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The Four of Swords and the Benefits of Retreat. Today's Tea and Tarot Blog

--Hyperion Night, Beanblossom's Tea & Tarot

4 of Swords Tarot Card: It's safe for my mind to be still. I am present.

Four of Swords

Retreat. Relaxation. Solitude. Stillness.

I escaped to Donner Lake in the Sierra Nevada’s last weekend, though I couldn’t escape the smoke from the west coast’s raging wildfires. It whitened the sky and blurred the pines. In spite of the acrid scent mixing with the sweet smell of sugar pines, the lake had its usual relaxing effect on me. The ocean is relaxing too, but there’s something quieter and stiller about a lake. A passing motor may make the waves slap more loudly against the shore, but after half a dozen crashes the waves subside again to a gentle rhythm. (Yes, there’s a bigger metaphor here).

But I nearly didn’t escape the demon that’s been pursuing me for months, namely the torrent of stimulus from my computer. I’d brought it with me to do some lakeside work, thinking the fresh environment would inspire me. Soon, though not soon enough, I closed my laptop.

My brain relaxed with the susurration of the waves. All I wanted to do was sit and study the play of light on water. My mind went to stillness, and I became fully present. I was at the lake, and what a waste to be tapping on my laptop instead of in the water.

Two stellar jays alighted, arguing loudly, in a nearby pine. They hopped from branch to branch and resolved nothing. (And yes, this too is a metaphor, but it also really happened). I observed them, smiling, until they flew deeper into the pines. Then I stripped down and went swimming. A Canadian goose paddled over to bob along companionably beside me.

In Tarot, the suit of swords represent our thoughts. The Four of Swords invites us to give them a break. To step away and still our minds, retreat, relax. The card calls us to step out of that whirling hamster wheel of brain activity, because stillness when combined with presence is the key to right action. Sometimes clarity comes when you step away from the problem, but your brain has to step away from the problem too. You can’t come at things fresh, gain clarity, if you’re constantly cycling through the same thoughts.

Let your mind be still as a summer lake beneath a cloudless sky.

4 of Swords Meditation:

Breathe in stillness.

Breathe out and relax.

Breathe in and be present.

Breathe out and relax.

Breathe and feel.

Feel the air on your skin.

Feel your breath moving in and out of your lungs.

Feel your body.

Breathe in and be present.

Breathe out and enjoy the moment.

Breathe in presence.

Breathe out. It feels good to be in the moment.

Breathe in. All you need is now.

Breathe out and relax. You are safe.

Breathe in stillness.

Breathe out and relax.

Can't make it to the lake? Relax with some Tea and Tarot at Beanblossom's!

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