In the card above we see a person sitting high on a mountain spire. He had to climb up there on a ladder, the rungs of which are swords. Swords represent thoughts. There had to be a conscious thought process to lead him to this place of retreat. From this viewpoint he looks out over layers of clouds -his thoughts -which have pushed up against themselves until there is no space between them; clarity is concealed. The cave behind our quester represents the empty space available when we can reorganize our mind. I find it interesting that the cave, actually the entire spire, is shaped much like the man and how he is sitting. Thoughts manifest into form. We become what we think.
The Fours of the Tarot are ruled by the Emperor, number 4 of the Major Arcana. The Emperor ideally represents form, formation, the ability to rule, to delegate and the right use of power. In the midst of all the clouds of the Swords it is good to utilize the Emperor’s tools to re-establish order and take command of our thoughts. The mountain peaks in the card remind us of the grounded nature of the Emperor, that in spite of a messy mind, we have the ability to reform our thinking back into order. The discipline and practice of mental awareness builds over time until we, like the mountain peaks, have a vantage point available for discernment and reflection. The Four of Swords is not so much about emptying our mind but in negotiating a better mind space; a place of truce where we stop fighting with ourselves and sort out the facts, fantasies, and fiction.
In the card shown above, we see a few leaves dropping out of the sky, drifting down to where our thinker is sitting. These leaves are inspiration from somewhere outside the mind, outside the cloudy expanse. Swords are the element of air, which is associated with the East and all things new. The green leaves are the fresh ideas, those “ahas!” that pop into our heads when our mind is clear, not when we are ruminating endlessly on the hamster whee l of linear thinking. Some leaves will drift on by but some will land offering new opportunities for thoughts and action.
Our minds are incredible tools. We cannot control the world, other people, or events but we can learn to have better control over how we think and therefore react to what happens. We get to choose what we want to learn, to read, to study and gain mastery of. We can choose to dwell on negative thought patterns or seek out new, stimulating ideas. We might excel in math or music, poetry or prose. How wonderful it is to engage in lively conversations with like minded people. How frustrating it is when our thoughts are so muddled we can’t even recall basic information.
A beautiful mind is a terrible thing to waste. Your mind is beautiful. If you have forgotten that, please rediscover it and let your beautiful thoughts loose into the world. We surely need them.