Contemplation. Rest. Respite.
The Four of Swords shows an effigy of man resting in a church, and this card is about respite—a temporary period of rest, or peace after you’ve experienced sorrow or strife.
When this card appears, it can be telling you that you need to spend some time contemplating aspects of your life, or relaxing after a period of conflict or disagreement.
The card suggests stillness and passivity. You may be recuperating after some sort of discord, or you may need to recuperate after an illness.
It can also show the need for solitude. You might be being advised to spend time alone to think through issues in your life.
Retreat from or pulling back from a conflict may be a good idea.
This card can sometimes literally refer to tombs or coffins.
It’s possible that an agreement has been reached between different parties.
If you’ve been feeling anxious, this may show that you can (or should) now relax. After resting, it should be possible to see any problems from a fresh perspective.
There is a feeling with this card that the respite is only temporary.
When reversed, the Four of Swords can indicate that you really need to take a rest, perhaps you’re working too hard and need to take a break.
It can also show that you’re being too cautious and need to be more active.
There may be news of a will.
The Animal Totem Tarot emphasizes rest and stillness with the image of a hibernating toad waiting for spring.
The Four of Swords shows an effigy of a man lying on a tomb with his hands together as if in prayer. Three swords hand down on the wall above and behind him, and one sword is shown on the side of the tomb beside him.
In the top left of the image is a beautiful stained glass window.
The effigy on the tomb suggests peace and rest, and the stained glass window of the church suggests a message or communication with the heavens.
In the Steampunk Tarot, instead of a stained glass window there is a raven at the window (also representing a message from above). The Steampunk deck also has an hourglass, stressing that this is a temporary respite.
In the Marseilles Tarot, a flower is shown in the centre as if protected by the four swords—giving a sense of peace.
The esoteric title of the Four of Swords is Lord of Rest from Strife.
Astrologically, this card represents Jupiter in Libra.