That’s what’s been happening for me with Four of Swordsing lately.
I guess it started when I was writing Dreams & Themes for 2021 and the Four of Swords was one of the cards that came up for January’s collective reading.
Not long after that, I came across the Nap Ministry on Instagram – they offer reflections around rest as resistance to white supremacy and capitalism.
And just yesterday, I was listening to an episode of On Being featuring Katherine May, author of a book called Wintering, about holding space for the fallow seasons of life, during both literal and metaphoric winters.
Just this morning someone DM’d me the above photo saying it reminded them of The Spacious Tarot. When I clicked over to see more from the photographer, @mikkolagersted, below was the most recent photo on their feed…
Here where I live, in the land currently known as Utah, we’ve had drizzling snow flurries for a few days now. So in many ways, Four of Swordsy messages are presenting themselves to me. Synchronicities abound.
My keywords for this card are reprieval and contemplation. In the guidebook for the Spacious Tarot I wrote that this card is “a disengagement from the go, go, go mentality of the dominant culture.” Swords are associated with the mental realm, so naturally they have to do with learning. But they also have to do with unlearning.
The concept of ‘unlearning’ is something I’ve seen coming up in wider and wider circles lately, and I love welcoming this notion into a mainstream conversation. So many things I’ve learned personally – and so many things we’ve learned collectively – are harmful, superficial, destructive, outdated and tired.
Part of the lesson of the Four of Swords is unlearning the story that being constantly “productive” is indicative of your worth. It’s particularly challenging when we do exist within broader systems that still push this narrative. But it gives me hope to see so many people questioning this concept and moving into new narratives. New narratives, fuck yeah!
There’s an interesting nuance in how I’ve been thinking about the Four of Swords lately. It’s a four, and fours have broader themes of stability. But in any deck (and of course, particularly in the Spacious Tarot) this card has always felt expansive to me. This card doesn’t symbolize a fixed mental state – which would be a perfectly reasonable interpretation when combining the suit and element. No, the Four of Swords symbolizes a centered mental state.
So a question to ask yourself: what does it mean to you to be centered? What centers you? Are you truly valuing those things? Are the things that once served you in this capacity still effective? How can you carve out more space for yourself and others to become centered? And how can you engage with these questions not from a place of rushing to find an answer, not from a place of pressuring yourself, but from a place of gentle openness?
That idea of gentle openness and expansiveness is essential. I love the vast, snowy landscape on the Spacious Tarot version of this card (and the photographs shared above too). There’s room here for your mind to wander. Meander. Drift, as snow drifts. All of this drifting is not aimless. On the contrary, it is necessary for the kind of deep processing and centering we are called to personally and collectively.
In a conversation with a client recently, we talked about the fact that snow is quiet. Snow actually absorbs sound waves, so when there’s a blanket of snow on the ground, the noise level literally drops. I love this as a metaphor for dialing down the static and attuning more acutely to subtle messages within and around you. Listening is a integral part of Four of Swordsing.
And one more loose connection to draw for now. I think there’s some tie ins here to the last post I wrote about the Hierophant and belief systems. I wrote “no matter how rigid belief systems or societal norms seem, there’s always the potential for them to disintegrate and take new shapes.” I think some of the Four of Swords explorations above support those reflections on the Hierophant.
Wishing you spaciousness + centeredness for your own Four of Swordsing,