Day of Rest: 4 of Swords + the Hanged Man

It’s a funny thing, but the cards seem to be agreeing with each other over what I should do with myself each day, and it seems like they have some good ideas. I’m writing this post from a place of hindsight — yesterday was the Day of Rest, and it’s come and gone. I went out for errands at noon and did a lot of walking and shopping in the heat. Return to my apartment, and only an hour or so later, I develop a headache. Headaches are tricky things for me, and have to be carefully controlled and treated lest they suddenly expand into a migraine, so I was forced to rest even more for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

4 of Swords

A figure lies on top of a wooden plank or chest, or perhaps coffin, hands raised to center emself. It’s impressive that ey can Three swords hang on the wall, pointing downwards, and a fourth is depicted on the side of the chest (perhaps coffin). In the window, there is a second figure tied to a Saint Andrew’s Cross with eir head hanging. Blades wait, ready to pierce em from the bottom or either side. At first, I’m not immediately sure how the figure in the window relates to the resting, sleeping, or dead figure lying down. Perhaps they’re the same person, and the cross-strapped figure is dreaming of rest, or imagining eir death, and how peaceful either would be compared to eir current situation. Or, the figure lying down knows what is about to happen to em on the cross, and thinks of that as ey lays in wait, preparing emself for the ordeal. The card evokes feel worry, anticipation, stress, acceptance, peace, and relaxation.

Meaning: Acceptance of a worrisome or stressful situation that you cannot change — a need to stop and rest — desire for relaxation — need for contemplation.

Verdict: Amazingly — I hit upon most of the basic meanings of this card on my own! I feel like this card is something I tend to need more of in my own life, as well. I’ll be looking out for the 4 of Swords in any more readings or draws I do.

The Hanged Man

A figure leans back on one elbow, with eir back partly turned to the viewer. Ey wears a vast, elaborate headdress that seems to grow out of eir body, both from shoulders and upper back and from forehead and cheeks. Eir eyes glow red, and from the back of the headdress (behind em) hangs a thin chain with a crystal on the tip, also glowing red. Through eir side the viewer can see eir heart, glowing a bright red through eir ribs to show its exact location. On eir head perches a raven, whose head has been reduced to merely a skull. The figure and the raven are watching something that the viewer cannot see. As ey leans back ey bares eir back, and therefore eir heart, to the viewer, unconcerned about appearing vulnerable. In fact, despite eir vulnerability, ey still appears powerful and in control of emself. It was difficult for me to decide what emotions were evoked by this card, but I settled on aloofness, repose, pensiveness, and vulnerability. The card is about stepping back and considering something.

Meaning: Time to step back and consider the situation — something needing your attention which you cannot see — you must allow yourself to be vulnerable to take advantage of something.

Verdict: While on the one hand, I feel like my interpretation of the Hanged Man was altogether an accurate and legitimate interpretation, it still feels tangential to the ‘standard’ meanings I see here. Letting go, being vulnerable, looking at a different viewpoint, pausing… all of these are things I can certainly see in the image the XIII Tarot presents for this card. But martyrdom… not sure. It’s more difficult to see in this image than it is in the more traditional RWS image. Showing the location of the heart might be the putting aside of self-interest to concentrate on something better, and perhaps the skull-headed raven could represent a material sacrifice in order to move forwards. Beyond that, the imagery is somewhat lacking on the martyrdom angle.

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