The Four of Swords WIP from Tarot for Atheists

Four of Swords

How do you make a sword invisible?  Let a coward wear it!  (thank you, Lawrence Schoonover). Or you beat it into a plowshare, or bury it.  After a long spell of war – this is a peace near death. This card is for people recovering from wars, civil unrest, long imprisonment, every kind of harassment. It may also refer to recuperation after mental and physical illness, agoraphobia, escape from a cult.  Also ugly divorces, separation from traumatizing families, being a refugee and finally arriving somewhere you will not be forced to leave. It may signify a voluntary retreat from the world (yoga, meditation, building a cabin, hiking the West Coast trail, setting up a research camp in the Arctic, even a few hours stolen from ‘real life’ to work in your garden), retirement from active duty, or being relieved of duty.  This card may in its most literal sense be a request from the universe for you to stop and mourn your kin and friends, or to be thankful for surviving some horrible life event, and to mourn those who didn’t make it.

If death and rest are not what is represented, perhaps it is the emptiness, or feeling of internal dislocation, that sometimes follows after working your ass off for years, and reaching your goal.

It may represent a pause in life when you may think about writing your memoirs. You may be contemplating the people you’ve been loyal to, and why; the stained glass shows the young knight swearing fealty.

There is another, non-literal, interpretation of the card: climate instability; this card shows a tomb, the brevity of a human life, compared to the stone the tomb is hewn from. Geological time scales. The slow groan of the earth. The light from a star slowed by glass.

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Born when atmospheric carbon was 316 PPM. Settled on MST country since 1997. Parent, grandparent.

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