Seven of Swords
In the Seven of Swords, we see a man holding a bundle of swords, stealthily moving away from an enemy camp, walking on tiptoes while peering back over his shoulder with a smug grin on his face. The implication is that he has stolen the weapons of his enemies and is commending himself for getting away with it. However, upon closer inspection of the card, we can see in the far left background a group of men who are huddled together and a raised sword. They know.
The Seven of Swords is about doing what is best for numero uno, number one, serving your own needs, even if you have to use lies and manipulation. This is not a "team player" card. This is the card of the thief. The Seven of Swords is about deception.
There are two kinds of deception really, in the first, you are using your cunning wit, clever mental tricks to overcome your obstacle because you have a need that must be met or achieved, and right now, for whatever reason, you cannot be out in the open with it. If this is the situation, it is imperative that you attempt to act as ethically as possible. There are times that we cannot come out with what we are doing; there is a true need for secrecy, to protect something. Maybe there is a risk you cannot take, you must get the information, or whatever it is you need, before you disclose your true means, because someone else would tamper with, interfere in some way, or do you harm or ill. Just do your best. Only you can know your true intentions. Ask yourself if this is truly necessary, and if you believe that it is, then just proceed cautiously.
Alternatively, it could be that you want to win, succeed, or get ahead at any cost. You could be lying, stealing, cheating or some other type of dishonest, unethical behavior to get what you want. If you deceive others to be the "winner", you must then ask yourself if it is worth winning. Can you live with what you have done to the other person? If you know that you are not doing any of these things, then this card is a caution to be very careful in your surroundings, as you could be the victim of such behavior.
At work, someone could be stealing your work and passing it off as their own. This could be the snake in the grass, your charming and always friendly co-worker who is actually talking badly about you to your boss, so that THEY can get the promotion that you rightfully deserve. In a relationship, this is what is known as the "cheater card". Seeing this in a relationship reading often indicates lying, cheating, or some other type of misleading or deceptive behavior by one partner and should be a serious red flag.
Another manifestation of this card is research. Sometimes when this card comes up, it is pointing to a need for doing more research, digging deep and getting all of the facts, again, you want to use your mind in the best possible way to achieve your goals, so you are looking for all of the facts. This card can also indicate a need to go it alone, as stated, this is not a card for "team players". You may be working very hard gathering data to support your cause and do not trust anyone else, or think you need anyone else's help. Be careful here. Again, in a relationship reading, even if there is not physical cheating, this would indicate someone who is not partnership-oriented, who is still just looking out for themselves first and foremost.
Seven of Swords Reversed
In the Seven of Swords reversed, the tables have turned. There are several manifestations of this card. First, you may have already done things that were deceptive, but you are now facing the consequences. Either you have felt guilty and have come clean, possibly apologizing for your actions, or alternatively, like the thief in the card, you have been discovered. When you see this card in a reading, particularly in a future position, know that there is a good possibility you will not get away with any deceptive actions you may have taken. It may be better to confess, than to be caught red-handed.
It could be that you have an opportunity to get away with something, and you choose to do the right thing, and instead of stealing, lying, cheating or manipulating, you choose to act ethically instead. You may still want to achieve or acquire the prize or results, but you know that the consequences far outweigh the benefits if you were caught and have decided it is not worth it.
The sevens are about challenges, and in the suit of swords, they are primarily mental challenges. At this point, your current way of doing things is just not working for you. It could be that you are experiencing guilt and regret from an ethical standpoint, and want to try to do things differently from now on. It could also be that you are having a lot of trouble meeting your objectives, and really need to learn new patterns of behavior; you need to break free from your past and how you have always attempted to do things, as they are just not serving you well now. In this case, a return to the energy of the Six of Swords would be helpful, it is time to make a fresh start with a clear mind, and a clean slate.