As I write this I am listening to April showers against my window while my sweet dog looks pleadingly at me to stop the rain so she can go out and play. Perhaps you can relate?
We’re still in the beginnings of Spring, which for some of you means snow one day and high temperatures the next. If April showers have you longing for May flowers, today’s full Moon ritual, rooted in the Four of Wands, is designed to support your spring inspiration.
On Saturday, April 16th at 11:55 AM PT, we will enjoy the first Full Moon of spring and of the new Zodiac calendar. It may be wet and muddy, but I think that actually adds to the energy of awakening, celebration, and ritual, taking place all around the world.
I recently discussed The Emperor. Ruled by our current season, Aries, The Emperor is the four-card of the Major Arcana. He represents structure and foundation. He provides the bedrock required to support our spiritual growth.
Though The Emperor is the patriarch of the deck, he does not represent patriarchy in the pejorative; instead, he provides balance and sustainability.
Similarly, the fours of the Minor Arcana are helpful in dismantling patriarchal, capitalist, and linear structures. They each provide a framework for self-care, restoration, and replenishment.
The suit of Wands is ruled by fire. The Wands teach us about our inner flame, our passion, and our hustle.
Under this full Pink Moon, the Four of Wands can help you structure the restorative passion of play into your life, for this season, and the year ahead.
How Much Fun Can You Make It?
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” ~ Carl Jung
The Four of Wands has been showing up in my client reading a lot lately, and I am excited to share my thoughts on it with you today. It is a very fun card! Interestingly though, experiencing the energy of this card usually requires overcoming some skepticism and resistance.
To give you an example from my own life, I had a big lesson on the Four of Wands from a roommate of mine, many years ago.
Some of the residents of our building had planned to host an “Around the World” dorm-room-style progressive party. Our apartment had volunteered to be ‘From Russia with Love.’ We had invited a lot of people and we knew that other apartments would bring lots of guests, so it was certain to be a full house.
Sadly, I had an emotional gut punch in the form of a romantic rejection that morning. Normally I’m the hostess with the mostess, but on the day of the party, all I wanted was to stay in bed. I felt angry and hurt, and not at all like being at a party, much less hosting one.
Fortunately, my roommate took charge and set out pickled foods, vodka, and caviar. She coaxed me into getting ready together with wigs, fake names (Ana-Konda was mine!), and fur coats.
The party was a blow-out success. Our friends had a blast, I had to climb our roof at one point when we were accidentally locked out of our front door, and I even met someone else I felt a romantic connection with that night!
As much as that is a fun story to recall, I don’t think I would have seen the lesson in it, the Four of Wands medicine if my roommate hadn’t pointed it out for me.
As we were cleaning up the aftermath, she asked me to recall how dejected and upset I had been that same time the previous morning. Somewhat embarrassed, I did.
She then pointed out how quickly my entire perspective had changed, and quite wisely, made me see that I could have some agency over disappointment in the future.
It wasn’t through scheming over or fighting with the person I was upset with that changed my experience.
It was through focusing on the fun right in front of me, and amplifying that instead, that I was able to change. That is the essence of the Four of Wands.
I like to describe Rider Waite’s depiction of the Four of Wands as a Medieval rave.
We see two figures with arms outstretched holding flower bouquets and a crowd of party-goers in the background. This is a time of joy, and the only structure is that of the four wands adorned with blossoms, resembling a Jewish wedding chuppah.
The 4s of the Tarot are all about foundation and structure. To understand the Four of Wands, I want to step back first and provide a little background on the structure of the deck as a whole.
There are 78 total Tarot cards and they are divided into the Major and Minor Arcana.
The Majors are numbered from 0 to 21. The Major Arcana cards represent big seasons and themes in our spiritual growth. There are 56 Minor Arcana cards and they represent more of our daily experiences. I find it helpful to think of the Majors as nature and the Minors as nurture.
The Minors are divided into four suits- Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Each suite is numbered Ace to 10, followed by four Court Cards. The suits each represent an element of nature and correspond to something elemental in us.
Wands are fire, representing passion, Cups are water, representing emotion, Swords are air, representing the intellect, and Pentacles are earth, representing our bodies and our root systems.
To understand a Minor card, we look to both the suit and the corresponding Major card. In this case, The Emperor brings structure and a foundation to the entire deck.
Hence, we know that when we study the Minor 4s, they will share what structure and support look like as told through emotions, thoughts, the physical, and the impassioned self.
In the 4 of Cups, we see someone who is declining the fourth cup. Our culture doesn’t generally embrace messages that affirm it is okay to feel full/enough and then say no to more. FOMO is normalized to the extreme. We can get lost in the fearful belief that if we don’t take something when it is offered, it may never come again when we’re ready.
The Four of Cups shows up to affirm that if your heart is saying no to something, you can safely say no, or, not now. If something is meant for you, you cannot miss it.
The Four of Swords offers a time for rest and meditation amidst big brain conflicts and contractions. Though the three swords may be pointing down, the figure is able to peacefully rest inside the church, atop the fourth sword, knowing that there is literally nothing the divine cannot handle. The thinking mind is a problem-solving, and problem-seeking machine, but it cannot be allowed to ‘think’ it is run the show at all times.
The Four of Swords shows up to give the thinking mind some structure for rest. It is an invitation to meditate, get a full night’s rest, or even just take a power nap.
In the Four of Pentacles, we see a figure whose feet are equally balanced on two pentacles. He has another pentacle balanced on top of his crown, with a pentacle squarely centered at his core.
This card showed up once for a client looking for guidance on where to place her energy. She had recently received a clean bill of health after completing chemotherapy and she was already anxious to add to her bucket list. When the Four of Cups arrived for her, the answer was to husband it.
The Four of Pentacles is a reminder to slow down, listen to the body, and joyfully conserve its resources.
Each of these three 4s, and The Emperor to some extent too, invite quiet and slow reflection. But, the Four of Wands is different…
Like The Emperor, The Four of Wands is also ruled by fire and Aries. In all of the wands, we are exploring what our inner fire is, how to work with our passions, and how to fuel our hustle. There aren’t many days off in the wands. Except for in the Four of Wands.
We see in The Light Seer’s deck two women exuberantly dancing and making music. When this card shows up for us, it is not a reminder that we need to take a bath or get some rest. While there is an aspect of this card that requires letting go and letting God, it’s not through quiet stillness, but rather through boisterous revelry and ebullient joy.
The Four of Wands is an enthusiastic push to go out and celebrate ourselves. To ask, how fun can you make it?
Tonight, the Moon will be big and spectacular. Your job is to get out there and celebrate yourself under it!
April’s Pink Moon Celebration Ritual
“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” ~ Alan W. Watts
Given that this full Moon is a cause for celebration all by itself, anything that you do to revel in it, counts as a Four of Wands ritual.
That said, I understand that it can actually be hard to recall how to play. I have a built-in reminder to practice the medicine of the Four of Wands, my dog! She will always remind me to play, even when it’s raining out.
In case you need a little help, the following is an exercise from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way to help you come up with ideas for what the author calls an “Artist Date”.
Taking yourself on an Artist Date in The Artists Way is something that should be done alone, but for this exercise, bring as many people as you want.
Begin by making a list of imaginary lives you’d be interested in living and what you would do in them. For example, I would be a shepherd, a travel writer, a photographer, a fashion designer, a landscape architect, a pop star, and a hotelier.
Once you have your list, select one, and then do it! If you put down 'sculptor', treat yourself to some molding clay. If you put 'star athlete', play a round of mini-golf with your pals. The point is the give yourself the assignment to have fun in order to trick the brain into receiving joy.
Too often, we quit before we even begin with thoughts that tell us if we can’t make money at it or be the best, then it is pointless. Not so!
The Four of Wands is here to support your play-fort ideas, just like when you were a child. In fact, that play is where the boundless energy of childhood comes from.
Next, list 20 things you enjoy doing. For example, I like kayaking, scuba, cooking, reading, bike riding, swimming, and going to art galleries.
Then, next to each entry, list the last time that you did each one of them, and put a date on it. This is now your go-to 4 of Wands play-list. Use it whenever your stressors are screaming that you must keep working, that is actually when your inner kiddo is screaming to get out and play!
Finally, if you want to borrow one more great idea for creativity and play, you can take this one from Oh Happy Day!
Get your Easter eggs dyed, then hollow them out with a toothpick. Fill the eggs with confetti or fruit loops or birdseed, then cover the holes with a little paper-mache or stickers. Make one egg the special ‘golden’ egg by filling it with glitter.
Gather your friends on Easter or any day for an old-fashioned egg hunt, with a twist. You must playfully crack the eggs over each other’s heads to find out which one is the glitter egg “winner”!
Depending on where you live, you may not yet be seeing the full blossom of the first harvest, it may actually be slushy or muddy, but remember, that that is part of the magic of this season.
The Four of Wands can be an anchor card for you any time that your inner flame needs a little stoking, especially under tonight’s Full Pink Moon.
Remember, the process of creation is muddy, and waking up from our winter season can feel like energetic fits and spurts, but know that the fire that you are warming with, the play that you embrace, is bringing forward something beautiful in you. Your gifts and rare, and your joy is needed.
And in case you still need a little humor, this bit from Jim Gaffigan poking fun at spring made me smile. ;-)
I am sending you love and playfulness this April Full Moon!