SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT MY JOURNEY SO FAR…
(15th May 2015) OK, I’ve managed to get quite a bit behind in my studies here (will have to backtrack to do Three of Swords as I haven’t touched it yet) due to a number of reasons/excuses — heaps of business paperwork to do for tax deadlines followed by illness which left me feeling quite drained mentally, emotionally and physically, and general stuff which is always hanging over my head, followed by general lethargy and loss of interest in this and a lot of other stuff in life in general. Now it’s only 1 hour before I’m supposed to be leaving for Circle tonight and I haven’t even looked at the assignment for this week’s card:
This week we’ll be looking at the sphere ‘Chesed’ which forms part of the second world of Briah. The spheres have planetary attributions and we will be contemplating Jupiter. We’ll also be discussing how we approach deity, so it would be useful if everyone could look within beforehand, and jot down a few points about pressing issues, which you think may be hindering your magical process or holding you back from connecting to deity itself. Why are your prayers and petitions not being fulfilled? What’s there? We will be doing a meditation which focuses on Light and the Shining Ones so light bright or white dress would be better. Also, a notepad (with your points) and a pen will come in handy.
I think from now on anything I write about the cards might be much briefer than what I did for the first three as I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for this project — no matter how hard I try I just can’t seem to really “like” the artwork in the Thoth Tarot, and for me it’s the artwork that attracts me to a set of tarot, or turns me off it. 😦 …but I’m still trying to get past that and just focus on the symbolism, regardless of the artist’s style.
As for the preparation for tonight’s Circle which I’m supposed to have already done, one thing does bug me a little, and that is the assumption that my prayers and petitions are not being fulfilled. That is simply not true for me as I do get good results through both prayer and/or spellwork. I just don’t talk about it to anyone else because it is private. I guess I’m feeling a bit weird and sensitive about a lot of things at the moment and overreacting to a very general, hypothetical statement/question that was not aimed at me specifically, so, moving right along…
Points about pressing issues? I certainly do have some areas for improvement:
- I don’t meditate enough — need to make more effort to make time for this to be a regular thing.
- I’m supposed to be doing the Qabalistic Cross and Middle Pillar exercise daily but I keep forgetting, and if I’m honest about it, it’s because I don’t particularly like it. Again, it also comes down to a time management issue.
- In spite of wonderful results from the majority of my serious spellwork/petitions/prayers or whatever, I still sometimes have doubts about the reality of it all — is it really just my imagination? Am I deluding myself? Is all this spiritual stuff just make-believe and am I wasting my time fantasizing over mere coincidences? My scientific, rational self still has trouble with faith and belief over knowledge and certainty.
Anyway, that’s all I have time to write at the moment — must get ready to go out tonight. Hopefully I’ll start feeling more enthusiastic again once my health improves substantially more than it has so far. I’m definitely in a mental slump at the moment. 😦
My Personal impressions of the FOUR of Swords
(29th May 2015) This card is very balanced and symmetrical, which does please my anal-retentive eye. 😛 The swords are all the same shape, and all very straight and rigid. The cross-guards each have a different pattern on them, suggesting a balance of different elements or an uneasy truce amongst opposing parties — this careful balancing act rests solely on the tips of the swords, which could slip at any moment, unless held in place very carefully to resist any movement. The yellow zig-zag patterns on the blue background feel like light or understanding breaking through or dawning — hope for something brighter and better? But something has to change for that to happen and this card feels very static and unmoving, stifling that change. The 49 petalled flower in the middle pulls everything towards it and holds it in place.
FOUR of Swords
Original Title: Lord of Rest from Strife.
Golden Dawn Model: The Four of Swords is exactly like the Two of Swords (including the rose of five petals and the white rays), except the hands that appear from clouds at the right and left hold two swords each.
Colours: Deep purple, violet, blue, rayed yellow, emerald green, deep blue-green, pale green. (more details on page 244 of ref.)
Zodiac: Jupiter in Libra — 20° to 30° Libra. 
Description: The kind of “truce” the Four of Swords monitors is a peace enforced by the threat of violence, and as such will be short lived. The four swords are arranged as a St Andrew’s cross, suggesting to Crowley “Fixation and rigidity”. Their points meet at the center of a large rose of forty-nine petals that Crowley tells us represents “social harmony”. It is the concord of conformity and compromise, however, that characterizes a culture that would rather blindly surrender to authority than to face the challenges of liberty. 
Description by Aleister Crowley: The number Four, Chesed, is here manifested in the realm of the Intellect. Chesed refers to Jupiter who rules in Libra in this decanate. The sum of these symbols is therefore without opposition; hence the card proclaims the idea of authority in the intellectual world. It is the establishment of dogma, and law concerning it. It represents a refuge from mental chaos, chosen in an arbitrary manner. It argues for convention. The hilts of the four Swords are at the corner of a St. Andrew’s cross. Their shape suggests fixation and rigidity. Their points are sheathed—in a rather large rose of forty-nine petals representing social harmony. Here, too, is compromise. Minds too indolent or too cowardly to think out their own problems hail joyfully this policy of appeasement. As always, the Four is the term; as in this case there is no true justification for repose, its disturbance by the Five holds no promise of advance; its static shams go pell-mell into the melting-pot; the issue is mere mess, usually signalized by foetid stench. But it has to be done! 
Sephira: Chesed ~ The first three of the ten sephirot, are the attributes of the intellect, while Chesed is the first sephira of the attribute of action. 
The concept of Chesed-Love is that of freely giving. The moral is that power needs to be tempered by mercy and love, and the correspondences for Chesed emphasise this so strongly it is easy to for a novice to ignore the appalling negative qualities of Chesed – power without restraint, indiscriminate destruction, everything in excess. The Virtue of Chesed is humility, the ideal of leadership without self-importance and all its accompanying vices. The Spiritual Vision of Chesed is the Vision of Love, love and caring for all living things, and the desire to find a way (be it ever so small – remember humility) to make the world a better place. There is a strong message in the positive correspondences for Chesed: without humility and love, leadership and power become the instruments of self-importance, and the petty vices of human nature are transformed into the monsters of evil which terrorise the human race. 
Four of Swords – Truce relates to Chesed in the Tree of Life: The mind has solved a problem, has come to an understanding, or has found a solution, completed a process, or has come to a compromise. Jupiter keeps the scales of the libra in harmonious balance, and the truce can be enjoyed for the time being. One cannot stay in the state for long otherwise we stagnate, therefore the restful truce should be used for a time of reflection and reconsideration, or a time of consolidation. The issue has become full circle in the calm realms of Chesed and we rest now before proceeding to further levels. 
Drive: Manifestation, balance of powers
Light: A chance to reflect, a rest from fighting, tolerance, generosity
Shadow: Cold truce which means no peace at all, isolation, forced restriction 
Four of Swords – Jupiter in Libra – “Truce”
Truths in agreement. Rest, re-cooperation. Prayer. 
The mercy/grace of the mind. (The Lord of Rest from Strife)
Chesed – Mercy: Solidity, but not refinement, Expansion, Generosity, Complacency, Overindulgence. 
Fours and Chesed: The Four’s are representing Chesed – the power of condensation, growth and stability, standing in the structural discipline of the 4. The Four of Swords is called Truce, the powers of the Air have found their place and rule their lands. 
- “Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot”, by Lon Milo DuQuette
- The Book of Thoth, by Aleister Crowley