Jupiter wants to grow and expand, but earth is slow, it tries
to hold Jupiter back, slow it down, but Jupiter keeps moving forward. The Four of Swords demands that Jupiter’s
growth be gradual and grounded – steady, secure, and not too fast, for when it
is too fast there is a danger of burnout.
Jupiter is inherently generous and the earth element is about the
conserving of resources, so there can be tension here too. The earth element is here saying, “yes, be
generous, but judiciously so, rather than throwing your resources around in
such a way that they might be taken for granted, or not appreciated.”
When they built cathedrals in the Middle Ages they would not
build the walls higher then 10 feet in a year, so that they would have time to
settle and stabilize. That’s Four of
Swords energy – proceeding in a grounded manner. It certainly is not the current way of our
culture, which prizes swiftness of movement and reaching goals as fast as
The Four of Swords makes me think of the Great Pyramid, for
swords rule physicality and stone, and Jupiter signifies anything that is immense
— gigantic. The Four of Swords is
encouraging you to go step by step, and to be patient and persevering in your
And as Jupiter signifies learning, the Four of Swords can
mean learning practical sorts of things, wise things you can apply to everyday
life to make it run more easily and smoothly.
Jupiter can be over-optimistic and when it is, it can take
on too much, which can then slow it down.
The Four of Swords is cautioning against this. It is asking you to be realistic about your
expansiveness, to realize your own limits of time, energy and resources, even
as you maintain a steadily optimistic attitude about your efforts and goals, so
that you can keep going. It is like the
tortoise in Aesop’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare.
The number of this card is 68, which adds up to 14, the
number of Taurus, which rules perseverance and stamina – stubbornness used
positively. And 68 is the third
manifestation of 14, the cycle being 14-59-68.
And three (the third manifestation in any cycle) signifies Libra – how
we relate to things. It’s also
interesting to note that the next number in the 14 cycle is 77, which is the
number of the Queen of Swords, which is the court card ruled by Taurus. And, of course, the digits of 14 add to 5,
which in the Major Arcana is Jupiter, the same planet which rules this card, as
the fourth station of The Tree of Life is ruled by Jupiter.
This card also seems to be asking us to be thorough, for
when we grow gradually we have more time to be thorough. It’s all about pacing ourselves.
The number 68 is generated by multiplying 2 X 2 X 17, those
numbers adding up to 21, the Arcanum called The World, and ruled by the
Sun. That card is about keeping focused
on a purpose, and about always seeing in a situation what is most important, so
that our vision doesn’t become distorted by focusing on details of lesser
consequence. Also 2 X 2 is 4 which is
Scorpio, and so 68 is Scorpio – Arcanum 4 – merged with Gemini – Arcanum
17. Gemini can so easily get out of hand
and wander off into many different places, but Scorpio can control it in a
positive way, reign it in and direct it.
Of course negatively this could mean desires (Scorpio) scattering into
all sorts of various directions (Gemini), and therefore dissipating energy. This is what we don’t want to have happen.
68 is also 2 X 34, and 34 is the King of Wands, so when we
blend Virgo (2) with the King of Wands (34) we get the urge to keep beginning
(Aries) over and over (Virgo) as we continually improve/refine/perfect (Virgo)
our project, and work out the kinks of what we’re doing, so that in the end it
is finished, refined, and perfected to
the extent we are able to do so.
As Jupiter rules the 4’s in the Minor Arcana, and vibrates
with the number 5 in the Major Arcana, we can subtract 5 (Jupiter) from the
number of this card (68) and obtain the number 63, which is the number of the
Queen of Cups, the Scorpio court card. This
shows us that the idea way to bring the positive energy of Jupiter down into
this card is through the energy of Scorpio, which signifies creativity, and a
willingness to go through transmutation – to die to the old and be reborn to
the new, and to realize that this is what is happening to all of us every
moment we live – we are all on a journey towards death, which is a gateway into
a realm of regeneration.