Part two: this one’s for Borough.
Yesterday I drew the Four of Swords.
There is so much, almost too much, going on inside and outside my head. The delicate balance of my brain chemistry is being shifted daily as I gradually decrease my dose of medication, with all sorts of side effects – vivid dreams, tearfulness, lightheadedness and nausea, strange muscle weakness, tiredness, lack of concentration… Not to mention the additional hormones which come flooding in at this time of the cycle as the moon waxes full.
And then the news came. Borough Market, my beloved part of London, was attacked. An ex-boyfriend broke the news with a warning about stabbings on Stoney Street. Former bandmates posted to confirm their safety after running away from the attackers. The BBC shared footage from Katzenjammers where I worked as a barmaid – and one of the old regulars, who became a friend, was injured outside the Southwark Tavern.
An attack is always awful, wherever in the world it happens.
An attack in a place you love, hurting people you know, is no more awful than any other attack in the world – but it hurts more.
Yesterday I drew the Four of Swords in the morning and kept it in my mind all day.
This is a card of conscious retreat from the noise of the world outside the head, to confront the noise of the world inside the head. Meditation. The three hanging swords point at the head (thoughts), heart (emotions), and gut (passions) of the knight’s effigy: this meditation will bring us face to face with our emotions and our passions as well as our thoughts – not on their own terms, but as they manifest in our minds.
It took discipline to step away from the rolling news and social media speculation about the attack, but stepping away was a necessary act of self-care. We stake a lot of British pride on the idea that we “keep calm and carry on” at times of crisis, but don’t talk much about how we manage this, or what it means. As The Guyliner wrote, bravery is an option, not an obligation:
Like an old iPod that would always work much better if you let it run down and recharged the battery, sometimes you need to let yourself get to the brink, to void yourself of all emotion, anger and fear, before you can rise again.
The Four of Swords reminds of this need to withdraw at times, to break down in order to build ourselves up again. And as a Sword card, it reminds us that withdrawal can benefit from structure, that boundaries can be set and defined. In Beth Maiden‘s words,
There is a gentle righteousness in this card, a message that it is 100% okay for you to take the space you need, whatever you need it for
And I plan to do just that.
See you on the other side.