"Sixes and sevens" is a phrase I've heard, but never really gave much thought to. When I found out it was this week's drawing challenge, I just had to look it up; inquiring minds like mine want to know. According to Wikipedia, "To be "at sixes and sevens" is a British English idiom used to describe a state of confusion or disarray."
The origin of the phrase seems uncertain, but here are a couple of theories:
"The phrase probably derives from a complicated dice game called 'hazard' ....These [originally five and six] were considered to be the riskiest numbers to shoot for ...., and those who tried for them were considered careless or confused." Wikipedia goes on to say that, "A similar phrase, "to set the world on six and seven", is used by Geoffrey Chaucer in his 'Troilus and Criseyde". It dates from the mid-1380s and seems from its context to mean "to hazard the world" or "to risk one's life". William Shakespeare uses a similar phrase in 'Richard II': "But time will not permit: all is uneven, And every thing is left at six and seven"."
It's Not That Easy
mixed media, 6.25 x 5 inches
I think I understand what it means to be "at sixes and sevens". About a year ago, I was forced to take disability early retirement, due to stress-related health problems that wouldn't resolve. I don't want to get too serious here, but my whole life suddenly seemed upside-down and backwards. Everything was uneven and out of balance. I struggled to find some meaningful shape or form to fit my life into, some way to rise above the 'confusion and disarray', and still do at times. I spent a long time 'at sixes and sevens', but am finally starting to make some sense of it. Making art continues to be one of my saving graces.
" All great changes are preceded by chaos." ~ anonymous
To see more interpretations of the "Sixes and Sevens" theme, visit our hostess Nadine's blog, tinyWOOLF.