The Four of Swords

The Four of Swords shows the activities that occur after the betrayal in the third card in the Suit of Swords. The anxiety ensued, and the perpetrators have been outed, now the wind down is taking place. The Four of Swords commonly shows three swords mounted on the wall above a sick bed where a man lies. His hands are clasped in a position of prayer. There is a sword beneath him or beside him on a tray. Some would interpret this as an operating room due to the presence of the sword beside him. This could be likened to a scalpel. It appears that the querent has found his friends out or discovered the tragedy of the Three of Swords, and he is in need of a time of retreat where he can survey the recent events and heal. There may simply be too much negativity and hostile emotion flying around for him to handle, and he may be in need of some intensive rehabilitation. Fours in the Minor Arcana show sturdy foundations, and thus, the Four of Swords illustrates a reprieve from the violence and arguing, or there could be a need to check into a place where the querent can treat his sickness and recuperate.

When more than one four shows itself in the same tarot spread, there is a deeper message available to the querent. Pairs of fours indicate event invitations or promises of better days to come in the future with little pain and volatility while three of them shows contracts and many people working towards a common goal; this could reveal a time when there is a divorce or breaking of bonds that requires legal supervision, but this could also signify a team of medical professionals who are working together in order to provide the querent with treatment of some sort. Having four fours in a reading implies eternal bonds that have a timeless quality to them, which is very fitting for the Suit of Swords in terms of the people who remain by the querent’s side during a difficult time like this. The Four of Swords may indicate a time of settling down and going through the stages of grief that lead to a brighter period in one’s life where the querent has finally begun the process of healing his wounds.

The Four of Swords in an Upright Position

The upright positioning of the Four of Swords Shows the querent  who may be laying still in a bed of sorts. This may be a hospital bed, but this will be determined by the surrounding cards. This may also signify a funeral. It is almost definitely not the querent’s  funeral but the funeral of another. It is certain that the querent will be in a mood of contemplation and reflection, so this is a time of grieving that is absolutely necessary in order for the querent to get past the hurt of the Three of Swords. There is a need for alone time that is apparent here, and it would be wise to take the advice. The querent is in need of release, so they are able to understand the events of the past and move on with a better attitude towards the future. There is a warning in the upright Four of Swords that shows the querent falling ill due to stress or experiencing stress due to an illness. The querent may also be very blue and needs to get away and come back to themselves as a stronger individual.

The meaning of all Minor Arcana cards can be modified by the cards that surround it. Court cards from the Minor Arcana (Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings) all represent people. They have corresponding physical characteristics as well as their own astrological correspondences. The Four of Swords foretells a time of isolation and healing. The court cards that are in the general area of the Four of Swords will show who is there by the querent’s side during this difficult time of healing an illness and/or emotional injury. Major Arcana cards can also help to shape the card’s meaning further. The Justice card augurs a period where the querent may be recovering from illness that was caused by drug and alcohol abuse or another harmful addiction. In this way, we see a drug rehab centre or institution that can help one heal. There are also implications that the presence of a Wheel of Fortune suggests one who is brooding over the conditions of his life being caused by his misfortune, which is most certainly a ridiculous idea but very common with those who may be dealing with chronic illness or have been repeatedly wronged.

The Four of Swords in a Reversed Position

The reversed position of each card of the Minor Arcana is really as it states: an inversion of the card’s meaning. The reversed Four of Swords indicates that the retreat spoken of in the upright positioning is nowhere to be seen. The querent may find that they simply want to lay down or escape in some manner, but there is no option to do so. The querent may be ill, but is being refused care or hasn’t yet been diagnosed with an illness and is asked to wait. This could also represent the querent’s need for peace and quiet when living in a home with a great deal of hostility. Parents, children, and siblings may be having regular arguments and the querent could be caught in the middle or unable to find a single space where there is complete calm. Whatever the case, the querent is having a difficult time dealing with the stress in their life and need to find a place that they can decompress in. Unfortunately, the reversed Four of Swords does not supply this, and there is no solution that can be foreseen in the near future.

The reversal of the Four of Swords is a particularly disconcerting augury that shows the querent that there is no hope for reprieve in his current situation and he must continue living in suffering into the unforeseen future without rest. His tireless efforts will eventually pay off, but the querent will need to endure a long and drawn out journey in order to find the solace he seeks. This will be confirmed or negated by the cards in the vicinity of the Four of Swords in the layout. The need for plodding through the thick of it is very central to the reversal of the Four of Swords, and if one is able to get through this trial of sorts, there will be reprieve even if it isn’t depicted here.

Key Terms

  • Rest
  • Recovery from illness
  • Peace and quiet
  • No solution
  • Depression
  • Illness
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