Mystic Spiral Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2012) is one which came up in the Vampire Reading last week, too.
A huge, tentacled sea monster tries to engulf a ship. The crew beat at the purple tentacles with their oars as the red-and-white-striped sail flaps uselessly in the wind. The water around them is choppy from the battle between beast and boat, and the sky echoes the bloody fight.
The difference between traditional Five of Wands and Seven of Wands cards is an interesting one. The external nature of the competition is obvious in the Five, whereas in the Seven (in the RWS) all we see are the up-lifted wands, but no actual aggressors. This, plus the numerology of the card, leads many to see it as an image of challenges which we perceive, but which may not be "real" in the sense of coming from outside ourselves. It may be more that we feel defensive, or are trying to figure out our values and beliefs compared to our received wisdom.
There is certainly an aspect of that here, too. The monster from the deep can easily represent our own doubts, sedimented beliefs and emotions, while the boat stands for our conscious selves. Yet, whether the threat comes from the outside or not, we can still feel embattled. This struggle, though, can help us to define ourselves, and can lead to the clarity of purpose and rapid change of the Eight.
Today I have already met an aspect of this monster. I had the chance to do something differently, and I tried, but my mind kept on saying, "You should be doing this, aren't you feeling that, what happens if this takes place?" And so I went back to my old way of doing things. Ah well, it's not a bad way, and maybe I need to prepare a bit more mentally before trying to challenge it again...
I am grateful for the battles lost, which are also learning experiences.