Six of Cups and Seven of Wands

This two-card draw is a great exercise to examine the tarot cards in various combinations. Many people recommend drawing a single card daily as a meditative practice, but I believe that drawing two cards can be much more beneficial. If tarot is about context and narrative, then drawing two cards to consider together throughout the day can help to establish potential grouped meanings and give you real practice at connecting different cards. With over 6000 potential combinations you have a wealth of practice opportunities. I like to format my drawing into What Is Real / What Is Ideal – this is a nice structure for comparing and contrasting two cards.

Here, the Real is the Six of Cups and the Ideal is the Seven of Wands. What an interesting combination! You’d almost expect these cards to go the other direction, but this makes an even better exercise.

Six of Cups, Seven of WandsPutting it in simple terms, the Six of Cups is a card of childlike joy, and the Seven of Wands is a card of loss, struggle, and tenacity. What situations might you want to idealize this Seven over the reality of this Six?

Had the cards been in the other order, the logic would be much more simple. When struggling, you long for the small pleasures. In this current order, though, we should consider some other similar meanings of the Seven of Wands: searching, escape, self-doubt, desire for freedom, and competition. These on their own are not necessarily and inherently considered to be positive things, but they aren’t necessarily negative things either though. They can be, of course, but it’s important to remember that struggle doesn’t automatically lead to defeat. The importance is that the outcome of the Seven of Wands is uncertain.

The Taoist in me wants to remember that balance is important. We cannot have joy without also having struggle. And we cannot have struggle without also having joy. Even when (or especially when) we are happy, we often desire new challenges. To undertake something where you know the outcome will be positive is often nothing more than wish fulfillment. Don’t we often find ourselves bored with the simple comfortable life? Isn’t that when we’re most likely to leap, like The Fool, into the unknown?

We don’t need to embrace the struggle to be able to appreciate the struggle. Yes, I want to be happy, safe, and comfortable in my life. I want to be pushed to my potential, as well. And that push probably should take me to a place beyond my immediate level of comfort. A lower-level struggle can only help you to grow.

It’s all too easy to see a card like the Seven of Wands and to go to the extreme interpretation (like we can tend to do with cards like the Three and Ten of Swords, for example). Those readings can be short-sighted, though. I don’t fear pain or ruin (well, I actually do fear those things like a normal human person, but follow me). The negative aspects of life aren’t always on the forefront of my mind, but they’re there. To not admit that they’re there would be to live in denial.

Seeing the Seven of Wands here with the Six of Cups helps to place one of the possibly troubling cards into perspective. Push yourself. Get lost and find your way back. Come back and appreciate the small joys, and push yourself again.

The cards used in this post are from the Deviant Moon tarot deck.