Aeclectic Tarot
Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Forum Archive
Library Index

four of swords

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 17 Sep 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.

juice  17 Sep 2002 
The four of swords, what does it mean really.

When my mother first read a book on tarot in the 70's and showed me how to do it. I got interested in statistics fast. The reason is it became appearant almost immediately that almost every readin by or for me had a four of swords. Our book defined it meaning as a time of resting and waiting. I only read for me a few times each month for a long time because that cursed four of swords would not go away. Then my frequency dropped off to checking back in year or so and the four was still there. The four haunted me until sometime in the 80's when I went to college and didn't happen to think of tarot again until I was out on my own and working after college. I friend and I went to big music festival and I agreed to a reading with wheel of the year spread that, you guessed it, had a four of swords in it. Asking tarot only got me more four of swords all those years no matter what question I used to trick into elaborating.
...I finally decided to start studying tarot much more closely a few weeks ago, and got some insights I would like to have had years ago which I'll hold off on entering into this thread just now.

Back to the question at hand... what does this curse, my nemesis, this broken record from beyond mean? I admit that I went through a few years recently where I had occasionally gotten readings and didn't get an odd percentage of four of swords. I may have a seen a few more than averages should account for this year, but I'm certain of that. 

angela  17 Sep 2002 
I have always seen the 4 of swords as a card representing respite from trouble, time away, rest and recovery etc. But, also, I see it as resting the mind. Reaching some kind of inner calm mentally, that allows you to resolve conflicts within.

Perhaps, rather than seeing it as a curse, you may want to see it as constant confirmation that you have within you the ability to resolve your own inner conflicts and obtain mental clarity on important issues in your life.

Just a thought,

Sullanciri2002  17 Sep 2002 
a brief repose (or even armed "truce") after the doubts in the three of swords, but with a very temporary character: a pause to be used as a staging platform to prepare for further unbalance - knowing that constant evolution/questioning is unavoidable. 

ihcoyc  17 Sep 2002 
Traditionally, the four of swords has always been a card of respite, of retreat (in the good sense), of mentally unwinding, leaving your cares behind for a while.

If it helps, I also see the four of swords as dealing with established patterns of thought; an approach to problems that's worked so far, the "done thing," the standard model, the algorithm, the established procedure.

The two meanings are not entirely unrelated. If swords are the suit of arguments and mental turmoil, the four represents a stage where things have settled down enough that you can take a breather. If they relate to the things of the mind generally, four usually refers to a stable, established, "four-square" pattern involving the subjects covered by the suit. 

Thirteen  17 Sep 2002 
Here's a question--are you using the same deck every time you get this 4/swords? If so, then I've got an interesting guess...

Maybe the deck wants to retire? 

Alex  17 Sep 2002 
If your reasoning pass through statistics and in case you are wondering because you think getting the 4 of swords is statitically significant in your case, I'll guess to say that:

You have probably not read for yourself enough in order to have a statistically significant sample size. Sometimes we get the same card over and over and think it has any statistical significance but it usually does not. Because the sample size is usually small.

On the other hand, you may be able to apply the meaning to your own life... but you have to take the other cards into account. It may even be saying different things at different times...

Originally posted by juice
Back to the question at hand... what does this curse, my nemesis, this broken record from beyond mean? I admit that I went through a few years recently where I had occasionally gotten readings and didn't get an odd percentage of four of swords. I may have a seen a few more than averages should account for this year, but I'm certain of that.

Fuzzmello  18 Sep 2002 

Have taken a really good look at the images on the card?
I'm going to suppose you're using an RW-based deck.

To me, the young person in the card has taken prayerfull refuge from three swords of strife fixed and immobile above him. They point to his forehead, heart and solar plexus. The fourth sword echoes his supine body and could represent his spine and center channel. It points out from the body, away, to the feet and beyond.

What's interesting is the image in the upper left. It could be a stained glass image of devotion, a girl or young man with a holy man. If that's the case, it seems the card is really speaking of refuge in spirituality more than simple rest.

The next thought I have is the image above might be this young person's meditation. In his mind, he is the devotee. I say that because his attire looks worldly and doesn't seem to be what a "man of the cloth" would wear. Again, the card's images seem to be pointing to not merely taking a break, but setting aside resistance and strife to be still and find refuge in that stillness.

I think the card will make more sense if you think of it as urging a quiet and stillness inside more than taking a pause in the action. For me, it's a very spiritual card. 

WillieHewes  19 Sep 2002 
I don't think you should see the four of swords as your curse. It obviously likes you, and it isn't a negative card.

To me, it means rest, meditation, withdrawing to think carefully about something.

The card can be saying this is a talent of yours, that you need to do it, or that you're doing it too much. It all depends on where it is in the spread, although I know it's tempting to interpret a card you remember well from an earlier reading the same way again, position and the surrounding cards make up a good deal of what a card means.

So maybe it's just coincidence the card keeps coming up, and it meant something different every time. Perhaps it's just your deck's favourite way to communicate, or something.

I've got the feeling I'm babbling a bit. But anyway, don't worry, it's not a bad thing. Think of the card as your friend, and maybe you'll learn to understand it better. ;)


Diana  19 Sep 2002 

juice  19 Sep 2002 
Well I wanted to see a couple of responses before posting the more on the subject. Calling it my curse is a matter of how it seemed in my teens. I wasn't very active and didn't need to spend much time studying. The only interpretations I had those years were that I should rest more or that I was in a temporary period of rest and recuperation so that I didn't need to worry that I should be doing mroe. The problem with both of those is that I wasn't very stessed and wanted desperately to know who in the right scheme of things was supposed to be in a temporary hiatus for several months and then years. Wait? Wait for what? And the answer would come back as the four of swords. What am I resting up from? And, still answer, four. Resting forever is not active and waiting for nothing is not productive.

Here recently I have run into 2 or 3 alternate definitions and interpretations that might have helped then. One was to a need for more meditation is indicated. Another hint came in the thread on swords in this forum. "There is an answer out there. It's your job to find it." I've seen a few more interpretations that clues to actual behavior to satisfy the cards advice but none says it better than the one from full moon dreams tarot. "It is time to still your mind, still all the voices that clamor and distract you from clarity. It is time to stop communicating, stop talking, stop trying to reason things through with language, and open your inner vision. Let your mind become as breathlessly silent as fog, as free as a butterfly. This moment is perfect... the next moment is perfect...
Be still. Listen."

I have no proof that my life would have been different if I had followed this advice as strongly as tarot was screaming it. This card was coming up in way more than 4/5 readings and we're talking about dozens of readings, possibly more than a hundred. Ya never know. 

Thirteen  19 Sep 2002 
The quantity of 4/swords in your teens might, indeed, have just been advice to you to listen more, retreat from the conversation, keep your ears open, listen and learn. Depends on what you were like in your teens.

Or perhaps it was the opposite advice. You keep looking at it as advice to "REST" when it might be advice to STOP RESTING! Stop retreating to your room (as a teen) get out there, stop being locked in by...whatever. Shyness, lack of confidence, false illness.

Of course, there is that other answer as well--has 4/swords come up no matter which deck you use? You keep assuming this card refers to YOU. Does it? I remember a guy, a pro who used his deck many times a day, 7 days a week. One month, he found that the Hanged man was showing up, over and over again. Finally he asked "what do you think is the deal?"

I asked him, "When was the last time you cleansed the deck?" And he wrote back, "Oh, no! My poor deck! It's Hung up!"

He's been using it so much it just needed a cleaning. He did so, and all was well.

So are you SURE that the 4/swords is about you and not about either the deck or someone/something else? 

juice  20 Sep 2002 
Hey it could have telling me to come out.

No I don't know what it was trying to say. The problem has not remanifested in my adult years. Mamma and I used the same deck and don't think we did a major cleaning, but did follow the advice of our book to shuffle while thinking of freeing it of earlier influences occasionally. Mamma may have gotten a few fours when I wasn't there but said she didn't see them and only noticed them when she was reading for me. In those days the only thing we new about alternate decks was sometimes the manufacturer packaged them with the sun on the front and sometimes with the magician. :) Okay daddy did bring mamma a deck of nudy pictures he found in some hotel gift shop once. I think those are long lost. 

osami2717  21 Sep 2002 
In my Robin Wood deck the 4 of Swords has always reminded me of either Sleeping Beauty or Snow White.

Something bad happened to them [pricked finger on spindle & a bite from a poisoned apple] and they were forced to sleep until their prince came to wake them with a kiss.

It says to me...Rest, be calm, good things will come if you only have the patience to be still and wait for them.

Or in the reversed it says to me the wait is over and the 'prince' will be here soon to wake you...get ready to begin living again.

The single star shining below the canopy of cherry blossoms is the 'hope' of a better future...once you've opened your eyes to it. 

The four of swords thread was originally posted on 17 Sep 2002 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Forum Archive

Aeclectic Tarot Forum Links
· Tarot
· Tarot Special Interest
· Beyond Tarot
· Forum Library

Aeclectic Tarot Categories
· Angel Decks
· Dark & Gothic Decks
· Goddess Decks
· Fairy Decks
· Doreen Virtue Decks
· Beginner Decks
· Cat Decks
· Pagan & Wiccan Decks
· Ancient Egyptian Decks
· Celtic Decks
· Lenormand Decks
· Rider-Waite Decks
· Marseilles Decks
· Thoth Decks
· Oracle Decks
· List All Decks
· Popular Tarot Decks
· Available Decks
· Tarot Books
· What's New

Copyright © 1996 - 2017 Aeclectic Tarot. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Contact us.