The Card of the Day: The Four of Swords

“Rest.” 

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The Four of Swords symbolizes our need for inner-peace. It encourages rest and recuperation. The appearance of the Four of Swords gently reminds you to call your attention to your body, and any areas where tension has been building up. You may need to give yourself some peace and quiet to rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit. You could also find that it's time to let go of whatever is preventing a sense of peace and causing inner-suffering.

Do you feel inner-peace, or have you been suffering?" When is the last time you gave yourself a relaxing mid-day nap? Do you need a break from the stress that's built up?

Hidden in the upper left-corner of the stained-glass window in the Four of Swords is the word: PAX (Latin for PEACE).[1] Aside from encouraging rest, this card asks if you are feeling inner-peace. Often the cause for suffering in our lives is attachment to things that need to be surrendered. Trying to control outcomes or hanging onto a path that no longer brings rewards are examples of this. Identify anything that is interfering with your inner peace. Is it a life path that you honestly aren't happy with? Is it a fixed attachment to a specific outcome? Wouldn't it be a relief to finally let the source of your suffering go and see what new wonders await you? We are often very good at rationalizing why we need to suffer, but there is no rationalization for it. You can choose inner-peace and let go of whatever you've outgrown that keeps preventing a sense of being at peace within yourself.

Another way to bring a sense of inner-peace is deep breathing. Secure ten minutes for yourself where you won't be disturbed.  Sit back and relax in a comfy chair. Bring your awareness to your body. With your mind, slowly scan the sensations of your body from head to toe. Is there an area with tightness built up? Find the area of tightness and relax the muscles surrounding this area as much as you can. When you identify where the tension has built up, it’s time to breathe into it. Empty all the air from your lungs. Take a deep breath, slowly inhaling through your nostrils over an eight second count. Fill your body with revitalizing air. Let your stomach expand with the inhalation. Inhale the revitalizing oxygen into the place of tension. Hold the air there for eight seconds, right in the tense spot. While holding the air, purse your lips as if you were about to drink from a small straw. Exhale all the air over eight counts through this aperture slowly. It should sound like a dolphin’s exhalation. (PPHHHHHHHHH). Use your abdomen to press all the old air out of your body. Let all the tension escape with the breath. Feel the muscles around the tense spot relax even further. Repeat this breath exercise with two more healing inhalations and exhalations (Eight counts in, hold eight counts in stressed spot, release through pursed lips eight counts). With each exhalation allow your body to let go of all the accumulated strains of the week.

People in Western culture often need to be reminded to breathe, relax, and let go. Modern humans are always being stimulated by tasks, media, and demands. Breathing is the easiest way to release tension, but there are so many other ways to relax. Take a nice hot bath with candles and scented water. Sip a cool refreshing drink or soothing herbal tea. Take a relaxing nap for an hour just to rest your brow. Read your favorite book with snuggly blankets a cup of cocoa. Take a breather in a cool darkened room.

When the Four of Swords appears, you must allow yourself rest and recuperation. Perhaps it’s time to plan a vacation, or even a walk in Nature. You don't need to suffer. Blessings will always come to those who are at peace within themselves.

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[1]Theresa Reed, The Tarot Coloring Book (Boulder: Sounds True, 2016), 102.

My friend and colleague Theresa Reed (a.k.a. the Tarot Lady) first brought my attention to this interesting little detail hidden in the stained-glass window.

Elliot Oracle