The number 4 symbolizes earthly reality, basic structure and orientation, and stability – think of the 4 seasons, 4 directions and 4 elements of earth, air, fire and water. Swords represent reason, thought, logic, will, courage, verbal skill, matters pertaining to the mind and survival in the world and the element of air. Traditionally this card symbolizes a need to withdraw oneself and recharge your batteries.
“You’re privately manifesting your philosophy. You’re taking quiet action based on you attitudes, opinions, and beliefs. You are having internal conversations with parts of yourself. Or, you could be talking about someone behind her back! The communication that’s happening is not public.” – Gail Fairfield.
The Tarot of Dreams 4 of Swords shows an exhausted knight sleeping with his sword beneath him. His Helmet rests by his side and 3 additional swords are crossed before him,as though offering protection. The knight seems to be nude with a blanket thrown over him. His head is cradled in his arms as though trying to offer some protection or to help ward off nightmares. Perhaps the things he has seen and done in the midst of battle have mentally as well as physically exhausted him and drained his stamina and reserves.
The Ferret Tarot shows a much more humorous and adorable approach to this concept. A cluster of ferrets are curled up in a ball and sleeping together. One gets the sense that they exhausted themselves by frolicking and playing together all now and now they are tired and need to recharge the batteries. They seem quite comfortable and happy to be huddle in a bundle. It’s almost impossible to tell where one ferret ends and the next begins.
Both these cards show creatures who have exhausted their reserves and need to rest and relax in order to recharge their batteries. However the cards are reversed for me today. Which makes sense on a number of levels because there are things in my life that are exhausting me right now but from which I can take a rest. Unfortunately they are not things I can just walk away from or avoid. So perhaps this card is telling me that I need to find other ways to get the rest I need. I don’t think it’s about physical rest – as important as that is. I think this card is suggesting that the rest I need and seek should come from being exhausted due to participating in things I will enjoy or feel serve a useful purpose rather than being wiped out by drudge work and family obligations which I acknowledge but can’t say I embrace. Maybe if I am able to find ways to offset the obligations with things that I enjoy and which are fun and fulfilling, I won’t feel as drained and brain-dead.
On another level I think this card is reflecting the sadness I feel that a childhood friend has lost her fight with ovarian cancer and passed away on Saturday. Today was her wake and the hubby and I attended. It was sad because she was young and leaves behind two young sons who probably have precious few memories of their mother and most of them would be after she was diagnosed. She was such a fighter and radiant spirit that somehow I always thought she would beat it. Unfortunately her physical body gave out even though her spirit stayed strong. The exhausted knight on the Tarot of Dreams 4 of Swords reminds me of her battle and that while this card is about rest, sometimes it’s a more permanent form.