Here is a sample tarot card description for the Seven of Wands if I were to give the Enneagram meaning of the card. The words in bold indicate how I’d use it in a reading (I think I’m on point with other tarot readers on these definitions), and the rest of the description is my reasoning.
Rejection/Refusal/Perseverance/Staying the Course
When Type Sevens are grounded in their bodies (wands), they can stay with their anxiety around not feeling enough stimuli and be deeply present with whatever is unfolding in the moment, persevering to the finish line. So the man in this picture could be saying “no” to distractions and staying on course. But with stress comes a desire to surf the high of exciting projects or exciting conversations, gobbling up the beginnings of things, and leaving a littered trail of abandoned efforts in his wake. We can look at Gurdjieff’s use of the musical scale to demonstrate the Type Seven’s place in the archetypal “octave”. Between the 3rd and 4th notes, and the 7th and 8th notes are a half-step, or a semi-tone. Gurdjieff’s writings on the octave are far over the heads of most of us layman philosophers, but suffice to say that if the octave was like our path towards the completion of a goal, those two points are where additional kinds of efforts, or different methods that had not been used prior to that point need to be inserted in order to finish the scale (he called those two points “shocks”). So at the second “shock point”, at point seven, an additional step up to a new level of consciousness is called for in order to reach the target (This is why many of us never reach our goals when we’re almost there, by the way!) Stress around life’s complications and messy difficulties settle into those points and push a Seven to seek out more, newer, and more exciting stimuli, away from the original trajectory, preventing them from reaching life’s depths and richness, which ironically, is the very thing they crave.
Of course, this is too long and would need to get cut back. Just putting it out there. Also, I’d want to say somewhere that wands represent embodiment, or right action; cups represent an openness of heart, and swords represent a clear mind. Don’t ask me yet what pentacles represent. It’s coming to me, but way too slowly. If anyone wants to send me your thoughts on the subject, please do.
I just want to add that this is not to say that a Type Seven should never leave a project or a marriage, or that they should feel bad for wanting to travel to as many countries as possible in a short amount of time. They understand more than the rest of us how short life is, and they have an acute appreciation for how much there is to experience. But insofar as their core fear is driving their action— that life is not constantly arising in newness as it should and they will feel the pinch of deprivation if they don’t have such-and-such an experience— they are reacting rather than responding to the stimuli with a clear mind, heart, and body. They are encouraged to notice the anxiety in the body as a first step toward calming the mind.
And it’s not only Sevens who will get this card, and when it appears for another type, it won’t have the connotations of the fear of missing out behind its appearance every time. If you’re dealing with a Seven in your reading, this card might come up more often, but not necessarily. I get this card most often when I’m asking about a particular thing that I’d like to do, but have been told by my cards repeatedly over the years to stay away from it. “Stay away” or “stand your ground”- that’s another way of interpreting the card, but an Eight could get this card when he’s rejecting weakness, for example, or a Nine could get this card when she’s refusing to cooperate.
So what is the point of knowing the backstory of these cards if it doesn’t even matter in a reading? As a Four, I like knowing exactly what the Tarot gods are accusing me of when I get a Four card. There is nothing so ego-arresting as having such an exquisitely detailed, granular description of the charges against me. Getting that degree of nuanced feedback is incredibly helpful to me, because there’s actually a big difference, if you think about it, between the Four of Cups- a card that would tell me that I’m pouting or withholding emotionally from someone as a silent rebuke for not rescuing me for example, and the Four of Pentacles- a card that tells me I’m being precious about my gifts, feeling “exempt from ordinary ways of living”, censoring myself or not allowing myself free expression out of fear of bringing shame on myself.
There’s something disarming about getting a rebuke from a tarot card that makes it so much easier to take than getting it from a friend or family member, if they even wanted to stick their neck out that far. This is why I love tarot. I’ve been made aware many times that I’m subtly, invisibly (even to me) mounting a defense inside, and tarot will say it without mincing words— or pictures— and I can get back on track towards presence.