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Tarot's Seven of Wands and the Mismatched Shoe

--By Hyperion Night of Beanblossom's Tea and Tarot

The seven of wands from the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot. What are you fighting for?

In the Rider-Waite-Smith version of the Seven of Wands, a man stands on high ground. He's got a shoe on one foot and a boot (or maybe sock, it's unclear) on the other. It's one of those niggling, minor details that's always made me wonder... what???

And then I came across this Brueghel painting, Flemish Proverbs, or Topsy Turvy World. It's full of references to old Flemish proverbs, but one in particular caught my eye.

Brueghel painting, Topsy Turvey World

In the lower left corner of the painting, a man beats his head against a brick wall (the meaning of this is clear). He's got one shoe off, one shoe on. The missing shoe refers to an old Flemish saying about the importance of balance.

Inset of Brueghel painting, of man with one foot shod, one foot bare

It would seem the shoe problem and its relationship to balance--in old Europe, at least--is an old one. Though her man in the Seven of Wands isn't an exact match for the Brueghel image, I suspect this is what the artist, Pamela Coleman Smith, was referencing. And I wonder if the tension on the man's face in the Seven of Wands is a call-out to the man banging his head against the wall as well? Is banging one's head against the wall an alternate interpretation of this card?

You can read more about my thoughts on Tarot in my new(ish) book, The Mysteries of Tarot!

The Mysteries of Tarot: A Work of the Imagination

How to Read the Cards for Transformation

When Tarot reader Hyperion Night sent his manuscript, The Mysteries of Tarot, to a friend to edit, it was a simple guide to reading Tarot. Hyperion couldn’t anticipate that his editor’s notes would evolve into a murder mystery, or that his friend would go missing. Shockingly, the annotated manuscript eventually made its way back to Hyperion, who forwarded it to the authorities. Now this astonishing Tarot guide is available as a book. The Tarot guidebook features:

· Tarot basics―How to manage different interpretations of cards in a spread, how to read court cards, and a clear and simple method for dealing with reversals.

· Detailed card breakdowns― Keywords, flash non-fiction narratives, and a deep dive into the symbols of each of the 78 cards of the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana.

· Questions to apply to the cards for transforming your life―Insightful questions for each card to help you dig deeper into your Tarot reading practice.

Bonus feature: the guidebook also includes his editor’s comments on the more esoteric and philosophical interpretations of the Tarot, as well as his notes on the baffling mystery that engulfed him.

Gain deep insight from the cards, transform yourself, and solve The Mysteries of Tarot with this work of experimental fiction that’s part Tarot guidebook, part murder mystery. Buy it now!

Book cover: The Mysteries of Tarot

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