Four of Swords


During the first few months of using the Robin Wood deck, I had a difficult time understanding the "Four of Swords." For the life of me, I couldn't get past the image of a graveyard and the death of those who inhabited such a the literal sense, that is. Over time I've come to appreciate this card for its subtle nuances of color and symbolism. The idea of death still may come to mind, but generally I often see the Four of Swords as having more to do with putting to rest a phase of life or perhaps an idea that's ill-timed or not working...not to mention the possibility of the querent or someone in the querent's life actually NEEDING rest and recuperation due to exhaustion, illness, overwork, etc.

Rereading what Robin had to say in her book about the Four of Swords has also helped unlock other possible meanings. For instance, Robin pointed out that the three, sheathed swords hanging in the tree behind the stone effigy, "...are present, but not dangerous. These may represent problems, situations, difficulties, etc. the Seeker has conquered. Things that have been taken care of, their menace stilled. Or they may represent the knowledge or help of friends that are ready and waiting for the Seeker to need them." For me, I have seen these three swords (air symbols) as representing communications which have taken place and now one must be patient and wait for results...the situation is not in our hands anymore now that we have taken care of business at an earlier date.

The stone sword on the side of the tomb reminds me that the querent or whoever is being asked about is knowledgeable about whatever they put forth prior to resting their case, so to speak. The information given was based on solid foundations and given with the best possible intentions. There's no need for more least until further developments warrant more discussion. The phrase, "Let it rest," comes to mind. Another related meaning regarding the stone sword could have to do with an honorable fight having been fought...but now it's time to lay down all swords.

In the beautiful, violet twilight of the evening a star shines brightly through the trees. Robin said, "...the Seeker is not abandoned. The guiding star is still shining." That's comforting because the peace and quiet in a graveyard can tend towards loneliness and such rest can seem all too permanent. The wings on the shield covering the figure are also a promising symbol. Robin wrote, "...almost anything may happen now...Wings show spiritiual growth and enlightenment, and stars do, too." For now, this person is resting, but once refreshed and ready to go forward, he/she may do so with increased vigor...spiritually and otherwise.