Aquarius 3: third decan of Aquarius, Seven of Swords

Another difficult place in the Aquarius sequence: the Seven of Swords, Futility aka the Lord of Unstable Effort. The sign is ruled by Saturn, the Sevens by Venus, and this decan by the fluctuating Moon.

The magical image of the decan per 777 is “A small-headed man dressed like a woman, and with him an old man.” Not the most fun description to work with, as who wants to draw a man in a dress with a proportionally small head? (LOL I made it work; his head is just a little small, as some peoples are, but he’s not a freak.) All that aside, upon reflection it does fit the card correspondences. It can be a card of needing to use your head to get out of a jam, and perhaps not always feeling up to the task or not making appropriate effort. He is “dressed like a woman”, for both Venus and the Moon influence the card. The old man is of course for Saturn, ruler of Aquarius.

So this small-headed man travels with an old man, under the influence of a waning moon, as six sabers threaten them. The cross-dressing man carries the seventh sword, but is hardly dressed for fighting in his long gown and wrap. The old man won’t be much help, bent and leaning on his cane.

The figures taken alone are also purposefully ambiguous. The small-headed one is behind the old man with a sword. Is he ready to stand with him against the encroaching six swords, or will he double-cross him?

The combination of a man dressed as a woman and an old man also reminds me of Achilles. In some accounts his mother Thetis dressed him as a girl in order to hide him and keep him safe from war. But wily Odysseus (perhaps the old man figure) disguised himself as a peddler of women’s clothes and tricked Achilles into revealing himself. These themes of both Achilles, by being in disguise, and Odysseus being crafty and somewhat wily or deceptive, fits with the reputation of the card for conniving. Achilles is also known for his one spot of vulnerability, where the term “Achilles’ heel” originates. Thetis had dunked him in the Styx when he was an infant, to make him invulnerable to weapons, but had to hold him by the heel so she missed a spot, which was his undoing. Thus the idea of some weakness in play: futility or unstable effort.

It’s the changeability of the moon that adds the instability here, along with the combination of Venus (7) and Saturn (Aquarius). Aloof and cool Aquarius isn’t exactly the best place for warm Venus or emotional Moon. In the sky, a seven pointed figure combines the emblems of a star (Aquarius) and a rose (Venus), picking up seven points along a ring of 56 “holes”, like the Aubrey holes at the monument of Stonehenge that mark out the lunar cycles, for the changes of the Moon that rules the decan.

[Placeholder for the 7 of Swords image, held back for now.]

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