Four of Swords Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretations
During the medieval age knights, and warriors who could afford it, would have their coffin made for them before going into battle. If they survived they would lie on the coffin and pray, asking forgiveness for those they wounded or killed as well gratitude for keeping their own life. In modern times we've become aware of a mental illness suffered by returning service men called post traumatic stress disorder. This need to detoxify the soul from stressful, traumatic or shocking experiences can be achieved through meditation which can take various forms, depending on personal beliefs, including prayer.
The symbology of the 4 of Swords, taken from its element of Air and the numerology of the number 4, is one of mental stability. The element of Air represents our intellect and the challenges and trials we apply our minds to. In numerology the number 4 is the most stable and rigid of all the numbers. Numerology links the 4 of Swords to the 13th card of the Major Arcana, Death, as 13 reduces to 4 (1+3). Be careful not to assume this card refers to mental balance as this would be the 2 Of Swords. The mental stability of the 4 of Swords is more akin to the Death, or inactivity, of the mind. This is the objective of meditation, to quieten the mind and allow consciousness to rise and be dominant.
In the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) tarot deck the artist, Pamela C. Smith, depicted a man lying on a sarcophagus in what we can assume is a church from the stain glass window she also included. His hands are together on his chest, fingers pointing upwards, in prayer. This detail confirms that he is alive as a dead body could not hold this posture. Smith also chose to split the swords into a group of three hanging on the wall above his head and a single sword carved out of the side of his sarcophagus. The group of three swords above his head links to the previous card in this suit, the 3 Of Swords, representing the trauma, stress and toxic experiences he is purging from his mind through prayer and meditation. The single sword below him represents the laying down of arms and disengagement from mental conflict.
The 4 of Swords is a card of convalescence, healing, retreat, refuge and rest. The element here is Air which relates to challenges, conflicts and the mental aspects of our lives. The storms on the path of life that we have to navigate through. In numerology a number has positive, negative and destructive influences. The suite of Swords tends to focus on the negative and destructive however the 4 of Swords is one of the exceptions. The traits of the number 4, in numerology, are stability, patience, endurance, restriction and confinement. This is a good card to find when recovery from illness or mental, or emotional, trauma is needed.
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THE PICTORIAL KEY TO THE TAROT
By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)
The effigy of a knight in the attitude of prayer, at full length upon his tomb. Divinatory Meanings: Vigilance, retreat, solitude, hermit's repose, exile, tomb and coffin. It is these last that have suggested the design. Reversed: Wise administration, circumspection, economy, avarice, precaution, testament.
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© Phuture Me Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.