In the deck of tarot cards, nothing says lies and liars like the 7 of Swords. Since lies are in the air, let’s take a closer look.
The suit of Swords is the air sign in the deck, representing thoughts, truths and facts. The person who controls the swords commands the power of persuasion. This particular liar looks like a nimble lightweight who enjoys the act of deception as much or more than the items he procures. He finds his drive in the compulsion to get away with something, and he does it with abandon.
A newer version of the 7 of Swords (right) by Ricardo Cavalo places emphasis on the moment when the lies come back to bite the blustering, blindfolded liar. The liar here has more force than finesse. He has lost control of his temper as well as the lies he spewed into being.
Orange and yellow are 2nd and 3rd chakra colors, where our will, ego, and drive reside. The sevens are high energy and off balance, just like other orange-and blond-headed liars in the news.
My favorite depiction of a lie is in Giotto’s early 14th century fresco of the vice, Envy, which is a small part of the amazing Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy. Old Lady Envy grabs a money purse while being engulfed in the flames of her own bad humor. Her ear is distorted by paranoia, and the snake – her lies – emerge from her mouth only to turn around and bite her between the eyes.
There’s comfort in lasting art at times like this. In 1305 — 140 years before the first tarot decks were made and 711 years before the election of Donald Trump — Giotto knew very well that it doesn’t pay to lie. He knew that lies spring from envy, and from feelings of inadequacy and fear. He knew that the opposite of Envy is not Pride, but Charity (below), which he painted as the corresponding virtue on the opposite chapel wall. So for the thousands of people who rallied at airports this past weekend, chanting “no hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” I hereby dedicate Giotto’s Charity to you. Your fierce generosity is what we need to keep the lies on their natural trajectory — however slow and perilous it may be — back to faces of the liars who lied them.