Four of Swords Tarot Card

The Tarot Suit of Swords

The Tarot Suit of Swords is associated with the suit of Spades in standard playing cards - both have sharp edges. Although many tarot decks use the term swords to refer to this suit, it also has other names (that is, for the equivalent suit in other decks), which include daggers, blades or knives.

There are meanings associated with each of the suits in a tarot deck, as well as the more specific interpretations associated with each individual card - and yet more precise meanings pertaining to particular cards in particular locations within spreads.

The suit of swords is associated with the element of air. It is also associated with the season of spring and the direction East. The suit of swords concerns academic or philosophical thought, intellectual pursuits, truth, and clarity.

The Fours in the tarot deck are the cards that begin to define situation and set relevant boundaries. These incorporate order and structure, although not repression of expression or self-discovery.

The theme of the 4 of Swords is taking time out.

This could be in the form of time away from work e.g. for a holiday or simply meditation, or changing focus to other matters for a while.

The Four of Swords is sometimes interpreted more specifically as 'sorrow over intellect'. See for example in the tarot textbook "The Complete Illustrated Guide to Tarot", which mentions retreat from pain or struggle in order to rest or heal. Some tarot decks illustrate a church as the setting for this card because to some people a church can represent a place of healing. However, such imagery doesn't suit everyone and other decks including, for example, the Robin Wood Tarot Deck, depict a natural outdoor environment.


Keywords for possible interpretations of the 4 of Swords Tarot Card include:

  • Convalescence
  • Contemplation
  • Meditation
  • Recovery
  • Rest or a restful (private) place
  • Seclusion

Robin Wood Tarot Deck Celtic Tarot - Tarot Cards and Book Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot Deck The Gilded Tarot (Book and Tarot Deck Set) Angel Tarot Cards

What about the Four of Swords Reversed ?

Some interpretations of the meaning of the 4 of Swords reversed include:

  • Return to action
  • Energy replenished, clarity restored, effective rest completed
  • Group unrest, perhaps in the form of marches, riots or industrial disputes

Tarot Articles:

Tarot Card Games - for, against and examples

Learning to Read Tarot Cards

20 Steps to reading Tarot Cards

Why use Free Printable Tarot Cards?

List of Tarot Card Meanings

Origins of the Tarot Nouveau - or 'French Tarot'

Learning Tarot

Uses of Tarot Cards

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