The Four of Swords, a Message Sent for You to Take Rest

The Different Interpretations for this Tarot Card, Depending on the Orientation and the Suit

The Four of Swords can be interpreted in a variety ways. And depending upon the suit it can highlight parts of your life that need, for a lack of better words, a serious break. Maybe you have been super burned out at work, having trouble within your relationships, or are struggling with your mental health. 

When you see the four of swords that means that it is time to take a rest, a break from whatever strenuous cards life has dealt you. But the tarot has now dealt you the Four of Swords. What does this mean? Given that it is an air sign and minor arcana, good news, whatever is going on in your life right now isn't that terrible but given that the card is a part of the sword suit it does insinuate some strife. But the Four of swords has a proposition for you:

  • Take a break
  • Stay in Silence 
  • Contemplate what your next move may be

Keywords for the Four of Swords

To Generalize the Four of Swords and its Orientation

  • Upright: Relaxation, Meditation, Ponderance, Isolation, Recovery
  • Reversed: Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Temptation

Table displaying arrangement of tarot cards along with a crystal.
Four of swords with a man resting, symbolizing the meaning of the card. Image courtesy of Numerology Sign.

Four of Swords Tarot Card Meaning (Upright)

The Four of Swords advises you to prioritize self-care, rest, and introspection. By taking the time to rejuvenate your mind and spirit, you will be better equipped to face the challenges ahead with renewed energy and clarity. The entire grouping of the suit of swords represents the challenges and trials one must face in life. 

This card represents rest, recovery, and contemplating life's more arduous hardships. Depending upon the different trials and tribulations in one's life, this card can apply to situations where an individual is stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted, and needs to recuperate to handle a specific scenario better. 

The Four of Swords also advises you to remain silent and inactive, suggesting you take the time to reflect silently on how to approach a situation better. The fact that the card is a minor arcana also indicates that whatever situation you’re going through, it is not as complex as other challenges in life.

Next, we’re going to cover how the Four of Swords can be interpreted in a reading when it comes to key areas of your life:

  • What the Four of Swords means in a reading about health
  • How the Four of Swords impacts your finances
  • The Impact of the Four of Swords in a reading on love

Health (Upright)

The suit of the swords represents trial and tribulation, which follows through in how this card is interpreted regarding health. Temporary or permanent disablement can become a problem that besets the individual who gets this card, and they may suffer from a debilitating physical or mental ailment. Depression can affect an individual, and it can cause them to be bedridden, inactive, and gain contempt towards activity due to negative or traumatic experiences. Physically, the spine and legs may be affected. 

Finance (Upright)

The Four of Swords suggests precaution and concise decision-making regarding one's finances. This card indicates a period of stability or a temporary relief from financial stress. It may be an excellent time to create a budget, track your expenses, and ensure you manage your money responsibly and efficiently. Consider seeking professional advice or educating yourself further on financial matters if needed. 

This card also emphasizes the importance of taking a break from excessive spending or impulsive financial decisions. It advises you to resist the temptation to make significant financial moves during this period of rest and contemplation. 

Instead, focus on conserving your resources and building a solid foundation for future economic growth. If you are experiencing financial problems, the Four of Swords reminds us that everything will work out eventually and that challenges are temporary and necessary. Without the hardship we experience day to day, we would not have become more robust. Take time to reconvene with your financial advisor, family, or yourself to devise a plan to move forward.

Caption: Four of swords with a buddhist interpretation. Tarot cards can exemplify diversity and inclusion as well, typically represented through medieval-esque art but here we see Asian culture displayed. Image courtesy of Magda Chiossi on Pinterest.

Four of Swords Tarot card showing a man meditating in an astral realm.
Four of swords with a Buddhist interpretation. Tarot cards can exemplify diversity and inclusion as well, typically represented through medieval-esque art but here we see Asian culture displayed. Image courtesy of Magda Chiossi on Pinterest.

Love (Upright)

If you are single or unmarried, the Four of Swords shows that you no longer have the motivation to seek out a relationship actively, or that damage has been done in relationships before. Desire in the relationship has sapped up completely. 

In A Love Reading, it advises to stay away from relationships for a while to reflect upon experience and determine why you have no such craving for an intimate relationship. 

For casual dating and married couples, this card in a love suit can represent the strain and pressure within the relationship. That space and ponderance from both parties are required to give the relationship time to rekindle. Particularly in married couples, the interactions between one another start to become transactional, almost as if the entire relationship is necessary. You are losing that spark and intrigue that  led them to be attracted to one another. 

A tarot card displaying four swords. 
A basic type of card that you would see in a normal tarot deck. Other sword cards within the suit will normally look exactly the same or have different caricatures symbolizing the meaning of the card. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Four of Swords Meaning (Reversed) 

The four swords reversed can reveal resistance to the required rest. That burnout and stress are starting to take control over you and that it is time to take a long-deserved break that has been put off for way too long. The Four of Swords also show that there has been incomplete rest; the meaning of the card is to take time away and reflect, and when this needed rest is disregarded, it can weigh down upon an individual, and the proper steps must be taken to recover fully. 

The card also displays waste in one's life, a waste of energy on unsuccessful ventures, and laziness that has corrupted the soul to waste time. Because this card is a minor arcana, when the card is reversed, it symbolizes extreme anxiety and stress. Sometimes no matter how hard you push, the gas tank drains and that's perfectly okay! It's time to take an honest, relaxing break and get the needed rest that you truly need. 

Love (Reversed)

If the Four of Swords are reversed in a love suit, it suggests that it’s time for a break. As a single individual, you may have struggled to garner the attention of someone you find extremely attractive. It may be time for a change or a break from this chase to reflect on why there is no response from the other person that you are trying to woo. 

Within casual couples and married relationships, abuse could be occurring within the relationship. One partner has taken the role of a perpetrator, forcefully isolating or mentally damaging the individual. There needs to be time spent with one another so that the person being taken advantage of has the chance to heal and forgive their partner. As well as giving the opportunity to the hurtful partner to reflect upon why they feel the need to suppress their partner. Perhaps it is fear, jealousy, or the feeling that the other person will leave, which could also be a viable option. The four swords promote rest and recovery, so maybe it is time to end things. 

Finances (Reversed)

Regarding finances, the reversed Four of Swords have a grim premonition in store for you. That you may be making impulsive financial decisions that will not benefit you in the long run, the best course of action is to reorganize your budgets, spending, or how you receive income. This card may have also come at a time of financial burnout, going back to the primary purpose of the Four of Swords- rest and rejuvenation. It may have been a rough last couple of months at your work, or bills are increasing. 

The card suggests trying to regain your focus and keep a level head when assessing any financial situation so that it does not worsen in the long run. The Four of Swords may also show that you are in a moment of financial riskiness- fickleness may be the best path to take regarding significant financial decisions. Inactivity is the best action whenever Four of Swords arrive upright or reversed within your reading. Even if you struggle through setbacks, it is much better than having a significant detriment in the future because you did not have the patience. 

Health (Reversed)

The Four of Swords reversed may mean intense depression, anxiety, and especially burnout. This may seem similar to the upright meaning, but there is a slight difference here. When upright, it represents debilitation, including physical health. Here we see a nose dive into an individual's mental and spiritual health caused by burnout, traumatic experiences, or an overall distaste for life. Taking time away to work on yourself is necessary here. 

Without a clear and positive mind, one can be led astray down dark paths where one cannot retain individuality or thirst for life. A vacation may be for you, even if it is just a few days to retreat and quiet the distressing thoughts of the mind. Once again, going back to the focus of this tarot card, to heal and reboot. 

The Meaning of the Four of Swords is clear: it’s time to slow down. 

Overall The Four of Swords should not frighten anyone who has received this in their reading. You must know that hardship is within your life, for it is in everyone’s lives, and recognizing it is the first step to facing any situation in front of you head-on. 

But before facing these situations, take a step back, reconcile within your psyche, and determine the best course of action. It is okay not to know the answers to our many questions and dilemmas –that is the beauty of ponderance. Once you find yourself coming to the correct conclusion you need, it can make all the difference in the world. 

Remember, taking a step back is part of the challenge that the Four of Swords that it bestows upon you. You know more about yourself than anyone else – it may just take a little time to determine what precisely that answer may be.

Christian Mitchell

Christian Mitchell is a Biology major at Slippery Rock University. He has strong aspirations for writing and is seeking to become a freelancer.
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