In this blog series, I'll draw a card at random and use its energy and ideas to cook up five brain-sizzling creativity prompts. You can use these to think about particular situation you are experiencing, or as writing prompts to get your creative juices flowing, or simply as food for thought to fill an idle moment. You can journal these prompts, or just mull them over in your mind, meditate on them, workshop them collaboratively, or blog them (if you're sharing them somewhere, let me know in the comments below! I'd love to see what you come up with). I'll be using the Aquarian Tarot for this draw, so my comments will refer specifically to its imagery, but feel free to draw from a different deck if you prefer!
Our card this week? The Four of Swords.
Let's get started!
1. The most prominent message of the Four of Swords is the idea of rest and recuperation. This card represents a temporary withdrawal from society, and also from the hamster wheel of repetitive thinking. Because Swords represent communication, as well as intellectual life, I often read this card as a need to take an information fast. Switch off the phone and the computer, turn away from the television and tell your loved ones you're unavailable for a time. How would an information fast impact upon your mind? Your creative life? Do you already do this, or does it make you want to run for the hills? What impact do you think inner and outer silence might have on your creative work?
2. Consider the imagery. Before I tell you where this image leads my mind, do some reflection or free writing on where it takes you. What do you see in the figure, in the swords, in the background? What associations do you make? Where might you have seen such an image before?
3. The knight in repose here immediately makes me think of knights in armor, the crusades, and (here I'm showing the origins of my poor understanding of that particular historical phenomenon)... Indiana Jones! I think my subconscious truly believes Harrison Ford is about to leap through that stained glass window. Shake out the seriousness for a second and remember a beloved childhood film, book, or experience. Does this card stimulate any buried memories for you? Does it make you feel like getting your netflix on and watching something nostalgic? Before you plug in (remember, information fast!), do a little reflection. Describe the object of your nostalgia. What does it mean to you? Who did you share it with? Does it stand the test of time?
4. In Tarot 101, Kim Huggens explains how the numbers of the Minor Arcana align with the spheres of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. Fours are Chesed, or the power of mercy. Considering what we've already discovered in this card (maybe leaving Indiana Jones aside for a minute!), think about how you show mercy and compassion to yourself when you are overwhelmed. Do you allow yourself to take a break and rest, or do you drive yourself relentlessly? And what about others - your family, coworkers, friends? Do you allow for rest in your day to day, or do feel you need to be constantly "on"?
5. Finally, the rest that this card represents is a refueling for further adventures. Let's think about dreams for a moment. What goes on in your mind when you're sleeping? Perhaps, like me, you sleep like the dead and rarely remember your dreams, or maybe you dream vividly, prophetically, or creatively. Do your dreams ever assist you in your waking life? Recall the last significant dream you had. Describe it in detail. Does it have any message to offer you, anything you can take away from it into your waking life? In what subtle ways does your resting mind refuel itself and inspire you?
Let me know how you get on with The Four of Swords in the comments!