7 of Swords: Tarot Card Meaning

By Lauren Williams
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7 of Swords Keywords


  • Deception
  • Strategy
  • Stealth
  • Tactical planning
  • Resourcefulness
  • Manipulation


  • Guilt
  • Dishonesty revealed
  • Broken trust
  • Imposter Syndrome
  • Unnecessary secrecy
  • Repentance

7 of Swords Essential Meanings Snapshot


The upright 7 of Swords symbolizes cunningness, stealth, and a strategic approach. When this card appears, it’s a sign that we’re navigating through life tactically, often preferring to work independently and behind the scenes to avoid direct conflicts. We may be resorting to secrecy or avoiding transparency in our dealings. This can relate to our personal life, work scenarios, or even our inner world such as our thoughts and emotional management.


In its reversed position, the 7 of Swords typically suggests unexpected changes, hidden activities exposed, or tactics that might backfire. It serves as a warning, indiciating that plans or strategies attempted in haste or secrecy may lead to failure or unforeseen consequences. This card in reverse is a call for open engagement and transparency instead of relying on hidden actions and cunning.

7 of Swords Description

The 7 of Swords card typically shows a male figure stealthily moving away from a military camp holding five swords, while two more swords are left planted in the ground behind him.

The man is dressed in brown and blue, and he has a look of smug satisfaction that hints at the accomplishment of a stealthy plan or tactic. His posture suggests careful and deliberate actions with a sense of calm confidence.

A man carries 5 swords, with 2 on the ground as he walks away from a military camp.

It’s either late night or early dawn, which signifies secretive and manipulative actions usually done in darkness or unnoticed by others.

The background consists of clear, yellow, cloudless skies, suggesting that the situation is free of immediate danger, but also hidden from others.

The tents and hills in the distant scene indicates that his actions will have wider implications beyond his immediate circumstance.

The remaining, unheld swords suggest that not all factors are within his control, even though he thinks he got away with his scheme.

Beyond the Surface: Symbolic Meanings

  • Seven Swords: In tarot, seven symbolizes introspection and personal growth. The swords, representing the element of air, signifies intellect, logic, and truth. Thus, the seven swords echo the ongoing battle in our minds, stirring tension between rationality and inner wisdom.
  • Lone Figure: A solitary character sneaking away mirrors themes of deception, strategy, or hidden agendas. He also stands for careful planning and agility needed to navigate life’s challenges.
  • Bright Sky: The card’s background presents a clear and bright sky, symbolizing potential clarity and enlightenment. A reminder that honesty bring a sense of peace and clear direction.
  • Tents: The sleeping tents hint at dormant or unrecognized aspects of self. It suggests our subconscious or aspects we don’t readily show the world.
  • Mountainous Landscape: The distant mountains embody obstacles or challenges to come. It can also suggest the mental or spiritual summits that one is striving to reach.
  • Two and Five Swords: The division of the swords stands for the dichotomy of thoughts and feelings. It encourages us to balance logic and emotion in our decision-making process.

Avoid taking each tarot symbol literally. Instead, interpret these images in the context of your experiences and emotions to discern their true relevance in your life. This personal insight wards off misconceptions, allowing a deeper understanding of the tarot’s wisdom.

Dual Perspectives: Upright & Reversed

Upright 7 of Swords

Presented in its upright position, the 7 of Swords tarot card heralds a time of strategy, scheming and the need for tactful manipulation. It often represents a situation where the seeker is trying to take some action discreetly without attracting too much attention. This card calls for careful planning and the use of clever tactics.

Reversed 7 of Swords

On the flipside, when the 7 of Swords is reversed, it signifies the potential exposure of secret plans or hidden motives. It might indicate that the querent’s tactics are not working as expected or their secret intentions are being revealed. This card warns against deception and dishonesty, suggesting a need for transparency and straightforwardness.

In essence, while the upright 7 of Swords alludes to strategic planning and cunning maneuvers, its reversed counterpart tends to insinuate the unfavorable outcomes of such tactics, highlighting the possibility of exposure and negative repercussions. It serves as a reminder that honesty and moral integrity are always more fruitful in the end. Reviewing both perspectives, it’s important for the seeker to reflect upon the strategies they’re applying in their quest and to consider their potential consequences.

7 of Swords in Life Scenarios

The 7 of Swords tarot card can be interpreted in different ways depending upon the situation it refers to. Whether it’s personal growth, career, relationships, or life decisions; this card offers you insights and cues to understand life scenarios better.

Growth & Self-Discovery

In the journey of self-discovery, the 7 of Swords can indicate that you are entering a phase where you’ll need to strategize and be self-reliant to attain progression. It might suggest a situation where you are contemplating moving ahead solo, distancing from the crowd to establish your individuality. The card points towards hidden potential, often urging you to trust your intuition and explore untrodden paths. It could also imply that you are trying to avoid a conflict or confrontation for inner peace.

Career and Creativity

The appearance of the 7 of Swords in a career-related reading hints at the need for strategic planning, cunning, and steering clear of workplace politics. There may be a need for discretion and careful handling of sensitive documents or confidential information. When seen in relation to creativity, it prompts you to think outside the box. The card advises not to mirror others but to forge a path that reflects your unique abilities and ideas.

Relationships & Bonds

In terms of relationships, the 7 of Swords often indicates a person or situation where there is deception or dishonesty. It asks you to be alert and not to ignore the signs that something might be amiss. The card doesn’t necessarily spell doom for a relationship. Still, it does advise for better communication and transparency for the bond to thrive. If you are single, it advises caution whilst entering a new relationship.

To read more about the 7 of Swords in the context of feelings, read our 7 of Swords as Feelings article.

Choices & Life Decisions

The 7 of Swords in matters of life decisions suggests you carefully consider possible outcomes before making choices. It serves as a reminder that shortcuts and quick fixes may not always be the best solution. Honesty, integrity, and wisdom should be your guiding principles in decision making. It also asks you to be prepared for unexpected changes and adapt to those changes with tact and strategy.

To read more about the 7 of Swords when making decisions, read our 7 of Swords: Yes or No article.

7 of Swords from Past to Present

The evolution of the 7 of Swords tarot card from its inception to the present-day presents a rich tapestry of meaning, context, and interpretation.

Visual Progression

Historically, traditional Tarot decks depicted the card with a devious figure stealing away with five swords, leaving two behind. The scenery was often stark, dominated by open spaces – a symbol of a potential for vast, yet uncertain opportunities. Over time, this image has largely been preserved, but with various tweaks and interpretations from Tarot artists.

Contemporary decks lean into deeper symbolism. Some versions involve not a man, but a fox conniving its thieving plot, a testament to the subterfuge and trickery encapsulated in the card. Colors play an essential role too, especially contrasting shades, to emphasize the duplicity and discrepancy inherent in the 7 of Swords.

Historical Significance

Historically, the 7 of Swords is rooted in the era of the Italian renaissance, where political manipulation and underhanded tactics were rampant among the ruling class. It was viewed as a stark reminder of the dangerous game of power and deceit played by many.

The card’s significance has evolved into modern interpretations often bound to personal contexts, such as strategizing, discretion, and working around obstacles wisely, albeit perhaps unethically. It serves not as an omen of ill intent but more a call for cunning and astute decision-making amid complex scenarios. The 7 of Swords, through its evolution, nudges individuals to reckon with such nuances, blending historical lessons with contemporary contexts.

Synergistic Card Combinations

One of the fascinating aspects of Tarot readings is the way different cards interact when they appear together in a spread. Just like the characters of a story, they affect one another, transforming the overall narrative and changing the meaning of individual cards. With the 7 of Swords, several card combinations create profound synergistic effects, reflecting intriguing aspects of the human experience.

7 of Swords and The Fool

When the 7 of Swords appears alongside The Fool, a very intriguing narrative unfolds. The Fool, all about a spontaneous, naive, and carefree spirit, juxtaposed with the calculated and possibly deceitful energy of the 7 of Swords, suggests a scenario where trusting too much could lead to being taken advantage of. It serves as a cautionary tale to become more discerning and careful with our decisions.

7 of Swords and The Moon

The Moon is all about illusions, hidden truths and the subconscious. When combined with the 7 of Swords, a card which occasionally mirrors deceit, this combination explicitly hints at hidden agendas or truths being concealed. It advises the seeker to trust their intuition over appearances and dig deeper to uncover the full story.

7 of Swords and The Emperor

The Emperor signifies power, authority, discipline and control. Paired with the 7 of Swords, this combination might highlight a situation where someone is breaking rules or using cunning tactics to manipulate those in power. It also serves as a reminder to uphold our principles with strength and resilience, despite the actions of others.

7 of Swords and Three of Cups

The Three of Cups represents community, friendship, and social gatherings. When it appears with the 7 of Swords, it could symbolize a caution against gossip or potential betrayals in a group of friends or colleagues. It’s a warning to maintain our integrity within our social circles.

7 of Swords and The Justice

Justice stands for balance, fairness, truth and law. When seen with the 7 of Swords, there’s a hint of legal issues, possibly illuminated by dishonest actions. This combination reminds seekers that truth always triumphs and justice is inevitable.

7 of Swords and Nine of Wands

The Nine of Wands signifies perseverance and resilience despite adversities. When it teams up with the 7 of Swords, it calls for vigilance. It speaks about guarding ourselves from potential threats, preparing for the unseen, and holding steadfast in our ambitions.

7 of Swords and Five of Pentacles

The Five of Pentacles portrays struggle, lack, and worry about resources. Coupled with the 7 of Swords, it may signify financial manipulation or an underhanded gain. This potent synergy prompts the seeker to be acutely careful of their financial affairs.

Whether guiding us, warning us, or revealing unseen corners of our lives, synergistic card combinations weave a rich tapestry of wisdom and insight. By paying close attention to these enlightening partnerships, we deepen our understanding of Tarot and our path through life.

Introspection & Meditation

Guided by the energies of the 7 of Swords tarot card, introspection and meditation can serve as powerful tools for healing and self-understanding.

Recognizing Hidden Thoughts

Engage with the 7 of Swords energy by focusing on recognizing concealed thoughts and feelings. This often overlooked aspect is particularly highlighted by this card. Use inward-focused mindfulness to gently bring these into the light during meditation, allowing a deeper understanding of oneself and one’s motivations.

Acknowledging Deception

The 7 of Swords also talks about deception – either by others or self-inflicted. In your meditative journey, reflect on instances of duplicity and how they’ve affected you, your decisions, and your relationships.

Dealing with Insecurity

there might exist an underlying insecurity lurking behind the scenes, manifesting as the need for stealthy tactics, as suggested by the 7 of Swords. Explore these domains of insecurity during your meditative introspections.

Finding Strength in Solitude

The solitary figure in the 7 of Swords card can symbolize the strength in solitude. Use your meditation practice to uncover strength within solitude and learn to view it not as loneliness, but a chance of invigorating self-honesty.

Contemplative Decisions

Finally, harness the energy of the 7 of Swords to contemplate on important decisions – meditation can provide you a calm and grounded space to thoughtfully consider your available paths and potential outcomes.

In sum, meditation and introspection around 7 of Swords can help you unravel hidden facets, understand deceptive patterns, address insecurities, find strength in solitude and make balanced decisions.


The 7 of Swords tarot card represents strategy, cunningness, and stealth in an upright position, while it signifies unexpected changes and unfruitful secretive tactics in its reversed state.

Its appearances in various life scenarios – growth, career, relationships, and decisions – suggest the need for strategic planning, transparency, and caution.

The card’s evolution from deceptive power plays to its more contemporary contexts of wise decision-making in complex scenarios displays its intricate symbolism.

What Next?

Explore more insights with our detailed guides:

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Lauren Williams
Lauren merges ancient wisdom with modern insights, offering a fresh perspective on life's mysteries. She's passionate about guiding individuals through the world of astrology, lunar cycles, numerology, and tarot. When she's not charting the stars or reading tarot, she enjoys getting out in nature, hikes and yoga.