Why "inconstant effort"? Because both the thief and the shop's owner have been inconstant.

The thief's efforts are inconstant in that he depends on other people having something worth stealing. He produces nothing and unless he organizes a gang, the thief's work will never guarantee a future income for him. Compare this to the dilligent worker types in the suit of pentacles, for example. This is not to say that living by thievery is easy, a certain amount of skill and effort (and nerve) are involved, but the thief works in small "spurts" of effort. Jumping over a wall, breaking a shop window and so on. The effort is by no means constant. And of course, the thief would probably be better off owning the shop rather than grabbing a few crumbs here and there at great risk to himself.

The shopkeeper has also been inconstant in that the shop could obviously have done with some better security. The shop was obviously closed at the time of the theft too. Perhaps the shopkeeper could have put in longer hours and kept an eye out for thieves.

So, looking at the meanings of this card... the card is associated with hopes which come to nothing because insufficient effort has been put into things. The thief hopes to profit from stealing the swords, but he will eventually (and probably quite soon) have to return to thievery. The shopkeeper also had hopes for the sale of the swords but through inconstant effort (vigilance, in this case) his hopes came to nothing. It is interesting, however, to note that some swords are left behind. Will they profit the shopkeeper, or the returning thief? Either one can still pin his hopes on the remaining swords. Of course, this being a sword card, the looting is a looting of ideas. It is intellectual looting. We are talking about people that steal our hopes or lead us astray and steal our choices and our future.


New projects and desires, attempts, experiments, efforts, hopes.


Empty chatter, arguments, bad advice, delays.