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Friday, 9 May 2014

Sherlock Holmes Tarot Week - the rare mistake

Seven of Swords has always been a rather confusing card for many. In this card (Seven of Observation) from the Sherlock Holmes Tarot, Holmes is throwing a bit of temper tantrum because he's made a mistake. The card is known as Lord of Unstable Effort, and in that tradition, it does indeed mean feeling ineffectual, inept or pessimistic. Crowley went so far as to call it Futility. No one called it Theft or Cunning, though that is the contemporary meaning many readers assign to it. I'm sure that's because of the curious RWS image painted by Pamela Colman-Smith, which looks like a thief making off with some swords at a jousting tournament. It's rather unfortunate, because that is not the interpretation in the Golden Dawn tradition, which is what RWS is meant to follow. Waite himself wrote: 'Design, attempt, wish, hope, confidence; also quarreling, a plan that may fail, annoyance. The design is uncertain in its import, because the significations are widely at variance with each other.' So even he admits that the design of the card is unclear.

Actually, then, the Golden Dawn meaning of the card is clearer in the Sherlock Holmes Tarot than it is in the Rider Waite Smith deck. Sherlock certainly seems perturbed in this image, at least. And there is really nothing that would likely upset Sherlock other than making a mistake. If there is a story in which Holmes scatters newspapers in a fury, it isn't referenced in the companion book, and I haven't read all the Sherlock Holmes stories (a situation that will soon be remedied, as I have just ordered the Complete Annotated Sherlock Holmes, which contains the four novels and all 56 short stories).

Today is Friday and I'm working from home today, and there is no way that I am going to let anything make me feel ineffectual, inept or perturbed today. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. I put up my shields of protection, like a glowing orb around me, and may anything that comes out bounce off into the ether today. Before me Raphael, behind me Gabriel, on my right hand Michael, on my left hand Uriel.

1 comment:

  1. Tee hee, it looks like me getting annoyed by "some person on the internet". Hope that didn't happen either, and the angels stood guard well :)