I forgot to pull a card last week. And when I went to pull one today, I stopped myself. One card was already on my mind, and since we haven’t looked at it yet, I decided to go with it: the Four of Swords.
Looks morbid, doesn’t it? But this is not a death card. The fours of any Minor Arcana suit (Wands, Cups, Swords or Pentacles) represent stability. Sometimes, as here, that implies a lack of vigorous activity, but death is not the only alternative.
On the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the number four is associated with the sephirah (or emanation) called Chesed. Chesed is the Hebrew word for mercy and loving-kindness. Maybe that accounts for why this card feels restful and somehow rejuvenating to me, but not deadly.
When I see this card, I don’t picture myself as the dead knight who presumably lies in the sarcophagus. Instead, I imagine walking into a peaceful, calm mausoleum, dedicated to someone who fought the good fight; perhaps with a literal sword, but perhaps not. In the Tarot, Swords represent the element of air, which in turn represents our thoughts and wits and, well, our minds. So perhaps this is a man who learned to calm and train his thoughts; someone who learned how to avoid getting carried away with them.
So I don’t think of this as a creepy, scary and airless mausoleum. No,to me it’s intended for respectful visitors. And when I visualize myself there, I also visualize myself breathing slowly, praying softly and quieting my own hyper-active thoughts.
(And that’s the sort of character I associate with this card too, when I’m writing. Someone who’s seeking that rest. Someone who needs to stop a crazy train of thoughts before that train crashes!)
What does this card suggest to you? Do you find it morbid or creepy, or does it suggest rest and rejuvenation? Or something else entirely? And what do you make of the stained glass window? It has a Christian look to it, certainly, but I’ve never been able to figure out exactly which religious figure is represented. Perhaps it’s purposely left vague?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. And, as always, if this card inspires a meta, poem, story or work of art, please leave a link. And now for next week’s card: the Ace of Cups.