Seven of Swords represents a deviation from values and the correct path to the rat-run and warns that what is perceived as a rat-run might be nothing more than self-deception.
The Seven of Swords depicts a man carrying away five swords in his arms while two swords remain stuck on the ground. The man; who is a pilferer, wears a red headpiece and is running on toes; he seems to be sneaking away with an over-confident and mocking look on his face. In the background, a military camp is visible. In far behind, the silhouettes of a group of soldiers are discernible.
The act of pilferage represents choosing the short-cut; which gives a bit of satisfaction but deprives one of full-satisfaction. Choosing the short-cut; more often than not, is an act of deception, even though nobody gets harmed in the process; one choosing to deviate from his values and the correct path deceives his true self, in a deficient functioning of mental capabilities, as represented by the swords left behind. Furthermore, despite the over-confidence of the pilferer, he seems to be caught therefore rendering his act only harmful to himself and leaving him behind the point where he has started.
Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.
-Fyodor Dosteyevsky, from The Brothers Karamazov
The Seven of Swords is a card of deception, and failure to “get away unnoticed”; and advises to act with rigor when resorting to secrecy and tricks. It clearly indicates that the easy path is not always the best path to follow; and calls for assuming the responsibility and acting with a clear conscience. Furthermore, this card also calls to be wary of other’s deceptive actions or betrayals not to be the victim. A person represented by this card would be secretive, calculating and might be unethical from time to time: He might even be a thief, cheater or trickster. Career-wise, this card might indicate that a short-cut might seem to be appealing albeit unethical and calls one to question whether the chosen path is fair and ethical. It also asks for being aware of co-workers’ possible mal-intentions. In the relationship context, the Seven of Swords might imply a cheating partner, or at least not being told the whole truth.
Summing up, the Seven of Swords is a card of deception and risk of betrayal, and it serves as a reminder of the fact that deceivers do the greatest damage to themselves by destroying their integrity at the first place.