Legend: 7 of Shields: Castle of Wonders


The pillar shown on this card is a bit like a crystal ball, in that it you can see the whole of the kingdom in it. From our point of view, we can see birds flying, a castle on the cliffs, what looks like a stretch of beach or shore next to an inlet or riverlet. There is a table or alter and what looks to me like a cow or goat at the base of the column.

The white-light spiral indicates just how special this column is, it is not only attractive, it is worth so much - imagine being able to see the whole land, what a position of power that would give the person who owned it. We are told that Gawain had the opportunity to make it his if he would stay in the castle with the women he had saved. But, as is often the case, such a choice has it's price, the pillar and the women or freedom and adventure? Fortunately, I think that the pillar made up Gawain's mind for him, even as he seriously contemplated his decision - he could see what he would have to give up in order to possess the treasure he had won.

The call of the castle is luxury - we see a beautiful piece of fabric draped and curled at the base of the pillar, safety and security indicated by the shield, and plenty indicated by the bowl of fruit and jug. To make this choice he would have had to know himself pretty well, and decide where his priorities lay.

According to the Keeper of Words Gawain manages to break the spell over the castle and it's 500 residents by riding a possessed bed, dodging a rain of rocks, then arrows, and then still had to fight a huge lion. These were tests, not only of strength, but of perseverance and tested his will - he must have wanted very much to save these people to put himself through these ordeals. Personally I think he deserved his reward, without the strings attached. By dealing with the obstacles one-by-one, he was able to complete the challenge successfully.

This legend reminds me of Indiana Jones :) the trials are very often not only physical, but can also be spiritual, and the hero does what he sets out to do regardless of the end result ... what a man!!! :)


Seems like when this card comes up in a reading, that this column is central to the issue or basically it is what supports the present. I think of it as the vision of the future, in the image there are wagons full of hay, the harvest that is to be stored in this room at a later date. The lidded box, the empty sheath, the shield covering the head dress, the fruit in a basket, the urn...are all something that is contained or contains something and all on one side of the room...the other side is empty in preparation.

I'm still trying to figure out the symbolic meaning of the curtain being drawn around that central pillar, but it definately showing movement, that things are in motion, even though the "feel" of the card appears to be passive, it is almost a still life study.

One of the thoughts I had when I looked at this card is where are the people?
The empty sheath, where is the knife? Where is the cup to drink from the pitcher? Someone left his sheild, and someone, took off her head covering. So that makes me think there are two people together out of sight...in possession of what isn't there and this scene is just waiting for completion, for everything to go back in place.

Another thought is the two birds flying in opposite directions in that central "vision", the possibility that things can go one way or another? Just a few musings, I'll get back to this later.


Originally posted by WalesWoman
I'm still trying to figure out the symbolic meaning of the curtain being drawn around that central pillar, but it definately showing movement, that things are in motion, even though the "feel" of the card appears to be passive, it is almost a still life study.

I also get the feeling of it being a still life study - as if we can see what is happening in the rest of the world and it's going on without us being a part of it. It's like a whole new perspective.

I'm glad you drew attention to the room being only half furnished or completed, I hadn't thought of that - it leaves room for improvement, development, creative ideas, and sometimes we need that - to clear a space for other things to take place in our lives. It's like the room is in the process of being redecorated, which means planning, what is the room's function? what will it be used for? how much will you spend on it? what needs to remain? and what still needs to be bought or brought in? ... the same with our lives, we need to plan, find purpose, and decide how much time and effort we want to put into things, how much of the baggage should we keep and what needs to be included to make it balanced.

Because it's a central pillar, it is taking most of the weight, sort of relieving the other supports. We can see at a glance that it is totally different to the other columns. Perhaps the curtain was drawn across the room to hide the pillar, and now the pillar has been revealed for what it is.


Lyones said:
Perhaps the curtain was drawn across the room to hide the pillar, and now the pillar has been revealed for what it is.

Deja Vu, I know I did this before but all the snow yesterday knocked the power out while I was typing this up last night.

I think the curtain is our hidden desires or aspirations, being pulled into that vision of the future. Everything in this room is open and ready to be filled, but has to wait for the end results to play out in it's own way, in it's own time. Even though we are stirred and motivated by those desires, and wrapped up in them, we still have to remain patient, waiting because we can't hurry this sort of progress.

Maybe it is what is hidden from us, during that process from conception of an idea, a plan, a life until it's "harvest" time or delivery. The empty sheath, the head scarf and shield, make me think someone was there and well, had a tryst...so it could be pregancy...you can't see what is going on inside but have to wait and wonder until it's good and ready to be born. Maybe a real baby, or one of our own dreams and desires, that we have implemented something and done all we can for now, that all we can do in the mean time is nuture and care for it to ensure proper growth.

There is the element of the unknown here, that we can do as much as we can, but have no control over what happens from there. It could hail and wipe out the crops, or rain too much, making everything mold in the field, it could not rain enough and everything shrivels up. The bugs could arrive and eat it all, or the cows get out of their pen and stomp things down.

It's a bit like the Star, you have to nuture this, drawn your inspiration from hope and faith that it will happen the way you envision it to be.


Well this is the card of the night, so its a good time to study and write about it - this means I will soon be finished my 78 days of dreams. This is is the first time I have seen this card. When I looked at the base of the pillar all I could see was a somewhat unpleasant face - I did not see that the face as a table and a goat until I read your observations, Lyones. The centre leg of the table is the nose, the legs on either side the eyes and the goat is the mouth.

So the monster's face at the base of the pillar made me think of an unpleasant shadow self in the unconscious. Then above that we have some kind of castle, a standard symbol for the male psyche, and above that the soaring skies of the spiritual or super-conscious. So this is a pillar that may reflect the psychic world of the observer. By rejecting the women and the pillar, continuing on with his masculine daring-do, perhaps Gawain was avoiding a esoteric exploration in favour of an exoteric one. However, we do learn that the feminine caught up with him is spite of this, in the adventure of the Nine of Shields.

Returning to more conventional interpretation, I am fascinated by how the pillar can show the whole kingdom. I can imagine that as one walks around it, or moves one's head slightly to the right or left, a different scene appears. In an infinite number of angles one can see an infinitite number of views. But perhaps it is more like a crystal ball and responds to one's desires and intention, showing the scene one is interested in, or the scene one needs to see.

I think that the curtain was hiding the pillar, but now it has been pulled back. Yet it remains like a golden snake coiled around the pillar, a symbol of wisdom and the circle of life. The gold brocade curtain is also a symbol of luxury, the food and drink of material ease, and the abandoned shield and clothing a surrender to a life of comfort and security.

Unless the pillar is used for self-exploration it seems like a dangerous tool. Would it really be used to help people or to exploit them? At first thought it would seem to be a dishonourable and potentially corrupting way to rule a kingdom. But is Tarot or scrying so different? We don't actually read how accurate the visions are. Perhaps the pillar is an intuitive tool rather than a TV set. Again, it may be a symbol of Gawain connecting with his High Priestess.

But we also don't read that Gawain was particularly enamoured of any of the women. Anne-Marie says that he "decided that his heart lay with his life as a Knight of the Round Table" so it appears that in moving on he made the right decision.

crazy raven

I really had to meditate and read up on this card this morning. After reading all the posts, I think this is a very private (inner room) in one's castle. There are very few possessions and assets here. This room is an "inner process" rather than an outer one. It's where we pause and reflect on our sense of inner values and our personal worth. It could be this is where we feel inadequate or wounded in life, but the "Pillar" is showing you an expression of something uniquely yours, where your true individuality "shines forth" whether we're conscious of it or not. Your attachment to your possessions may show up too too and you're painfully facing the truth that security does not come from material things.

The pillar shows what you value, money, talents, resources, freedom or lack of it, and how you feel about your self-worth and your ability to attract what you want on a material level. It asks... Can you see beyond the physical world of form and attachment to a world you Spiritually value?" The Pillar says we can overcome our fears and allow ourselves to become more real.

The gold curtain might represent what we hold most dear in life. (gold signifies a special quality in something - the curtain places importance and value on something) When we are between action and inaction, we have to be alone and take serious stock of our material position, earnings and talents. This 'aloneness' confronts us with the realization that the spiritual qualities of our have are the ones that truly have lasting worth.

This is a time to develop your own potential. If you're in a relationship, it may be you realize it's for material reasons only and you don't feel appreciated for your own true worth.

So this card, for me, is to find a way to 'manage' what I truly value. Perhaps my 'old value system' is collapsing at the moment and there are other resources I've overlooked or took for granted. This is a "Growing" process - learning to work with the Earth instead of trying to escape it. So I need to question and re-assess my own self-worth. What do I need to do to gain spiritual stability and physical stability in my life? Is this something I can do physically, energetically” or am I losing way too much energy where I'm plugged into right now. Perhaps something new and healthy is emerging :)