|Tarot of the Sidhe, Carding 2010|
|Rider Waite Smith|
Dreamer Seven, 'A Coward Betrays', from Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe, is the equivalent of 7 of Swords, which in RWS shows a man carrying swords which he's apparently stolen, tiptoeing away from some tents. Traditionally, the card is taken to mean some sort of unethical behaviour or nefarious scheming. But it's also sometimes interpreted to mean studying and learning (such as in the Druidcraft Tarot, though he might as easily be plotting or scheming something underhand, I suppose.) Learn Tarot suggests these meanings, as well as:
The Seven of Swords can also indicate a hidden dishonor - a choice you or another has made that does not do justice to the highest. We all make wrong choices that we want to hide. Some of these are minor, some serious. Your inner voice will tell you when this is happening. When you see the Seven of Swords, take a good look at what you're doing because hidden dishonors will eat away at your happiness and self-respect.
That is a profound interpretation of this card, and I think it is quite pertinent to the image seen on the Tarot of the Sidhe Dreamer Seven card. It is a full moon, in a clearing amongst bare trees. Five wraith-like beings have apprehended a male sidhe. One of them holds a knife overhead in a threatening manner, as if he would plunge it into the sidhe's chest. From behind a tree, another sidhe watches, in hiding. What are these terrible wraiths? What has the green-shirted sidhe done to deserve this? Is he the coward who betrayed? Or is it the other figure peering around the tree? I believe it's the overall sense of the thing rather than the details that must be considered with this particular card. Emily Carding's verse for Dreamer Seven:
'At times the shadows in Dream are hidden,
And from the depths will emerge unbidden,
They must be faced, the challenge met,
Lest dreams be tangled in cunning net.'
It seems to me the card is about facing up to things. If you do something or think something that you know is beneath you, that is not up to your own standards, or that denies the dignity of yourself or someone else, you have betrayed both yourself and that other person. You have, as Celie puts in The Color Purple, 'sinned against [their] spirit.' Or your own spirit. Or both. Something you've done or thought that makes you feel slimy, sneaky, sly, or just plain dirty, that's what the Dreamer Seven card depicts. Maybe those wraiths on the card are the conscience, making us 'pay' for it, showing us what we think we deserve. We do feel cowardly and small when we behave or think in ways that we feel are wrong. And we do, like cowards, want to hide from our own actions and thoughts. But we can't hide from them. Eventually, we have to look at them and make amends, or else, as Learn Tarot suggests, the 'hidden dishonors will eat away at [our] happiness and self-respect.'
Certainly a fitting card for me today. Some of my behaviours have presented themselves recently in a new light, in the light of how they affect those around me. I never realized, or never allowed myself to realize, the consequences of certain of my behaviours and attitudes, but it has been pointed out to me. I mean, I knew I felt bad about them, but could never really see how they might be perceived by others, until recently. So now I have two choices: feel guilty about the past, or accept the message I have received and behave differently.
Have you ever read Eckhart Tolle? He has some amazing ideas about something he calls the 'Pain-Body'. Maybe those wraiths holding the sidhe captive in the Dreamer Seven card are actually his Pain-Body! Especially that really scary one, with the knife, oh yes. And even that face peeping from the behind the tree is the Pain-Body, because the Pain-Body loves it when we are in its thrall. Even the circles radiating down from the moon start to look like bonds. Dreamer Seven, the Pain-Body card. I know I realised that my own behaviour is my Pain-Body. Some people have ferocious ones. Lucky me, I'm one of those people.
(If you are interested in learning more about Pain-Body, I highly recommend both 'The Power of Now' and 'A New Earth' by Eckhart Tolle.)