Leo III: The Seven of Wands

Set upon by numerous foes, the Seven of Wands is the card associated with the Third Decan of Leo. The sign of Leo is ruled by the Sun, and this decan is ruled by Mars. It covers 20° through the 29° of Leo. In 2021, the Sun was in the Third Decan of Leo from August 12 to August 22.

Astute readers will note that I missed a few decans in the 2021 Decan Walk. I will have to revisit them next year! In the meantime, my Patreon subscribers get access to all of my Decan Walk articles in full. I believe it will be helpful to share with my audience and supporters the nature of my experience – successes, failures, and everything else! If you are not yet a Patreon supporter and would like to get the full Decan Walk experience, you can sign up at this link.

The Seven of Wands

In the Rider-Waite-Smith version of this card, a man in a green tunic stands atop a cliff weilding a staff. He appears to be fending off six other attackers, all out of frame below him, also weilding staffs. This is a good place to mention that the suit of Wands is also sometimes called Staves or Staffs, and probably also a good time to remind all of you old AD&D players about saving throws against Rod, Staff, or Wand.

RWS Seven of Wands Wands are the suit of fire, and sevens are typically cards about development or evolution. Fire is the suit of spirit, or the highest and most conceptual level of ideas, concepts, and creation. As the Minor Arcana in this suit move toward the level of “completion” in the Ten of Wands, they deal more and more with physicality and reality, and in particular how ideas become reality. This card is the second of the Wands to depict a conflict; in fact, many of the Wands cards seem to depict conflict of some sort or another. They tend to be active and filled with motion, but rarely are they seriously threatening.

The scene depicted in the Seven of Wands has always struck me as not very serious. Sure, there do appear to be six opponents facing off against the subject, but he has the high ground and they don’t seem to be doing a very good job of reaching him. This usually leaves me interpreting this particular card as being worried over something that isn’t much of a threat. Is it possible for the subject of this card to just take a step back, away from his six attackers, and be free from danger? What keeps him engaged?

When you consider that this card is ruled by Mars, of course it has to include combat. Sometimes, fighting seems like it is the only option. However, I would argue that in this card, fighting will not solve anything. It certainly will not solve the mystery of our subject’s mismatched shoes.

The Third Face of Leo

The Summer of 2021 has brought brutal weather to Oregon, and I know that our experience here is not unique. The Third Face of Leo this year heralds a deadly double heat dome in the United States that could affect nearly 200 million people.

In the Picatrix, the image for this decan is described like this:

In the third face of Leo ascends an old man, black and filthy, holding fruit and meats in his mouth and a bronze pitcher in his hand. This is the face of love, delight, feast platters, and health. This is its form.1

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Majrīṭī, Maslamah ibn Aḥmad. Picatrix: a medieval treatise on astral magic. Translated by Dan Attrell and David Porreca. Magic in History. University Park. Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2018. 117 [2.11.17].

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