This week’s card to study is the Four of Swords.
Esoteric Title: The Lord of Rest
In the Four of Swords from Llewellyn’s Classic Tarot, we see a knight resting on a stone slab or tomb, seemingly in a church or a holy place. His head is resting on a pillow and his prone position is similar to one may have in a coffin; his hands are resting on his stomach, hand over hand. There is one sword below him in a horizontal picture and the other three, are positioned above him, ever so slightly staggered. There are three stain glass windows and the one above the swords depicts an angel holding a dove, with the word PAX written in the halo above his head.
Rider-Waite-Smith Four of Swords for comparison:
The Four of Swords card lies among the Minor Arcana, which represents day-to-day life and its ups and downs, challenges and opportunities.
Swords Suit –
The Swords suit is associated with the element Air which represents our intellect: thoughts, words, double-edged swords, conflict, strife, challenge, communication, idea, plans, clarity.
Astrological Correspondences – Aquarius, Gemini, Libra (Air signs)
The Golden Dawn correspondences for the Four of Swords: Jupiter in Libra.
The number Four, the square, represents solid foundations. Pythagoreans considered the four to be the root of all things. There are ‘fours’ all around us: four elements, four seasons, four cardinal directions, four phases of the moon, Tetragrammaton is the four letter name of God (Judeo-Christian), the Four Noble Truths (Buddhism), the four Vedas (Hinduism) and many more.
Keywords: stability, dependability, being grounded, law and order.
Rest, retreat, respite, relaxation, recuperation – all after struggles, meditation, recovery, contemplation.
- Dove – doves can symbolize peace, love, or messages
- PAX – Latin: kiss of peace; a period marked by an absent of wars or a truce term
- Stained Glass (right/future) – A river before the mountain represent challenges.
The Four of Swords represents a period of rest and recovery after experiencing struggles and difficulty.
The Four of Swords suggests you have been through a difficult time and you should take a break; take some time away, and rest. This is not to imply the struggles are over. Because they’re not, you need to rejuvenate and regain your strength. Take this time to withdraw from the stress, relax, and regenerate your energy. In addition, take this time to reflect on the current circumstances, surrounding this challenge, and to evaluate your progress. Ask yourself how and why this happened and what role, if any, you played. Reconnect with yourself and clear your mind. This could give you a different perspective, allowing you to plan ahead and be in a better position for whatever comes next.
The Four of Swords card also suggests this is a time to slow down, clear your mind, and reconnect with yourself, with life, and with nature. Consider meditating, taking up yoga, take a walk in a park, or learn about Mindfulness. If that’s not your thing, then try journaling. There are journaling books that have journal prompts or offers a daily question for you reflect upon and answer. Anyway that can you can reconnect, be calm, and gain clarity, could be helpful.
Career: The Four of Swords suggests you are in need of a vacation or at the very least, a break from work. You may be feeling over-worked and stressed out and what you need is in some R & R; rest and relaxation.*
If you are looking for a job, you may find the job market has slowed down and this may be a good time to take a break. Rest for a bit and recharge your batteries. If you’re overstressed and worn out, you won’t be able to be your best in an interview. Further, take this time to reevaluate your resumé and your networking. You may have a different viewpoint or prospect, that may help you succeed, when you’re ready to begin looking again.*
Note: With either of these circumstances the message is: to slow down.
Romance: If you’re in a relationship, you may be quarreling or experiencing tension, or you just simply feel like you’re not connecting. Take some time apart, to cool down, to assess your feelings, as well as theirs, and come back together with clarity and understanding. Or, you may feel like you just need some alone time and some room to breathe, which is perfectly normal.*
If you’re single and have been looking for love, you may be asking yourself if you’re ever going to find someone and feel like things are going slow. This may be a good time to take a break and enjoy being single a little while. During this period, reevaluate your needs and what traits you’re looking for in a partner. This may change your view and/or expectations and may help you, when you start looking again.*
*Remember, this is temporary and this soon shall pass.
Questions to ask:
- Are you taking enough time for yourself?
- Are you ignoring warning signs, physically or mentally, that you should slow down?
“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges.”
~ Bryant McGill
This is my interpretation of this card. It may differ from other Tarotists, and yours as well, and that’s okay. Please work to create your own card meanings; learning the Tarot is not about memorizing.
In addition, remember nuances of the interpretation may differ depending on the Querent’s question, the spread, the surrounding cards, and what your intuition may be telling you at the time.
The Tarot card used in the image is from Llewellyn’s Classic Tarot by Barbara Moore and Eugene Smith 2014 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125. All rights reserved, used by permission.
Rider-Waite used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Rider-Waite is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems.