Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rest and Relaxation, brought to you by the Four of Swords

Fours, in numerology, is the number of stability and balance. There are four points on the compass, four elements in the Western tradition, and four seasons.  There are four sides in a square, and four legs on a table. There are also four aspects to the human being--physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

The Four of Swords signifies a time of rest and rejuvenation after a struggle or a period of intense mental activity.

Kris Waldherr's Goddess Deck shows Isis reclining under the points of Four Swords.  Looking at the card, you may feel that the points are ominous and menacing Swords of Damocles, literally. Since the Four of Swords signifies an only temporary truce, this card can carry an underlying tension. But, again, it's all in the interpretation of the card, and the same card may show something different to the same reader at each reading. Another person may see, or another reading may show, the swords as Isis's own swords, and they keep her safe and secure while she rests before rising to face a new challenge.

 In Robin Wood's deck, three of the four swords are sheathed, and one is carved into the stone of the sepulcher.  The swords are put to rest as well.  Now is not the time for the questioner to brain storm (the Swords are aligned with the mental realm) or sharpen his wits. Now is the time to take care of herself. From the position of the shield on the chest, now is a time for, at most, a defensive position. Do not take the offensive.  Take a temporary peace to recharge before going back to the challenge or conflict at hand.  Relish the relaxation, and feel gratitude.

The Celtic Deck shows people having a meal. Depending on how you read the card, this scene may tell about a temporary truce or ceasefire, or a retaking up of arms after a temporary truce. On what razor thin edge is the questioner balancing? Is it heading toward peace, or an explosion?
Perhaps the questioner is more like the fellow up in the balcony, or the serving man carrying the tray of food, or the unarmed host.  What does this vantage point offer? Can they influence the outcome of the situation?

Barbara G. Walker's Four of Swords shows a sorceress at rest, but on her guard.  Her swords form a protective boundary around her as she etches the protective pentagram onto the ground in front of her.  The four swords, with the square that they form around her, also help her keep balanced metaphorically.
She is in a cave, the symbol of the womb, and of regeneration. When she leaves her resting place, she will be stronger and better prepared for the problems that she may face. In that regard, the Four of Swords may be telling the questioner to not only take a break to rejuvenate, but to gather intelligence and possible defensive and offensive mechanisms.

When reversed, the Four of Swords mean that a truce or a time-out is denied, or that the period of rest and truce is coming to an end.

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