Four of Batons

4 of Batons from Anecdotes Tarot: a clam, a crab, a cockle, and a cowrie shell floating in a pool of water

waltzing with the open sea –
clam, crab, cockle, cowrie:
will you just look at me?

Joanna Newsom, “Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie” (The Milk-Eyed Mender, 2004)

Image Description

Four shells float in a tide pool, all seem to be abandoned by their previous inhabitants. There is a clam shell and a cockle shell (both closed), an arced crab shell, and a cowrie shell with its distinctive mouth-like opening. The water is teal and blue and the shells are all colored in shades of red, orange, and yellow. A reflection in the center of the shells forms a cross or an X.


The Four of Batons seeks the balance associated with its number through reciprocity: “will you just look at me?” Like the final verse of this song, the stability of Four combines with the creativity of Batons to give a contrary sense of happiness tempered with boredom. The sea, though thrilling, does not make a very responsive waltz partner. This card can represent company, usually of a sedate sort; or more general mixing, like the ocean flowing in and out of tide pools.