Welcome to TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast. I’m glad you are here.
Today’s card is the four of swords.
There are reasons for all of the lore around Tarot decks.
Bottom line, they are bits of heavy paper with pictures on them. Full stop.
It’s not the cards, it’s the person using them and how they are used. They are the big theater screen where we can project our intuition and make it easier to see. They are a giant mirror that reflects ourselves so we can see that better too.
The genius in Pamela Smiths treatment of the minor arcana number cards is that she hits on very archetypal, foundational, core ideas. It’s hard to improve them. So, so many decks are rightfully derived from that body of work. Before Smith’s work, as I understand it, most decks had pips…a grouping of the suit’s symbols…instead of fully fledged images like the ones she created.
Some of the cards are fairly consistent across all of he derived decks. The three of swords is a good example. Almost every three of swords that I’ve seen has some iteration of heart and swords and something getting stabbed. The four of swords has much more variation. In the RWS deck, you see a knight in repose, taking a lil’ nap with all of his favorite pointy objects, no stabbing in sight. Mark Evans, artist for the Witches Tarot, depicts a grumpy looking lady with one sword in hand, dress swirling to denote movement and activity, with the other three swords close by. It’s not a particularly restful image. Here Lenny Magner give us four disembodied heads stabbed with swords for the Alleyman’s Tarot. The faces look sleepy, possibly dead, and winds up being more disconcerting than restful. Seven Dane Asmund’s interpretation of the card resonates with this image. The Alleyman’s Notebook interprets it as having to do with self-doubt, where he writes “nothing sticks like the daggers we put in ourselves.”
As disparate as it all seems, all of these different images fit together like pieces of a bigger picture.
Think of the ubiquitous and sometime slightly annoying email courtesy of telling people to “have a great day.”
Not every day is great. Some days are a hot mess. Other times you need to turn down the wattage and have just a day. Any day. A no big deal, kinda routine, go make the donuts day. Those days are as great as any other. When we expect perfection from ourselves, it is all too easy to slip into stabbing ourselves in the head with self-doubt. A little rest and repose from self-imposed expectations can be a wonderful thing. Even the Witches Tarot sword swinging grumpy girl has a part to play. External activity, working and adulting still has to happen which covers the action aspect of the swords cards in general. Sometimes you have to, as the shoe commercials used to say, just do it. Swords are also associated with intellect and the mind. That is the kind of rest and repose the four of swords talks about today.
Give being your own worst critic a rest.
Nevermind great. Sometimes just having a day is an accomplishment.
Thanks so much for reading and listening! I’ll see you at the next sip!
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The deck pictured is the Alleyman’s Tarot by Seven Dane Asmund, used with permission.