Deirdre of the Sorrows - Four of Swords


As with traditional decks, we see a figure lying down, and in this case the swords form part of the supporting structure. Sometimes, readers (particularly those new to the path of tarot) struggle to understand the difference between this and the Hermit. In this case there is a need for a ‘time out’. Swords do reflect on mental stress or turmoil, and if this is applicable to you right now, you would do best to heed this card. The Hermit on the other hand is seeking solitude for a different reason. Maybe they want to contemplate an issue. In that case there is still some mental activity whereas with this card, there could be mental exhaustion. Our own bodies are our best guide when it comes to needing a break. If we ignore the messages it is giving it can possibly lead to a situation where we are forced to do so due to illness etc.

Let’s take a closer look at the imagery in this particular card.
The lady concerned is wearing a white dress with a silver breastplate. Can we take any assumption she may have been a warrior of sorts, due to the presence of the breastplate? If so, has she returned from an intense battle of sorts and is now in need of recuperation? She has been able to protect her vital organs and chest area, but it could indicate it was not possible to protect her emotions and thoughts which would have been vulnerable to what she has been through. The fact the figure is female as opposed to male could support this viewpoint. We are more aware that there is a sense of vulnerability.
She is letting go of a lily to the left side of her. What does this signify to you? As you are taking this ‘time out’ what are you able to let go of? How could this lead to a less stressful future for you? The ground below is stony, so we can take heart if we are prepared to let go, there is no way it could re-seed and grow.

As we can see the swords are buried in rock offering some stable and firm support for the woman. A couple of the rocks have subtle imagery of down turned faces depicting sadness. This could be an indication of the what the woman is feeling right now, albeit there is no emotion shown on her face. Her position in society may mean it is not appropriate for her to show her emotions – it could be classed as a sign of weakness, so it is portrayed through the rocks instead. Could you identify with this – is there something you have been keeping hidden from the outside world? I think this is also supported by the presence of the breastplate. Although I have given one possible meaning for its presence, it could also signify she has kept her emotions contained within. If this is the case, it will only be a matter of time before we discover this is not necessarily a beneficial thing to do. Bottled up emotions can sometimes lead to illness and when that happens we are forced to take that break.
In the background we see partially blue sky, and partially cloudy sky. This could indicate time is needed. The grey clouds could be moving away, but we still have to wait before we see the full emergence of the blue sky. Whilst this is happening, use the time to re-charge and allow yourself to recover on whatever level is needed.