Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.
~ Marcus Aurelius
Another four this week. This time, we are visited by the Four of Swords. Fours in the Tarot are about stabilizing, grounding, and completion of a cycle.
In the Swords, which are so often about conflict and strife, the four gives its quieting influence. So this card indicates a time of retreat, rest, and renunciation of worldly pursuits, within a sacred space.
Tarot artist and scholar Robert Place tells us that there was a practice called “incubation,” in which ancient mystics would lie as if lifeless, imitating the state of death, sometimes for days, in order to induce visions and deep trance. Such practices are common in magical and spiritual initiations even to this day.
What soul-flight do you need right now? Perhaps now is the time for such inward work.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the burgeoning Springtime now intensifies as Summer Solstice approaches, only a month away. As happily extroverted as this time may be, the rather unusual appearance of the Four of Swords indicates we would be better served by attending to that requires our introspection, solitude, and even a time out.
In this time of ever-escalating change and conflict, intensity is a the new normal. Super-charged, over-stimulated, caffeine- and adrenaline-amped, wired-in 24/7, we spend every waking minute immersed in a cacophony of opinion, infotainment, distraction and the commoditization of consciousness.
But if we never unplug or take a time out, how can we know how we really feel, or (more Swords-like), what we really think?
Do you need time for quiet reflection? Solitary meditation and prayer offer solace and renewal. This is a time to hear your own voice, see your own authentic visions.
The gift of the Four of Swords may come disguised as a delay. Look for opportunities to exercise patience or even disengage from a situation, in order to let time pass.
What rest do you need right now? What quiet healing is available, if only you will turn away for a little while?
Allow yourself this gift of taking your time. Sort out what only you alone can, offering yourself an untroubled retreat within your own soul. Thus may you be the better prepared for more active days that surely lie ahead.