The number four holds important meanings to the shaman and mystic.
There are 4 ages: the child, the adolescent, the adult, the elderly.
There are 4 winds, 4 seasons, 4 divisions of time: day, night, month, year.
There are 4 key phases of the Moon: New, Waxing, Full, Waning.
There are 4 elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. In Taoist and Feng Shui traditions, the correspondences of Winds/Directions/Element/Sacred Creatures (thereby another 4) connect the following: The Azure Dragon of the East represents Wood, the Vermillion Phoenix of the South represents Fire, the White Tiger of the West represents Metal, and the Black Turtle of the North represents Water. (Some also hold the belief of a fifth principle Earth/Qi /The Void, which would be represented by the Yellow Dragon of the Center).
There are 4 parts to green things: roots, stems, leaves, fruit.
There are 4 core faculties (in Tarot, it is expressed in such a way that relates to the elements): To Know, to Will, to Feel, and to Materialize.
4 is seen in Wiccan ritual, in mandalas, in contemplative labyrinths, at crossroads, in shamanic prayer.
Anyway, why all this analysis of 4? The simple answer is because it’s the foundation of the Earth’s power and grace. The slightly longer answer is because when I am “stuck”, I often find resolution by allowing the potency of the number 4 to teach me; that is, the orderly expression of Gaia to speak to me. The number 4 invites us to manifest our goals by taking practical steps. It reminds us to integrating our wisdom into the whole of our lives. 4 invites all of us to befriend the bright side of King/Yang energy to support the vigour of our dreams and plans while still honouring the dark, mysterious power of Queen/Yin potencies.
I should also mention that many Asian cultures (including my own Chinese and Taiwanese background) view the number 4 as 'bad luck', as the word 'four' share similar phonetics of the word 'death'. (In many parts of Asia, the fourth floor of buildings are skipped, much like the thirteen floor of many buildings in western countries). I personally think the homophonal qualities of four and death is actually very beautiful, as the fourth holds the end of a cycle, the unknown, and transformation in the most mundane of mathematical quantifying. That said, I do not disrespect the symbol of 4 in those cultures, in fact, I recognize just how much Asia, no matter how secular it has become, still reveres the power of symbols in their every day lives.
Bowing to your light (and darkness),
founder + plant spirit medicine practitioner