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Four of Swords

A description and interpretation of the role of The Four of Swords in the Tarot

In a nutshell...


  • calm

  • headlong flight


General overview

Has the Four of Swords appeared in your draw and you want to learn about the meaning of the card? On this page you will find all the information you need to understand this arcana.

Before talking in detail about the visual aspect of the card, I thought it would be a good idea to remind you about some of the basics of the divination tarot. In the world of cartomancy, the Fours are always associated with ideas of balance and stability. It is not a coincidence that the number is often represented by a square, a particularly solid geometric figure. The suit of Swords relates to intellect, thought and reason. The Four of Swords is the result of these two guiding principles.

From a visual point of view, the arcane depicts an oval structure, in the center of which a flower is growing. For Tarot specialists, the oval symbolizes a spiritual cocoon, the inner world in which ideas germinate and grow. Meditation and being able to view problematic situations from a distance are essential to the fulfillment of a human being. These tools allow them to take stock of their life and get a better understanding of what they would like to achieve. The four flowers on the outside of the oval are reminders that thought should never be turned in on itself. To be beneficial, it is essential that it is externalized to the world.

The sea is as deep in a calm as in a storm.


  • from an emotional viewpoint

    When analyzed from a romantic angle, the Four of Swords often reflects a stable emotional life, although the card is frequently associated with some form of moral isolation. The card can reflect the seeker's need to recharge after a difficult period, so as to take stock of their relationship and regenerate spiritually. Although destabilizing at first, this period of questioning will bear fruit in the long run.

  • from a career viewpoint

    In the professional field, the Four of Swords usually indicates the seeker is currently overworked. Heavily involved in important projects, anxious to build a sustainable future, they are trading their emotional well-being against unwavering commitment. This card tells the seeker that it is high time to unwind and get their strength back before heading back into the battle again. It's not a question of giving up their dreams, but simply of agreeing to back off for a while so they're in a better position to go forward again.

  • from a life path viewpoint

    What is the main teaching of the Four of Swords? The importance of finding a balance between thought and action. To be sustainable, any action must be the result of a carefully considered thought process. On the other hand, thoughts that don't result in any action are useless. For them to bear fruit, it is imperative that they be expressed in the external world. Remember this sentence of Michel Audiard: "a fool who walks goes further than a seated intellectual".

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    Its influence

    • short-term

      In the short term, the Four of Swords suggests that you are enjoying a moment of calm with your loved ones. The last few months have been particularly trying, and you recently felt the need to get away from this constant racket that is so exhausting. Try to gather as much strength as possible before you set off again down your life path.

    • long-term

      In the long run, the Four of Swords encourages you to strike a lasting balance between thought and action. Being able to rely on your reasoning is a precious tool that helps you solve problems and decide what is really important to you in life. Nevertheless, it must always produce concrete results that can be felt in the world outside your brain. With practice, you will achieve this much sought-after harmony.

    Full interpretation

    Interpretation of The Four of Swords upright

    In its most frequent interpretation, the Four of Swords announces a period of calm after a particularly turbulent phase. For the seeker, this draw invites them to spend some time in their inner world, which will give them the chance to take stock of their life and recharge their batteries. A human being's life is naturally cyclical. Although some people choose to constantly rush forwards, it is actually much wiser to sometimes take a breather.

    When referring to a personality archetype, the Four of Swords refers to a rational mind with a practical intelligence whose results are seen in the world. This Cartesian way of thinking is a great asset for those who want to have a better understanding of the implications of situations and think calmly about the future. The intellect helps you find solutions to your problems more quickly and to get closer to the things that are really important to you.

    However, with the Four of Swords you need to avoid becoming confined. This card has the tendency to distance you from your emotions, which also need to be part of what triggers you to act. To rely exclusively on your intellect is to take the risk of creating a closed circuit, effectively excluding the richness of the subconscious and the mysterious beauty of spirituality. As always, you should be aiming for balance.

    Interpretation of The Four of Swords reversed

    Exhaustion is the pitfall to avoid when faced with the influence of the inverted Four of Swords. Even though the seeker's body is crying out for a rest, they find it almost impossible to take a break. Although it's normal to want to keep moving forward and stay on course, exhaustion is obviously going to be detrimental to their development, as it leads to stress and illness. Being strong doesn't mean persevering despite the warning signs, it means accepting the need to take a break when the situation requires it!

    A constant headlong rush may also reflect the seeker's inability to confront their problems. Always being busy is a subconscious way of preventing yourself from looking at what's really bothering you. This attitude is, of course, not beneficial in the long run. On the one hand, it only delays what has to be faced. On the other hand, it prevents the seeker from dealing with the anguish and sadness that still lingers deep inside them. It is only by agreeing to deal with their wounds that they will be able to set off again on their life path with a lighter step. This will be essential for them to become truly fulfilled!