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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day - 4 of Observation

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:
FOUR OF OBSERVATION
(4 of Swords)


In The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos), the suit of Observation (represented by an eye) is comparable to the suit of Swords. The quotation chosen to represent the entire suit of Observation is from The Red-Headed League: “This is a time for observation, not for talk.”

The Four of Observation is taken from Arthur Conan Doyle’s book The Illustrious Client, in which Sherlock Holmes comes up against serial murderer Baron Gruner. At one point in the story, Holmes feigns illness to the point of death in order to catch the villain. On the card, we see an alarmed Watson tending to Holmes in his sickbed.

The Holmesian Wisdom for this card is “I have been using myself up rather too freely… Have you any objection to my closing your shutters?” This quote is from “The Final Problem,” a short story that was intended by Doyle to be the last of the Sherlock Holmes adventures. One gets the feeling that this is a veiled reference to Doyle’s own feelings of having “used up” his energy on the Holmes books. However, Doyle yielded to pressure from fans and brought Holmes back in The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Keys for this card, upright, are: “respite, hermetic seclusion, meditation, convalescence, rest, replenishment of spirit, solitude, reassessment of your limitations.” Reversed, the card can suggest “economy, taking precautions, careful administration, greed.”

The book that accompanies this deck also provides interpretations for each card under the headings “The Game” and “The Fog.” The former elaborates on the upright keys, while the latter expands on reversed meanings. An example from “The Game” for the Four of Observation: “Convalescence or enforced rest. Self-exile or retreat.” An example from “The Fog”: “Feigning illness. . . A strike or unexpected event breaks your routine.”

As a card of the day, the Four of Observation gives a clear message about stepping back (or lying down!) either literally or figuratively (or both) in a deliberate effort to conserve or replenish energy and resources – mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual. This respite may also be imposed on us from an outside source. It’s up to us to use the time wisely.

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