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Tarot Reflections


 September 15, 2003

Seven of Swords
Christopher delaMaison, CPTR

Suffering from a mid-life crisis that started last year when skinny-dipping with his belly dancer friends, Christopher delaMaison prefers fish over beef, white wine over red, and short shorts over long skirts on his lady friends. When not at work as a talented, hard-working college instructor, Christopher can be found with his various Sci-Fi confederates planning the 25th anniversary Oregon Sci-Fi convention, OryCon25. See this link for details.

His web site: features a number of items which you simply have to see for yourself.


Friday is normally my day off. I teach on a split-shift schedule at the college from Monday through Thursday, covering a selection of morning and evening classes. In theory, this is supposed to leave me with a three-day weekend. However, what occasionally happens is that I have to attend any one of a variety of administrative college functions, which are always scheduled on a Friday. The event in question is an “In-Service Day,” which requires both faculty and staff to attend a three to four hour presentation on some topic related to adult instruction.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not sore about attending a conference on adult education, nor am I upset about giving up one of my days off. What causes just a bit of angst is that this In-Service is to be held down at the Eugene campus. The main campus is located in Wilsonville, Oregon, which is only some 18 miles or so from my house, which is not too bad of a morning drive. The Eugene campus, on the other hand, is almost 100 miles south of Wilsonville. No one seems to be pleased about driving south to Eugene on what would be a day off. The justification for holding this meeting down in Eugene is that “the Eugene folks (staff and faculty) feel left-out.” Well, of course they feel left out; they’re down in Eugene!

Now the best way to deal with having to drive somewhere when you’re not really interested in doing so is to let someone else do the driving. This chore fell to my immediate supervisor, Mike, who incidentally had the best vehicle for the trip. The plan was to meet at Wilsonville, fill up on coffee from Starbucks, and then pile into Mike’s car and blast off down Interstate 5 towards Eugene. 

As I’m hitching a ride with someone else, I arrive early at Wilsonville. I don’t want Mike to be waiting on me. Asking someone for a ride, and then arriving at the rendezvous location late is rightfully considered to be in very bad taste. I get to the Wilsonville campus ten minutes early, get out and stretch my legs. While I’m finishing off my coffee, I take out my cards, do a quick shuffle, and draw a card, just to see how the day will turn out. The card drawn is a reversed Seven of Swords.

For me, this card brings up images of someone taking something that doesn’t belong to them. The figure in the picture is hooded, the sky is overcast, and there is a foreboding surrounding this deed. This person is carrying off five of the seven swords pictured. This brings to mind the Five of Swords card. In this card, a man holds three of five swords pictured, as two others walk away. Did he win their swords in a contest? A fight? Did he win them honestly, or by guile and deceit? He has to look over his shoulder at his defeated opponents, as if he does not trust them. If this was a victory, it carries with it its own seeds of future defeat. The three swords, in turn, bring to mind the Three of Swords card. In this card, a man is lying down on the ground, overcome with grief and misery. It is as if these three cards are saying: “Theft by deceit brings sorrow and grief.”

Reversed, however, the message this card portrays is a bit more nebulous. Is the idea of theft being discouraged or encouraged? Are things being done “under the table” or in a manner that would be considered unethical? Normally, I would read a reversed card as almost the opposite of an upright card, such as moving away from poverty with a reversed Five of Pentacles, or a lack of artistic quality with the Three of Pentacles. However, reading a card that has negative connotations in the upright position when it is reversed is more difficult. Perhaps a reversed Seven of Swords is interpreted as “not letting one know whether they’ve been ripped off or not.” I keep these ideas in mind as we drive south.

The drive itself isn’t that bad. It’s cloudy, but not rainy. Arriving in Eugene, the local staff has a “breakfast” of warm orange juice and day-old donuts. Considering that this isn’t coming out of my pocket, I don’t really mind helping myself to extra donuts. (It’s day-old stuff; they’re going to throw it out if we don’t eat it, right? Sounds like Seven of Swords reversed to me.)

The meeting itself is not too lengthy, about three and a half hours. The speaker did his best to present the materials he had, without making it look like he was trying to take up too much of our time. (Anyone see the Seven of Swords reversed going on here?)

To make matters worse, the speaker asks me to “rate the day” during the middle of his lecture. With everyone listening to what my response will be, I tell him “the day is about a seven.” I know I don’t sound very enthusiastic, as if he had caught me napping during his lecture. One of my co-workers later tells me that everyone was waiting to see what I would say. (Was I unconsciously thinking that seven was reversed?)

For me the main problem here is staying awake. For whatever reason, I always seem to catch myself dozing off when I’m sitting through lectures that don’t really capture my interest. If I’m not careful, I’ll have a kink in my neck before the end of the day. Punishment, perhaps, for stealing a few moments of naptime, when everyone else is awake and taking notes. (Stealing naptime…more Seven of Swords, reversed?)

When the meeting ends, Mike immediately wants to drive back to Wilsonville, so it’s another two hours back, riding in the backseat, trying to massage the kink in my neck. By time I get home, my neck is sore, I’m tired, and I feel car sick from riding in the backseat of Mike’s Impala. However, I’m really out only the time spent, which was about eight hours. This is a good-sized chunk of the day, but not the whole day. (Yet again, more Seven of Swords reversed.)

After spending a few hours recovering, I stop by Albertson’s and pick up some soft brie cheese, chips and wine, and then I make my way to my friend Kelly’s house for her birthday party. She recognizes the look on my face, and immediately asks me how “the meeting” went. She hands me a cup of soda, then tells me in one breath to “tell her all about it, and then sit down and shut up.” (Definitely a Seven of Swords reversed comment!) The brie apparently went into the refrigerator (I never did get a taste of it), her son and his friends ate all of the crackers, and her husband Kurt stashed the wine in an undisclosed location. (Well, those were gifts, so I guess I can’t really expect to partake of any of it….more Seven of Swords, reversed!)

After several minutes, Kelly asks how the In-Service went, and I tell her it was a “Reversed Seven of Swords type of day.” She gives me an odd look and then asks if “the day was a rip-off or not?” Thinking about it for a few moments, I have to admit that I’m still not quite sure.



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