Four of Swords


Four of Swords

The Four of Swords is a card of respite and recovery, signaling a necessary pause after periods of conflict or intense effort. This card often depicts a figure lying in repose, swords hanging above, which symbolizes the need to lay down one’s defenses and embrace a period of rest and reflection. It serves as a reminder that peace and healing are crucial to maintain resilience and prepare for future challenges. The card emphasizes the importance of taking a deliberate break to clear one’s mind, recuperate one’s energy, and seek inner peace before resuming the battle or continuing the journey.

Our minds, much like our bodies, require rest to restore their strength. Answers are not always found through constant deliberation, but rather through a balanced cycle of thought, rest, and perhaps more thought. It is during these restful periods that our most creative ideas can emerge, as our minds freely wander and process thoughts in their unique way. The Four of Swords nurtures this creativity and innovative thinking.

In a deeper sense, the Four of Swords calls for spiritual reflection and meditation, urging us to retreat into our inner sanctuary. This time of stillness is not about avoidance but about rebuilding strength and clarity from within. It encourages us to contemplate our life’s direction, reassess our goals, and realign our actions with our deepest values. The solitude it prescribes is fertile ground for personal growth, allowing us to heal from past hurts and regain our spiritual and mental composure. This card teaches that true strength often comes from silence and the space we give ourselves to breathe and heal.

Four of Swords Reversed

When the Four of Swords is reversed, it indicates a resistance to taking necessary rest or a period of restlessness. This position suggests that you might be ignoring your need for quietude and rejuvenation, leading to burnout or stress. It can also signify a return to action after a time of pause, perhaps prematurely. This card position calls for a careful evaluation of your recovery processes and stresses the importance of fully restoring your energy before moving forward.


“I embrace tranquility and rest, allowing my mind, body, and spirit to rejuvenate fully and prepare me for what lies ahead.”

4 of swords reversed

4 of Swords Zodiac Sign

The zodiac sign of Libra is associated with the Four of Swords tarot card.

4 of Swords Love

In love, the Four of Swords suggests a moment to pause and reflect on your relationship. It may indicate a time for both partners to take a step back for personal reflection or to address underlying issues in solitude. This pause can be crucial for healing and understanding, helping to clear away past grievances and reset emotional connections. It’s a reminder that sometimes, true love requires space to breathe and grow in a healthy, supportive environment.

4 of Swords Yes or No

In a Yes or No reading, the Four of Swords can generally be interpreted as a Maybe (Clarity will come through pausing for Self-Care).

Rest - respite - tired - self care - Photo by Nati via Pexels - cco
Photo by Nati via Pexels (CC0)

Minor Arcana Symbolism

Tarot Card NameFour of Swords
Card Number EnergyCompletion
Numerological MeaningStructure, grounding, sturdiness, manifestation, security, foundation, stability, endurance, containment, deep work, self care
Classical ElementAir
Traditional Upright MeaningRest, healing, rejuvenation, relaxation, peace and quiet, self-love, sanctuary, recuperation, transmutation of shadow, self-protection, deep contemplation, introspection, need for solitude, meditation, regrouping, convalescence, planning for the future, taking time to decompress, self-care, spiritual support, having faith
Traditional Reversed MeaningExhaustion, anxiety, dysregulation, fear, mental overload, danger of burn-out, not accepting support, chaos, avoiding rest, ignoring counsel, effects of chronic stress, losing faith, restlessness, not taking care of yourself, collapse, recovering slowly, feeling overwhelmed, stagnation, re-entering world, release from isolation, not stopping long enough to recover, need for self-care
Jungian Personality TypeThinking
ChakraHeart, Sacral
Astrological CorrespondenceJupiter in Libra
Crystals and StonesEmerald, Olivine, Moldavite, Fluorite, Peridot, Aventurine, Morganite, Zoisite, Bloodstone, Rose Quartz, Chrysolite, Pink Calcite, Jade, Prehnite, Pink Spinel, Malachite, Unakite, Rhodonite, Citrine, Brown Tourmaline, Orange Calcite, Amber, Boulder Opal, Orange Tiger’s Eye, Tangerine Quartz, Cognac Diamond, Orange Tourmaline, Chocolate Opal, Coral, Hyacinth, Petrified Wood, Orange Selenite, Smoky Quartz, Peach Moonstone

4 of Swords As Feelings

The Four of Swords as feelings embodies a deep sense of calm and the need for solitude. It represents feeling mentally exhausted or emotionally drained and the subsequent need to withdraw from external chaos to find peace within. This card evokes a contemplative mood, where silence and space are sought to mend the weariness of the heart and mind. It’s about honoring the need for internal quietude to restore one’s emotional equilibrium and clarity.

four of swords meaning

Tarot Through the Ages

Tarot was originally invented as a card game in the mid 15th century. French occultist Jean-Baptiste Alliette, also known as “Etteilla”, was the first to assign divinatory meanings to the cards in the late 1700s. Many others have followed in his footsteps, bringing their own unique interpretation of the cards. In our exploration of the Tarot, we weave together contemporary insights with the timeless wisdom of the past. This blending of past and present perspectives offers a more holistic view, allowing us to connect with the evolving narrative and lineage of wisdom that has shaped our understanding of each card over time. Let’s dive into some of these historical interpretations…

Four of Swords Meaning


Rest after having made it through a period of sorrow; relief from anxiety; rest after illness; quietness; change for the better; success in legal affairs; association with others in trade or money matters; strong mental attraction to a person of the opposite sex; activity in writing or short journeys.


Disharmony with partners; unsettled conditions in legal affairs; disorder and loss through ill-considered writings or needless short journeys; feeling frustrated by petty conflict and sarcastic speech.

Time period

Astrologically, the Four of Swords governs the last decanate of Libra, under the rulership of Mercury, from October 13th to October 22nd.


The scales combined with the ankh remind us that a Qabalistic name for the number 4 is the measuring intelligence.



Modern Translation of The Oracle of the Tarot by Paul Foster Case (1933)

Four of Swords - RWS

The Minor Arcana: Four of Swords

An Alternative Definition for the Four of Swords

Traditionally, Swords are associated with the element air. Below, we see that Thierens has decided to break with tradition by associating the suit of Swords with the element of fire. Mystic Doorway has chosen the traditional correspondence of air for the For of Swords. Even so, we believe it is important to explore many historical definitions of the cards, allowing each individual the freedom to choose their own path within the journey of Tarot.

Card Definition

Upright: Solitude, retreat, hermitage, exile, isolation, inhibited condition, abandonment. Tomb and coffin.

Reversed: Economy, good conduct, circumspection, precaution, wise administration, testament, avarice, household, savings, order, etc.


The Earth element in the Fourth house, which is the house of home, along with the sign of Cancer, explains why this tarot card is often associated with things like saving money, being thrifty or even greedy, as well as matters related to home and the end of life. This connection exists because the Fourth house in astrology relates to the end of life and deeper, internal aspects of life. Traditionally, this interpretation is quite accurate.

The card is sometimes connected to ideas of harmony and agreement, but there’s a bit of confusion there. The real meaning in this context should be ‘repose’ or a state of rest, similar to being in a grave, where superficial differences fade away. So, words like ‘harmony’ don’t really fit here. If this card comes up in the context of business, it doesn’t mean that an agreement is reached; instead, it could indicate that someone is backing out or withdrawing their offers.

This card might also represent a phase where a person comes to terms with the material or spiritual gains from their life. Generally, it signifies a need for quietness, a heavy mental state, and a tendency to collect or hoard.


Solitude, rest, withdrawal, stepping back from social activities, a hermit’s rest; collecting, accumulating, saving money or experiences, meditation, thriftiness, stinginess, caution, wills, and the place one occupies at the end of life, such as a hermitage, grave, or coffin. The placement of the card in the astrological framework indeed suggests the concept of being buried under the earth.

Modern Translation of the General Book of the Tarot by A.E. Thierens (1930)

4 of swords -Photo by  Wandsjen Theodore via Unsplash -cco
Photo by Wandsjen Theodore via Unsplash – cco

4 of Swords Tarot

Upright: The card represents watchfulness, withdrawing, being alone, finding peace like a hermit; also themes of exile and death, represented by references to tombs and coffins. These darker aspects have influenced the card’s design

Reversed: Smart management, carefulness, thriftiness, greed, caution, and matters related to wills and legacies.

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A.E. Waite (1910)

Four of Swords Card Imagery

A statue of a knight lying down on his tomb, posed as if he is praying.

-Modern Translation of The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A.E. Waite (1910)

four of swords infographic

The Lord of Rest from Strife

Two white radiating angelic hands, each holding two swords that cross in the middle. At the center of where the swords intersect, there’s a five-petaled rose with white rays coming out from it. Small symbols of Jupiter and Libra are placed on the tips of two small daggers above and below the central point, representing a specific segment of the astrological sign Libra.

Symbolism: A period of relief from sadness, which comes after enduring it. It represents peace following conflict, and a release from anxiety. It symbolizes tranquility, rest, comfort, and abundance, but only after overcoming challenges. This abundance and comfort are typical, yet they are tempered by modesty as is often the case.

Chesed of HB:V (Convalescence, recovery from sickness; change for the better).

Herein do HB:LAVYH and HB:KLYAL bear rule.

Modern Translation of The Tarot of the Golden Dawn: Book “T” by MacGregor Mathers and Harriet Felkin

4 of swords

4 of Swords

The Meaning of The Four of Swords Card Throughout History

The Tarot deck is a beautiful synthesis of esoteric thought and archetypal imagery. The journey of the deck, shaped by the events and values of each era, has continued to evolve and take on new significance as it adapts to a larger cultural story. Often a tarot card will have a variety of names and meanings. Exploring the historical interpretations of each card will create a deeper understanding of this powerful method for divination and self-discovery.

Various Names For The Four of Swords

The Four of Swords has taken many names throughout history such as Four of Blades, Four of Daggers, Four of Knives, and Four of Spades.

Tarot de Marseille (1650)Four of Swords
Golden Dawn (1888)The Lord of Rest
Papus (1892)Four of Swords
Rider-Waite (1910)Four of Swords
Thoth (1943)Four of Swords

Significations of The Four of Swords

  • Opposition to the hatred. Success against the enemy.

-Tarot of The Bohemians by Papus (1892)

Four of Swords Symbolism

Upright: Solitude, Retreat, Abandonment, Solitary, Hermit.
Reversed: Economy, Precaution, Regulation of Expenditure.

-The Tarot by S.L. MacGregor Mathers (1888)

Support Independent Bookstores With These Tarot Selections

Bring the Wisdom of the Tarot Into Your Life

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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Four of Swords - The Illustrated Key to the Tarot published 1918, public domain
Four of Swords – The Illustrated Key to the Tarot published 1918, public domain

This guide by Arthur Edward Waite, the designer of the most widely known Tarot deck and distinguished scholar of the Kabbalah, is the essential Tarot reference. The pictorial key contains a detailed description of each card in the celebrated 78-card Rider-Waite Tarot deck, along with regular and reversed meanings. Contents describe symbols and secret tradition, ancient Celtic methods of divination, and wonderful illustrations of each Tarot card. This book is the perfect complement to old-style fortune telling and also serves to make the Tarot entirely accessible to modern-day readers. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot is the classic guide to the Rider-Waite deck and to Tarot symbolism in general.

Pre-Raphaelite Tarot

Four of Swords  – Pre-Raphaelite Tarot by Luigi Costa ©2019 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. All rights reserved, used by permission.
Four of Swords – Pre-Raphaelite Tarot by Luigi Costa ©2019 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. All rights reserved, used by permission.

The vivid colors and medieval imagery of the Pre-Raphaelite movement makes for a tarot deck that is rich with a sense of mystery and romance. Luigi Costa has created a work of unsurpassed beauty and deep spiritual power. This deck, based on the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith cards, is at once cryptic and insightful, the perfect combination of qualities for readers and collectors alike.

Heaven & Earth Tarot

Four of Swords - Heaven & Earth Tarot by Jack Sephiroth and Jaymi Elford  ©2020 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. All rights reserved, used by permission
Four of Swords – Heaven & Earth Tarot by Jack Sephiroth and Jaymi Elford ©2020 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. All rights reserved, used by permission

Artist Jack Sephiroth takes the classic structure of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot to new heights of expressive beauty. The illustrations of this deck evoke a sense of mythological grandeur, helping to bring forth the deeper meaning of each card for vivid and nuanced readings. In this tarot, the spiritual and the material are woven together in a tapestry of symbolic wisdom.

How will you Harness The Transformative Power of The Tarot?

We invite you to walk into a cosmic narrative in which we are all a unique element in each other’s story. Humanity has long used sacred tools for awakening the soul and illuminating our path toward enlightenment. The Tarot is simply an instrument. These cards amplify your inner wisdom and empower your highest truth.

What aspects of The Tarot can serve you as you walk through your own Mystic Doorway?

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What you have read is only the beginning…

Mystic Doorway is always gaining new insight into the rich symbolism of Tarot. We are looking forward to sharing with you as we continue to expand our knowledge of this divinatory tool. Check back with us soon to see what we’ve added to our Library.