Baby steps out of the stagnant comfort zone: a lesson from the Seven of Wands

The first time I saw the Seven of Wands in a tarot reading, it confused the crap out of me. Here’s a guy – in a defensive position, ready for a fight. Problem is: he’s on top of a hill and there’s no one actually attacking him. But still, he looks frustrated.

As there isn’t an enemy in plain sight – I wondered if the six wands in the front of the card are actually real or simply a manifestation of his fears. Why is he so ready for an attack? Is he preparing for an assault that exists only in his mind or is he protecting himself against an actual threat?

The Suit of Wands corresponds to the astrological element of fire – which is all about taking initiative, going for what (and who) you want, and embracing the spotlight. Everything in this particular card goes against the intrinsic nature of fire.

Being defensive, shaky and fearful of what is going on – is exactly the way that fire behaves if it is doused with water. 

A Tale from Our Modern World

When I decided to start doing tarot readings, a part of me wondered if others would describe me as ‘kooky’, ‘irrational’ and ‘a hack’. Besides, when I tell people what I really want to do is write fantasy – the response I often get is:

Can you make a living doing that? Is it stable? Who’s going to pay the bills?

These are all normal fears. But for some of us who have established a sense of stability and are more than capable of handling the bills (ahem…me and many of you right now), we can’t help but wonder if there’s something more we’re meant to be doing. No matter how much I try to ignore it – there’s a voice inside me that says:

Yea, this job is good, but didn’t you want to be a writer? Write fantasy about Asian folklore, myths and legends and stuff? And just what exactly are you doing with your life these days? Hmm…


Many of us don’t allow ourselves to do what we want because we are afraid of the backlash. We wonder what ‘people’ are going to think. We’re achieved a sense of stability in our lives and we’re scared of trying something new because we don’t want to lose what we’ve achieved.

So we stand there on our small hill ever ready to protect what we’ve accumulated when what we really want to do is climb that enormous mountain.

We are on the defence even though there is no imminent attack. The problem is: we don’t want to lose the sense of control we have established in our lives. And yet we don’t quite feel in control cause we’re stuck and just not going anywhere. 

I seriously don’t recommend that you rage quit your day job and do whatever you want. That’s just plain irresponsible. But what I do suggest is that you take baby steps each day to give yourself permission to be who you really are and to do what you really want.

Our time and life on this planet is short. Let’s follow our heart’s desires in a responsible manner. And for the sake of your own well-being – give yourself permission to be yourself. Life is waaay too short to live any other way.

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