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In quietness and confidence, shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15

For several days this week I couldn’t identify why a feeling of heaviness troubled me.

I went to my Shadowscapes Tarot deck – my first, most personal and trusted deck. When I turned the deck to begin to shuffle, there on the bottom was the message I needed to receive – the Four of Swords.  

Last week a couple was brutally attacked while at anchor on a nearby island. Within the past month we’ve heard of attacks or thefts in the cruising community in the islands where we have up until now felt very safe. I kept envisioning scenarios in my mind of what I would do if someone boarded my boat and attacked me or Chris. I felt as if I was drowning in my thoughts. I wasn’t sleeping well, I wasn’t focused, and I was cranky.  

I revisited the artist’s (Stephanie Pui-Mun Law) description of this card: “Her limbs are composed in the attitude of death, but this is not the final sleep. It is just a moment of rest and recovery. Her mind floats free. … Close your eyes, and find that still and silent place at your core, where inner strength resides. Draw from that reserve in the times to come.”

The Four of Swords tells us it’s time to take a break from our troubles, real or imagined. It asks us to lay down the betrayals, hurts, and sorrows of the Three of Swords (it was a betrayal I was feeling – wasn’t it?) and seek silent meditation for a deeper awareness in order to find our answers.

The figure in this card holds a sword in vertical alignment with her body’s energy centers or chakras. Her hands hold the sword  above and below her heart chakra as if protecting herself from words not spoken represented by the throat chakra and the mouth and the tightness of fear (“flight or fight”)  represented by the solar plexus chakra and the feet. When we get stuck in our thoughts and aren’t able to express them, we create our own cage around ourselves and find ourselves continually trapped as in the Eight of Swords.

Inner contemplation of the heart is what is needed when we are visited by the Four of Swords. Like the Swords suit in Tarot, the heart chakra represents the Air Element. The heart chakra is also the fourth chakra, residing in the center of the chakras – the place of Spirit.  It is located at the heart, upper chest, and upper back. It is where we find balance between the material world (the lower three chakras) and the spirit world (the upper three chakras). Through the heart chakra, we open to and connect with harmony and peace. The Sanskrit name is Anahata and implies unstruck or unhurt.

In my yoga practice I can open the heart chakra by doing backbend postures. These poses help to develop trust by allowing me to lead with my heart and surrender my fears. As my heart moves away from my head and my chest opens I give my troubling thoughts to the universe thereby allowing my mind and body to relax.

The Four of Swords asks us to let go of those thoughts that are constricting our ability to open our hearts, still our restless minds, and seek guidance from our higher power whatever we conceive that to be.


*Linda & Chris have been traveling and living in the Caribbean on their sailboat, Troubadour. Read about their journey at http://sailingtroubadour.blogspot.com

*Image of “Four of Swords” from Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

*Linda & Chris have implemented several safety measures aboard Troubadour, and are adding others as a result of the most recent news.

*Our hearts go out to the couple on S/V Rainbow and we thank them for their courage in sharing their story. Read about the attack on the sailors here: http://amarulasail.com/2013/10/07/lets-all-ensure-anchorages-are-for-cruisers-not-criminals/