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Everyday Tarot Deck
Upright: Rest, relaxation, meditation, contemplation, recuperation
Reversed: Exhaustion, burn-out, deep contemplation, stagnation
The Four of Swords shows a knight lying horizontally on a tomb. He remains in his full armour, and his hands are in the position of prayer as a sign of rest. One sword lies beneath the knight, symbolising a single point of focus, and three further swords hang above him, pointing downwards towards his head and torso. The knight and the tomb lie within a church, with a stained glass window showing a woman and child together.
NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.
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Everyday Tarot Deck
The Four of Swords indicates that you are in need of rest and recovery before you are ready to take on the next challenge. You have reached an important first milestone, and it is important that you recharge your energy before the next phase begins so that you are refreshed and ready to go. Even if you are highly productive and driven, it is essential that you take some time out from your busy schedule to rest and restore your energy and heal the body and the mind. Constant stress and tension will break even the hardest and most resilient of people but brief periods of rest enable you to refresh your energy, concentration and focus, so that you are ready for the next challenge.
If you have been going through some tough times recently, such as the trauma of break-up or departure, relationship or family problems, financial and health worries, stress or conflict, then the Four of Swords comes as a sign to take a break from the situation and regain some perspective. Take some time off work, travel to a new destination, or spend some time with your loved ones so that you can truly rest and take a break. This is also not the time to make decisions, particularly when you are at your most vulnerable.
In fact, the Four of Swords presents a new challenge in itself—to stay silent and inactive. This is the time build up your mental strength by clearing your mind of any mental ‘clutter’ or stress. Meditate and spend time in a place that creates peace, calm and tranquillity for you. Go on retreat or start a meditation course. You need to replenish your strength and spend time connect with your Higher Self.
The Four of Swords suggests the need for seclusion. You need seclusion to deal properly with your situation and need to experience time apart from others to gather your thoughts and feelings. Following on from the painful loss of the Three of Swords, the Four of Swords indicates your need to spend time alone to re-evaluate your life. Solitude, although often difficult to bear, is necessary for you to be able to recharge your batteries and rejuvenate your spirit. This solitary experience always bears fruit in an experience of greater inner strength and confidence. Retreat from pain, conflict and distractions, and rid yourself of stress and anxiety. Ground and re-charge yourself. Look inward for a real change and meditate daily.
In a practical sense, the Four of Swords is an indicator that you need to have some time out from your current circumstances, to reflect and review your progress so far. This is a good time to re-evaluate and re-assess your priorities. It is almost like conducting your own ‘post implementation review’ following a major milestone or a major challenge. Create some time and space to reflect on what has worked well, what has not worked well and what you need to change for the future. Pausing for reflection after each major challenge will position you well for success in the future.
The Four of Swords reversed sends a very strong message that you need to take time out to rest and recharge your energy. You may be working long hours, giving your time and energy to others in need, or involved in a highly stressful and demanding situation. You are close to exhaustion and burn-out, and your energy reserves are running low or on empty. If you do not stop and take some well-needed rest now, you may crash and burn-out completely, rendering yourself completely ineffective and unable to help anyone.
The reversed Four of Swords is calling you to withdraw from your external world, and retreat within. It is time for a social media detox, a weekend escape, or a silence retreat so that you can focus your energy within and find your peace once again. Use daily meditation to calm your mind.
The Four of Swords reversed can indicate that you are feeling restless and wanting to do everything at once. Even if your body is telling you that you need to rest and relax, your mind may be pushing you forward, trying to accomplish a long list of tasks. You may be getting quite sick or stressed as a result, so it is vital that you force yourself to pause and take it easy to ensure that you do not become completely run down and exhausted. Some 'busy time' is OK but be careful not to push it so far that you end up negatively affecting your health and well-being. If you need to rest, rest. Even just a quick 'nanna nap' on the weekend or a 20 minute meditation each day can help to re-balance your energy reserves and get you ready for even more productivity in your day.
The Four of Swords reversed can also represent stagnation and a lack of action that is leading to increased frustration. For example, a long-term marriage is no longer progressing and is spiritually and emotionally empty. You may need to take a break from this stalled situation and come back to it when the energy is flowing better. Similarly, the Four of Swords reversed suggests that you are feeling frustrated with the lack of progress and change in your life. Many things have stood still or have failed to change in the way you were hoping they would. Part of this lack of change, however, may be as a result of a passive approach. There may have been situations that were frustrating to you or that you were unhappy with but you may have opted just to sit it out and hope that they would eventually change rather than taking action to create a more desirable outcome.