Key Meaning: Time-Out
The Four of Swords means take time-out to rest and recharge your batteries.
Number 4 Meaning In Tarot
All fours, including the Four of Cups, Four of Pentacles and Four of Wands represent stability. As swords refer to the mind, this card suggests resting the mind will restore balance. This is a good time to step back, clear all the clutter in your head and review the bigger picture.
Four of Swords Keywords
🥰 Upright: Time out, see the big picture, convalescence
😒 Reversed: Clarity, returning to work, jump into action
Four of Swords Description
This description is based on the Rider Waite Tarot Deck. A knight is lying down on a coffin, inside what appears to be a church. His hands are held up in prayer, indicating that he is not dead, but merely enjoying the quietness of the sanctuary. Three swords hang above him on the wall, representing battles already won. An additional sword lies to the side of the coffin, indicating more battles are to come. This knight is retreating from the world to recover and reflect on where to focus his efforts next.
LOVE: What does The 4 of Swords Mean when You Ask About Love?
When the 4 of Swords turns up in a love reading, the meaning will depend on whether or not you are in a relationship.
❤️ If you asked will I find love? – then this card doesn’t answer your question directly. Rather it guides you to take ‘time out’ from dating and dating apps. You are better reflecting, learning and growing at this time.
❤️ If you have just met someone, the relationship will take time to develop. However, perhaps a slower pace is what you need.
❤️ Have you been arguing with your partner? This card indicates that although your situation has been tense up until now, there is now a releasing of tension and anxiety from within you. Don’t hold on to the tensions of the past – now is your opportunity to put all of this behind you and learn to relax a little. You simply can’t go on fighting yesterday’s battles.
YOU: What does This Card Signify when You Ask About Boredom?
There is a sense of boredom in this card, in that some of the things which you used to find fun may now appear stale and humdrum. Well, in a way this is a good sign, because it means that you are growing. However, do not be tempted to make hasty decisions, like quitting a job or a relationship without thinking things through carefully. Sometimes it easy to blame other people or situations for our boredom, when really the problem is that we ourselves have stopped caring.
The 4 of Swords guides you to make incremental changes, for example going on a spiritual retreat or vacation to allow yourself time to step back and see the bigger picture. Perhaps try a new hobby or take on a new task at work to stimulate your mind. Or make an effort in your relationship, for example by having a weekly date night. Most likely you will discover in the process, that there was nothing necessarily wrong with your life, you just needed reminding that effort in = outcome.
CAREER: What does This Card Signify when You Ask About Work?
If your question relates to work, business, career or study and you receive the 4 of Swords, then the guidance is:
⭕ In work or business, this card represents problem solving, stepping back in order to see the bigger picture. If you are feeling stressed by a situation, then working longer hours is not necessarily the solution. Instead, you are better stepping back and viewing things with fresher eyes.
⭕ In study or creative projects, if you want to be original then step away from your computer screen and books. Instead, take a long walk in nature because when your mind is clear, you will be inspired by ideas that will otherwise elude you.
⭕ You are considering taking a sabbatical or retiring. The idea is good, when this card turns up.
Business ideas associated with this card include: Anything in the Mind, Body, Spirit area, including meditation, mediumship, acupuncture, reflexology, counseling, coaching and running spiritual retreats.
MONEY: What is the Meaning of The 4 of Swords in a Money Reading?
💲 If you asked the Tarot about finances and you receive the Four of Swords, it means that you need to assess how you make and/or spend your money. If you find yourself constantly stressed about bills, then something needs to change. Maybe you are working at a job you don’t like, and spending all your money to compensate yourself for the pressure. Or maybe you are working at job that doesn’t pay you enough, but you are too scared or unwilling to upskill or take a chance. Either way, this card reminds you that life is short, and you were not destined to struggle endlessly. Maybe take time out, even just a long weekend, to think about your future.
💲 If you asked about a significant purchase, like a house – this card represents no action. In other words, no new purchases in the near future.
Tarot Card Combination Meanings
“4 of Swords combined with The Lovers” – Take time out to improve your love life or relationship.
“4 of Swords combined with The Tower” – An unpleasant event forces you to take time out.
“4 of Swords combined with The Magician” – Take a vacation before starting your next adventure.
HEALTH: What does The 4 of Swords Mean when You Ask About Health?
The 4 of Swords can represent a period of convalescence after surgery or coming home from hospital. It can also represent burnout and mental breakdown.
YES/NO: Does The Four of Swords Mean Yes or No in a Reading?
❓ When you ask a Yes or No question and the 4 of Swords turns up, then the answer is NO.
TIMING: Does The 4 of Swords Predict any Particular Timeframe?
🕔 This card is only a timing indication when you specifically asked a timeframe question. For example, if you want to know if something will happen, and when, then you need to draw two separate cards. These are in fact, two separate questions. This is a fundamental principle to understand if you want an accurate tarot reading – and it is core to my teaching in my book Tarot in 5 Minutes.
🕔 Using my timing method, the Four of Swords is about 4 days. If the card is reversed, timing will be slightly longer – so up to 6 days.
Karina’s Timing Method:
Swords are days. Wands are weeks. Cups are months and Pentacles are years. Please note this is my personal timing method. Feel free to adopt it (or not).
What is the Meaning of The Four of Swords Reversed?
When the 4 of Swords is upside down then our knight slides off the tomb and jumps into action.
✔️ You know what to do now. Go for it!
✔️Health, energy or motivation returns and you feel ready to face the world again.
✔️You are returning to work or the pursuit of your goals after a period of absence.
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Karina, author of Tarot in 5 Minutes.