The very consultant and writer for the booklet to Tattoo Tarot: Ink & Intuition – Diana McMahon Collis is taking us on a journey to explore the Tattoo Tarot Deck in great detail.

In this image six straight-bladed swords are held by, or tucked behind, a heart-shaped object – perhaps a shield – all of which are behind a larger, curved, scimitar or cutlass style of sword. Behind all of the swords is a yellow and white mass that could be seen as the sun coming out, or a cloud, or the sun appearing through the clouds.

Words that go with this card are ‘cunning’ and ‘skillfulness’ – note that the full length of the six swords cannot be seen. The design on the sword handles makes them almost look as though they are creatures that have little, single eyes, peeking out, waiting for the right moment to emerge more fully! (or maybe I have an over-active imagination from reading too many myths or watching too many sci-fi movies!)

A key phrase is ‘determination that needs to be used for the right purposes’. Nobody really wants that cutlass waved around without a very good and clear reason.

The card can be compared with the 6 of Swords, whose scimitar seems to have more of a boat-like quality, and where there are flames in the background – again a possible reference to the sun’s rays, but with less cloud suggested.

Yet both cards can relate to moving away from circumstances that are difficult or stressful, almost certainly less than ideal, at best. For the 7 of Swords a booklet phrase is ‘Considering escape from an imprisoning situation’. I have witnessed this, on many occasions, in readings where the questioner was caught up in a scenario that wasn’t fulfilling them, and they thought about leaving. But they usually felt they could not or would not leave. Sometimes they were involved in a deception of some kind, such as having a secret love affair. Another phrase is ‘Watch your back’ – the need to keep a situation under wraps, all cloak-and-dagger-like. I felt some fear for these people, yet – who knows – perhaps there was a secret thrill (conscious or not) about the potential of being caught!

In readings for myself I usually have to dig deep for the message with this card, because it is often read as a card about lying, treachery and manipulation – behaviours that I try to stay away from if at all possible. One day a penny dropped and I realized that sometimes I lie to myself without realizing – usually about how difficult I’m finding a particular set of circumstances. In this situation there is usually fear at play, stopping me from admitting the truth, because then I might have to do something about it. But I know that, if I see this card, I am being asked to look at my deepest truth. And when I have done so, to take appropriate action. This frequently involves summoning up all my strength and courage, along with the conviction to do something decisive, which will ultimately create a new freedom or inner resilience. Perhaps that is why there is a focus here on determination and right action. Besides, when I make decisions around what I think will benefit me, I can slip into feeling guilty for any pain that this might, directly or indirectly, cause another person. Perhaps this is where skilfullness comes in, then – not for any malicious reason, but quite the opposite: to try to minimize ‘bloodshed’, or deeply negative feelings.

The 7 of Swords is not my favourite card in the tarot. But I rather like the heart at the centre of this Tattoo Tarot version. It speaks to me both of truth and caring; being true to one’s heart whilst trying to be sensitive to others’ feelings. That heart is behind the scimitar, which maybe takes overall priority – it can be safely, skilfully and wisely used if the heart is in the right place.

Focusing on another phrase that I included in the booklet that goes with this deck, when I wrote it, “Change of heart” reminds me to think of the purposes behind my choices and actions to date. If my feelings have changed, have my purposes also changed? Perhaps the clarity of the sword can help me to examine the circumstances more clearly – and over time; the arc of the other swords seems to reflect this. Options lined up in a row. Or the development of events over time. The cloudiness will clear, as will my thoughts, and the sun will spotlight the action I now need to take!


The Tattoo Tarot: Ink and Intuition set includes a full colour booklet, published by Laurenceking.com and is currently available via the Amazon link to Tattoo Tarot on the home page of https://mindbliss.co.uk/

Diana McMahon Collis has worked with tarot and astrology for more than thirty years, as a way of helping people connect more deeply and move forward in life; she offers deeply insightful readings with a practical focus, bookable via Email or Skype at: http://mindbliss.co.uk She also works as a professional writer in the Mind, Body, Spirit field; recent projects include consultancy and booklet writing for the newly launching Tattoo Tarot: Ink and Intuition set (Laurence King Publishing), and project management of the Book of Music Horoscopes (Flare Publications), which also includes her essay on David Bowie and Iggy Pop’s friendship (more details on her Author page at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07FK8896B). At The Mountain Astrologer she writes a bi-monthly lunation column on the New and Full Moons and eclipses, and, for The Astrological Journal, has written on subjects as diverse as music star Prince, ABBA’s Agnetha Faltskog, and the activity of the brain in divination. At https://Jerichowriters.com she works as an editor and author mentor, assisting other authors on their publishing path and, at http://celestialspot.blogspot.com/, posts reviews of tarot decks, astrology books and articles on celestial and symbolic themes. She can be emailed via (diana@) mindbliss.co.uk.

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