[Post updated on 7/19/2021]
The other day, I was sitting at home and thought about what life felt like at that moment. I do this every now and again – sort of a psychic weather check-in.
Well, that particular day, and most of that week, felt calm – almost eerily calm.
Since I spend so much of my time working with the Archetypes of the Tarot, I also saw an image of the 4 of Swords.
Now consider the following three variations of that card from different decks. In this first picture (Rider-Waite version), we see a person lying on an altar perhaps. The stained glass window in the background at least suggests that.
In the second image (Robin Wood version), we have a more colorful scene and in it we see a stone sarcophagus. Notice the eagle wing on the crest – a hint of who may be buried there.
In this last image (Morgan Greer version), it has been made absolutely clear that it is a knight lying there.
The first image hints that the knight is meditating, as suggested by the position of his hands. In the second image, he is most certainly dead, but in the third image, there isn’t enough information to know.
This has been one of the mysteries surrounding this card. Is the knight dead or merely resting? Is it rest and peace, or Rest In Peace?
In numerology, four represents rest. It is the result of linear growth and thus implies pause. I sometimes refer to this card as the calm before the storm. That is because five is a tumultuous number and often suggests challenge.
However, four need not be ominous. Notice how stable four is. We build structures with four walls and we drive cars with four tires. A table stands on four legs. Four represents stability, foundation, and is a platform specifically for resting on or building with.
But four is not an ending. It is not intended to be so and if we rest on our laurels, a five will come along and get us going again.
As I was thinking about this card and the possibility of blogging about it, I kept thinking of this:
A soldier at some point in life must lay down his sword.
Does this mean the soldier has resigned, acquiesced, or has he been captured, defeated, or killed? In all of these cases, the end result is the laying down of the sword.
But let’s not forget that we are talking about a soldier here, a knight, a warrior. The life of a warrior is difficult, strenuous, tiring. Rest is reprieve, an end to the fighting and struggle, be it temporary or permanent.
This is a very powerful archetype right now. Have you noticed the news? In the past week, I have seen more articles about men (primarily) who have committed suicide – specific cases, and general statistics. Young men in their early college years, soldiers, entrepreneurs, and even the middle aged.
In all cases, the result is the end of a significant struggle. We’ll probably never know the half of it.
I was thinking about something else while I was walking today. It is interesting that two represents both partnership and opposition. Why? These are such contrary meanings.
Well, if you consider the Law of Attraction, then it doesn’t matter if you are for something, or against it, when you fight, you are entangled. So, according to the Law of Attraction, the War on Terror creates as much terror as a terrorists. Metaphysically, they are attached. It is the same as cops and robbers, armies and war. If you build a defense, you attract offense. Despite what most think, you cannot create peace through war.
So, in metaphysical terms, and as an archetype, the laying down of a sword is good. It is a letting go. That doesn’t mean we should never fight. There are times when fighting is exactly the right and best thing for an individual to do. Only that one person can know deep in their heart whether fighting is the right choice.
Remember, the universe has no judgment to any of this – not when viewed from a high enough level. We are here for experience and overcoming obstacles is an experience. It is empowering.
Yet there is a time to let go and allow. Take for instance death. We cannot fight for every life and win. We cannot defeat death, either our own or the death of loved ones. At some point, we have to lay down the sword and accept death.
Yet, just as four is not an end, neither is death. Death is most certainly a beginning. In fact, from what I think at this point, death is easier than birth. When we die, we move from a place of less knowing to one of more knowing. We move from a realm filled with suffering to one that is peaceful and celebratory.
And why do I think this? Well, for one, I had an experience a couple of years back that supported this idea. A man, who had committed suicide three days earlier, contacted me. I had never met the man, but knew who he was. We had a few close friends in common.
When this man spoke to me, he conveyed a message to his friends that he hoped I would deliver. After that, I also received information about him from ‘beings’ I more typically communicate with.
In a nutshell, the messages were about wellbeing. He confessed that he did not see, while alive, solutions that he did see afterward. And he was nonetheless welcomed on the other side with love. The overall feeling of the message was peace, at least until I agreed to deliver the message. Then I was bathed in absolute joy and bliss.
When we mourn, we mourn our loss. Yes, the loved one is no longer within reach as they once were. We cannot see them, touch them, or talk to them in the same way. But they are still there, or here, or somewhere. And we can feel them and hear them, albeit not easily.
And all of this talk about death is not simply talk. A furry, four-legged angel that I loved as much as any living being ever has passed on this very morning. And mixed with sadness is the appreciation to have had so many days seeing his beautiful face. It is times like this when we have an opportunity to appreciate the others more dearly. I still have both of my cats, and tell them I love them every day I see them.
Time is ever rolling and the Wheel of Fortune is ever turning. The best we can do is get in rhythm with the universe as much as we can. That means, during the 4 of Swords, rest, let go, take a deep breath, retreat, and recollect. Recharge your batteries and fill your tanks. And appreciate what is there beside you right now. Take advantage of the time you are given today. Some day, you are going to look back, and be happy you had.
After 20 years of living near the ocean, I am now in Austin, TX. And because I took full and frequent advantage of the beach when it was within reach, I am content living away from it now. There is so much to love here and I am doing my best to remind myself of that today…
Big Hugs to everyone!