Four of Swords

"I think before taking action."

IV: Four of Swords

meditation contemplation perspective mindset

A quiet time of withdrawal and contemplation, a period of introversion and reflection, of emotional recuperation after the outbreak of conflict in the Three. It means accept solitude and rest from sorrow so peace of mind and liberation can happen. Here we have conventional thinking, being confident that one's traditional approach will resolve all demanding situations. Dogma, law, truce and compromise for social harmony.
Inverse: Isolation, prison, loneliness, rigidity and conformity of mind, inflexible views and ideas, bigotry.



  • Thinking over your plans before putting them into action.
  • Pausing to meditate or clear your mind.
  • Taking time to understand someone or something before criticizing it.
  • Resting.
  • Occupying your thoughts with a healthy distraction.
  • Shadow

    • Failing to think things through.
    • Mistaking procrastination for thoughtfulness.
    • Adopting a point of view and refusing to reconsider your conclusions, even when presented with refuting evidence.
    • Allowing chaos and whimsy to dominate your thoughts.
    • Symbolism

      The Still Figure

      On the original RWS cards, the figure of the sleeping knight is easily mistaken for a decorative touch on a stone sarcophagus. Or, perhaps, he's asleep - but with one Sword at the ready, just in case. The message? Even in rest, be prepared for action.

      Three and One

      The three Swords remaining on the wall suggest the knight's rest is a deliberate one - a course of action deliberately chosen. The single Sword in hand suggests opportunity. What opportunities might open for you if you made a conscious decision to integrate relaxation into your routine?

      Quiet Thoughts

      Quiet time can be used for research and personal growth, enhancing the work you do when more physically active.

      The Marseilles Image

      The curved blades form a protective barrier in which a new blossom can flourish. How might a retreat or a withdrawal provide you with a protected space in which to grow?

      Four of Swords' Advice


      • Taking a break from each other might restore some perspective.
      • Rather than over-analyze everything, clear your mind and take things at face value for once.
      • If you can't achieve peace together, there's no shame in saying you need a rest.


      • Running at top speed all the time wears down the most capable individuals.
      • Insist on time to recharge your creative batteries.
      • On even the most hectic days, steal ten minutes to be still and disconnect.
      • See time off as an investment in maintaining your sharp edge.


      • Withdrawal from the world can help you achieve remarkable perspective.
      • Schedule time for quiet contemplation.
      • Rather than ponder solutions, just breathe and let Spirit sort things out.

      Personal Growth

      • A mature person knows the value of stillness.
      • Before taking action, set aside time to simply be.
      • Associate calmness and focus with specific postures or breathing patterns, and you'll be able to summon a clear state of mind on demand.

      Fortune Telling

      • Don't make any decision now.
      • Wait, and you'll be glad you did.


      • Between October 13th and 22nd.

      Questions to ask

      • How long has it been since you deliberately took a "time out?"
      • How difficult is it for you to meditate?
      • What would happen if you simply refused to make a decision today?

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      Major Arcana

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      Parts of this page's description of the Four of Swords tarot card are taken from "A Guide to Tarot Card Meanings" by Mark McElroy.