The Four of Swords
The Star Tarot Deck, Cathy McClelland
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood
November 22, 2017
The Swords are the Suit of the Mind and are traditionally associated with the East. The Four of Swords is when the agitation of cruel and self-punishing thoughts are put to rest. We go to sleep without the hamsters racing on the wheel all night. We have found a mental stability that allows us to re-group, re-organize, and re-establish our thoughts. We reach a state of mental truce.
I especially love this card which is oriented towards all things of the West, the time of year we are currently enjoying. We have the Bear, the traditional Spirit Guide of the West, who brings protection. Bear is hibernating between the worlds of present and future reminding us we can also go “between” by surrendering our conscious world of thoughts through deep rest and by entering the Dreamtime. Salmon in the Water is also a sign of the West. As this great fish returns home at the end of a long cycle, it surrenders its worn out and expended body to become food for the bears.
Deep within a cave, under the starry sky, a man sleeps with the bears as they watch over him yet share his hibernation. He is surrounded by the same night sky as we see above the outside ground, showing us he has entered the Dreamtime. The four swords imbedded in the trees offer a sense of peace, of surrendering all thoughts and conflict to allow the space and time to process. His hands crossed over his chest remind us that heartfelt thoughts bring us peace of mind.
The ability to surrender our thoughts is a course of mastery we work at our entire lives. We are daily exposed to an onslaught of information. We cannot possibly understand or internalize it all and nor should we! What is true? What is false? How does that information apply to me? Whose opinion is this? Why do I even think what I think?
Depicting this card in a West setting opens us to approach things from a different point of view. By re-orienting our thoughts we discover new worlds within us that call to be explored. We find truths buried beneath layers of unconscious, rote opinions. By going deeper into our subconscious mind we are released from superficial mind clutter that over burdens us.
What Swords could you lay down? What thoughts are you ready to surrender to negotiate for yourself a new way of thinking that brings win-win situations to your life? When was the last time you consciously chose to take a time out, to rest your mind and be quiet? Does your thinking process tell you that you always have to be right? Is that some kind of control issue? What IS Truth, anyway? Opinions are very polarizing yet they express different sides of the whole. How we sort out our own Truth helps us discover more of the Whole and how we live and function as a part of it.
How do you defend The Truth? Sometimes we have to take up our Sword, draw a line in the sand, and take a stand to be the defenders - but that is different Tarot card. For now, with the Four of Swords, we allow ourselves to be a peace and regroup our troubled minds.
One of my favorite quotes is from an old Donovan song: “love is hot – truth is molten.” In its molten-ness, Truth cannot be contained, will burn through everything blocking its advancement, and eventually, like hot lava reaching the ocean, build up new islands of firm ground. Perhaps the molten quality of Truth calls us to a larger thinking to create new pathways in our brain, to expand our capacity of thinking to better allow Truth to burn through us and reform us.
This is what our minds are capable of. This is what our minds do. The more we open and expand, the more capacity we gain, and our restricted, constricted thought patterns get burned up in the molten advance of the Truth through us.
We become the Dreamtime. We become the Protectors. We become Truth.
…Kathryn Ravenwood, November 22, 2017