Four of Swords | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

4 of Swords

Keywords for the Four of Swords

RETREATMEDITATION
WITHDRAWALCONTEMPLATION
RESTCONSERVING ENERGY
RECOVERYDEVELOPING INNER STRENGTH
TIME OUTHEALING PAST WOUNDS

In the image on this card, we see a person laying down flat on his back in what appears to be the inside of a church. He holds his hands up together in prayer, letting us know that he is in a kind of meditative state here. He embodies a spirit of rest, withdrawal and deep contemplation.

This is reinforced by the stained-glass window we see above him. It shows an image of Jesus giving a healing blessing to a supplicant at his feet. From this, we can know that this withdrawal is intended to be only temporary. 

It indicates a period of rest, recovery, of gathering strength and healing from any past wounds we may have sustained during the course of our lives.

This window scene is also the only source of light in this darkened room. Even though he has removed himself from the regular course of daily life, these outer circumstances still concern him, and it is only a matter of time before he returns to them.

Interpretation of the 4 of Swords in a Reading

When the 4 of Swords appears in a reading, it can indicate a time of withdrawal from our typical engagements in the world around us.

We may feel compelled to take time apart from our everyday concerns in order to rest, reflect and prepare for what comes next.

This card indicates that this may be a useful time to engage in quiet reflection, meditation or other contemplative practices. These can help us gain clarity on the events and experiences which have transpired in our past. We may then be able to address certain areas of inner wounding, and develop a new vision which can carry us forward into a new future.

It is important to remember that the withdrawal we see in this card is meant to be only temporary. The energy of the 4 of Swords can be thought of in terms of the concept of the “therapeutic isolation” of psychological healing. 

It is a place where we go to develop strength, not to escape or avoid the troublesome outer world.

We should be careful not to remain in this state longer than necessary. Instead, we must remain only as long as is required for our inner transformation and healing to take place.

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