The Four of Swords can be a grim-looking card. It often pictures a knight at rest, and looks almost like a tomb. Modern decks have re-imagined it in softer terms. In the Motherpeace deck, is shows a person in meditation. In World Spirit Tarot, a person is resting to heal an injured leg. Other decks show a gated garden as an opportunity for retreat.
I have often seen this card indicate a physical death or infirmity, although its interpretations are usually less tragic than that.
Usually, when it comes up in a reading, I think of it as a need for rest or retreat. It can also advise the practice of meditation.
I often see it as an indicator of an emptiness, or a void. It may suggest the absense of someone, or the absense of emotion.
When compaired with the Four of Wands, it almost seems like a complete opposite. The Four of Wands is joyous and celebratory. The Four of Swords is quiet and contemplative.
Sometimes this card reminds me that there are situations that are beyond my control. In that, it seems much like the Hanged Man.
If you read yesterday’s post, you might ask if I have a song for this card. Off the top of my head, I don’t. But let me think for a moment. What about Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know”?
That is certainly a song about retreat into a quiet space, which makes sense for this card. Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” works for me as well, for a lot of different reasons.
For all that it is not the most pleasant card, it is still one of my favorites. I appreciate the reminder to retreat, rest, and let go.