Upright: Contemplation, recuperation, passivity, relaxation, rest
Reversed: Restlessness, burn-out, lack of progress
The Four of Swords depicts the effigy of a knight lying upon a tomb. His hands are in the position of prayer and the tomb sits within a church. The stained glass behind the statue depicts a woman and child together. One sword lies beneath the knight, symbolising that there is only one key issue that is dominating your life at this time. Three further swords hang above him, pointing downwards.
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The Four of Swords shows a period of rest and recovery after a time of challenge, with the promise that, once recovered, you can and will return to the challenge. In the meantime, the Four of Swords provides a new challenge – to stay silent and inactive. This is the time build up your mental strength. Meditate and spend time in a calm atmosphere. You need to replenish your strength and spend time in spiritual thinking. You need to rest and relax.
The Four of Swords is a reminder that after every crisis and before every new challenge, there is always a time of relaxation and contemplation. 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, ready for the next challenge. These rests should be used wisely, to heal the body and ready the mind.
The Four of Swords is also a sign that you can stop worrying, put down your defences and take a breather from the chaos around you. For the moment there is a truce and you can catch your breath without being attacked again. However, bear in mind that a truce and peace are not the same thing. The Four of Swords is a guarantee that challenges will return to your life as soon as you are ready to face them, so make the most of the stillness and quiet you have earned but never lose sight of the fact that the battle is not yet over, and that there is still work to be done.
This card suggests that now is the time to rest from some difficult times, perhaps the trauma of breakup or departure, relationship or family problems, financial and health worries, stress and conflict. Take a break. This is also not the time to make decisions, particularly when you are at your most vulnerable.
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 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.
You may also be trying to avoid any period of contemplation or meditation on a particular issue because you are worried about what it might bring up. You need to return to the energy of the Three of Swords and confront the pain and grief that exists within your heart. You need to experience that pain as it is preventing you from being able to move on. Once you have experienced it, it will begin to subside and you will be able to live a more fulfilling life.
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, is as a result of your passive approach. There may have been situations that were frustrating to you or that you were unhappy with but you may have opted to just sit it out and hope that they would eventually change, rather than taking action to create a more desirable outcome.