The 7 of Wands is a card of defiance, perseverance, and valor. It traditionally features a man under attack on the edge of a cliff, his stance wide as he defends himself against six attackers. In the Universal Dali deck, however, the attackers are represented by a swarm of people in a marketplace. Four arms reach into the frame from outside it and bar the masses with seven wands. A candle burns in the bottom left corner.
The Wands suit in the Tarot always represents elemental fire, spirit, and the flame of inspiration. Dali’s decision to unite the Wands on one side and set them over and against the bustle of a townsquare market is intriguing, to say the least, as the card presumes an avant-garde audience. However, this presumption and consequent choice works very well in light of the fundamental meaning of this card. That is, in a conflict between the cause of the one and the cause of the many, the cause of the one may indeed be the most just.
This is evidenced repeatedly throughout history: from the plight of the Jews and other minorities during the Third Reich to Civil Rights struggles the world over; from the critical disdain for the participants in the Salon des Refusés of 1863 (Exhibition of Rejects) to conflicts over morals and decency in the arts that persist to this day. If you can be sure of anything, it’s that the presumed opinion of the masses, which can hardly be meaningfully gauged anyway, is probably wrong!
The blue figure on the right stands over the crowd with a staff of his own. His pose is triumphant and his back is to the marketplace. One gets the sense that this victorious figure is the shadow cast by History itself, in which the masses carry on their quotidian affairs. The large, luminescent candle on the bottom left is removed from these crowds and linked only to one of the arms that reaches from outside the frame and bears down upon the scene. The candle symbolizes genius, inspiration, and charisma.
When you draw this card, the Tarot is advising you to stand your ground courageously, no matter what the apparent odds. Be patient, steady, and true to your convictions, as History will bear out your struggle, as well as the justice of your cause. Do not relent and do not back down. For in fighting for yourself, your vision, and your own rights, you fight for that of all — both now and into the future!
**While all manner of comments are welcomed, any further information pertaining to art history, symbolism, myth, cultural reverberations, and Tarot card meanings that traverse decks or lend especial light to the Universal Dali deck, specifically, are actively sought and encouraged. I’m not using a book for these descriptions, so I may miss a reference that bears mention in relation to a card. If you know something, please share it!
Conversely, I actively negate the astrological significations of the Trump cards within the Universal Dali deck in favor of the more traditional Thoth. My plan is to tackle the astrological significations of the Universal Dali Trumps and their overt divergence from all norms in one article… after having described each card. That’s a ways off. ;)
Next in Suit: 8 of Wands
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