Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.
It’s been a long time since this card came calling, but after all the Major Arcana cards recently, it is a welcome one. Say hello this week to the Four of Swords.
The Fours in the Tarot are about stabilizing, grounding, and completion of a cycle. They all refer back to the big Four of the Major Arcana, which just happens to be last week’s Emperor. They all offer information about our authority and personal sovereignty.
In the Swords suit, which rules the mind, perception, and thought, we often see conflict and strife. But the Four of Swords offers a quieting influence, indicating a period of seclusion, rest, and even the renunciation of busy worldly pursuits.
Tarot artist and scholar Robert Place writes that this card reflects 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.
Unlike the Nine of Swords, which portrays troubled sleep, dark grieving, and even nightmares, the Four is lighter, more gentle, and peaceful.
Note that the Four is located in a sacred space. So, a spiritual retreat, especially one that emphasizes silence, could bring you needed solace, insight, and renewal.
Step Away from the Noise
With the rhetoric of media and the news at a blistering crescendo — the U.S. impeachment, the shake-down of Brexit, betrayal and war in Syria, upheaval in Hong Kong, just to name a few — the Four of Swords indicates that just now, we might be better served by introspection, solitude, and even a time out.
News and views are firehosing into our lives non-stop, not to mention the ongoing escapades of the cult of personality. Maybe this could be a chance to take for media fast.
We certainly live in a world of ever-escalating change and conflict, and intensity is the new normal. Super-charged, over-stimulated, caffeine- and adrenaline-amped, we are wired-in 24/7. We spend every waking minute immersed in a cacophony of opinion, infotainment, distraction, and the commoditization of our very consciousness.
If we never unplug or take a break, how can we know what we really think?
As an obsessive reader, putting my books, magazines, and devices away for a week is agonizing … at first!
But then, without fail, wonderful changes stir in my mind and spirit. I begin to hear my own voice — stronger, clearer, unedited. My creative genius can come through with less distortion and competition.
Samhain, Pluto, and Saturn, Oh My!
The Four of Swords also suggests patience. In fact, its gifts may come disguised as delay.
Look for opportunities to exercise forbearance or even disengage from a conflict, in order to let time pass.
Our card suggests a well-considered pause before plunging into the frantic pace and commitments that are doubtless tugging on your sleeve.
Samhain is less than three weeks away. This observance of the old Celtic New Year is a holiday of reckoning. It is the final harvest when we consider which of our year’s aspirations have borne fruit, and which have not. Then, hot on its heels, the avalanche of the holiday season will be upon us.
In addition, we are all under tremendous pressure, as the Pluto-Saturn conjunction period continues to build towards its climax next January.
My good friend Sally Nurney has some very illuminating wisdom about this in her Lunar Lowdown for the Oct. 13 Full Moon. Although she practices sidereal astrology, rather than the more commonly known tropical system, her message this week about the Pluto-Saturn interaction is powerfully resonant.
She also discusses the importance of the star Spica in this week’s lineup. Every year the Sun is within six degrees of Spica, from October 12 to 23, and will be exact this week, around October 17 and 18. Why does this matter?
Spica has the ability to transfer awareness from the super conscious to the waking conscious mind and can also enhance lucid dreaming states and psychic abilities. Spica strengthens the physical body in the cervical vertebrae of the spine. This is the physical location in the body that symbolizes the separation of body and mind.
So Spica creates an interchange between the separated selves assisting in the remembrance that there is ultimately no separation. Thus, Spica helps to bring the principle of oneness more fully into our conscious minds.
Michael Smulkis and Fred Rubenfeld, Starlight Elixirs and Cosmic Vibrational Healing
What could be a better illustration of this, than the Four of Swords?
Who Gets Into Your Head?
It is imperative that we be more judicious with what we allow into our mind’s eye.
Whose voices, opinions, and images are disturbing your inner peace? What would happen if you turned them all off for a little while?
The Four of Swords offers a breather from the danger of overload and burnout.
Is it nudging you to step back for some reflective time? Solitary meditation and prayer may bring you new understanding. This is a chance to hear your own voice, know your own opinions, see your own authentic visions.
What rest do you hunger for? What quiet healing is available, if only you will turn within for a little while?
Seek peacefulness. We all need to be alone sometimes — to incubate new ideas, to re-calibrate our inner compass, to vision-quest, and to open and receive those answers we are seeking.
What is necessary, to help you tap into your deepest levels of knowing?
Allow yourself the gift of slowing down. Sort out what only you alone can, nurturing an untroubled sanctuary within your own private sacred space.
Thus will you be better prepared for the busier days that surely lie ahead.