Four of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

four of swords tarot card meaning

4 of Swords


Relief from Anxiety, Listening to your Inner Voice, Giving your Body Time to Heal, Represents Peacefulness and Serenity, Taking Time Alone to Think, Silence and Meditation, Coming to Terms with What is, Rest after Conflict, Finding Peace and Quiet, Time to Step Back and Gain Perspective, Recovery, Gaining a Better Perspective, You Need to Revitalize Yourself, Avoiding Overexertion, Hospitalization, Reconnection with Spirit, Recovery from Sickness, Tieing up Loose Ends, Stabilizing, Taking Life Easy, Relaxing Body and Soul, Rebirth of ideas, Recuperation, Standing Back from the Situation, Rest, , Recovery, To Think Without Rushing, Represents the Challenge to be Quiet, Rest in General, Attitude of Prayer, Productive Solitude.


Think, Rest, Depression, Hospital, Precaution, A Need for Caution as Stress can effect your Health, Unrestfulness, Cowardice, Exhaustion caused by Relentless Turbulence, Desire to Recover what was Lost, Imprisonment/Jail, Time for Action, Activity, Enforced Isolation, Unable to Concentrate on the Task at Hand, Nervousness, Controversy, Need to Slow Down, Need to Pray more, Lack of Meditation.

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Brianna Stoker

This card depicts an image of a church or chapel, in which a brass sarcophagus sits with a statue lying at rest on top of it. One sword is attached to the side of the sarcophagus, while the other three swords are hanging on the wall, next to a stained glass window. The first thought that comes to mind when viewing this card is death, and, occurring at the Four stage of the cycle, perhaps a premature death. However, if we think about the Major Arcanum – Death, we must remind ourselves that this card does not necessarily mean physical death, rather, the end of something, perhaps irredeemable end. So in this sense, the four of Swords represents a premature end to something. The card also has a strong sense of giving up – hanging your boots up, just as the swords are hanging, unused on the wall behind the sarcophagus. Remembering that we are in the suit of Swords, the card might represent giving up an academic course, giving up on a pious religious life. Perhaps giving up, or backing down in a law suit. There is a sense of surrender, defeat. Of course, meaning always depends on context, and in a cuppish or cup-heavy spread where the question has to do with, say, love, then the card would represent giving up trying in a relationship, perhaps giving up on the relationship altogether. There is also as sense of withdrawal, perhaps becoming reclusive. This aspect might be amplified in a spread by the proximity of the Major Arcanum – the Hermit. As well as withdrawal, there is also a feeling of introspection, quiet meditation, a need for peace and quiet. In addition, a feeling perhaps of something being laid to rest, a memory, perhaps a painful one, fading into the past, and into the foggy ruins of time. These aspects are also associated with the Hermit.

The reversed card immediately suggests the idea of resurrection, rebirth. This aspect would of course be strengthened if the Major Arcanum – Justice were in close proximity. Instead of giving up, the reversed card gives a sense of refusal to surrender in the face of difficulties – when the going gets tough the tough get going as it were. There may be a sense of ‘coming back from the dead’ figuratively speaking. Bouncing back when all seemed lost. There is also a feeling of emerging from solitude, or looking outwards instead of inwards. It may represent ghosts from the past. Unable to lay things to rest. There could be a supernatural sense of someone not being able to rest in peace. Perhaps a haunting or a possession.

Tarot Goddess

Title: Lord of Rest from Strife
Element: Air
Zodiac Sign: Libra
Decan: Jupiter in Libra; October 13 – 22
Thumbnail Meaning: Rest from sorrow; peace from and after war; quietness, rest, ease and plenty after strife; truce.

Like the Six of Swords, the Four of Swords represents a period of rest after a struggle. This card suggests a truce, bringing much-needed calm after conflict.

The Rider-Waite tarot’s Four of Swords shows a young knight lying above a tomb in a church. He may be dead, praying or meditating––but he is at rest. Three swords hang on the wall behind him; one is on the side of his tomb.

The swords on this card suggest a struggle which has ended––at least for the knight. Three swords are literally behind him. The image suggests thought, exile, contemplation and solitude. This is not a card of action. It is not a happy card either; this rest comes after strife, and the strife will continue.

Why have swords represent a truce? Wouldn’t a card from the suit of Cups work better? Not really. Swords both wound and threaten; they are designed for violence. This card shows the tension between war and peace, which is present in every truce.
The Golden Dawn’s manuscript on the tarot describes this card as

Two white Radiating Angelic Hands, each holding two swords; which four cross in the centre. The rose of five petals with white radiations is reinstated on the point of their intersection. Above and below, on the points of two small daggers, are Jupiter and Libra, representing the Decanate. (Book T)

The Golden Dawn Magical tarot, follows this description with great fidelity, leading to a striking effect:

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