intellectual understanding

Welcome to Tarot Alley! Sometimes Tarot Alley uses affiliate links, which means we might receive a commission on the sale of some items. This has NO additional cost to you. Visit the policies page to learn more.

Intro: Four of Swords Tarot Card Meaning - intellectual understanding

Tarot Alley uses the Rider Waite type of deck for our meanings, symbols, interpretations, etc.

When determining the Four of Swords tarot card meaning, you should consider that it’s a Swords card and a Four. The Suit of Swords represents knowledge and intellect. Fours represent stability and equality.

In this way, we can determine that the Four of Swords represents some kind of stability in our knowledge. It typically means a pause to understand our knowledge and intellect.

Take a look at the Rider-Waite Four of Swords displayed to the left (or above).

What is your first impression?

Think about the figure: is it dead? asleep? stone? Are the swords hanging over it or beside?

There’s no right or wrong answer here, just your interpretation.

Astrology: Jupiter in Libra
Element: Air
Numerology: 4 (equality, persistence, stability)

Common Symbols

  • A Still Figure: to represent rest.
  • Three Swords: separate from the fourth to represent deliberate choice
  • One Sword at Hand: to represent opportunity

Keywords & Concepts

  • Contemplation
  • Meditation
  • Minset
  • Perspective

The Four of Swords for Personal Growth

Affirmation: I think before taking action.

Stillness can bring immense value to your life. Set aside time in your day to just be. Try meditation if you need guidance.

Ask Yourself:

  • How long has it been since you deliberately took a ‘time out?’
  • How difficult is it for you to meditate? Why?
  • What would happen if you simply refused to make a decision today?
  • What opportunities might open for you if you made a conscious decision to integrate relaxation into your routine?
  • How might a retreat or withdrawal provide you with a protected space in which to grow?

Interpreting the Four of Swords

Generally, the Four of Swords represents intellectual understanding. Something has happened and now it’s time to pause, clear your mind, and take the time necessary to understand.

Not quite sure what to do? Take a rest! Not the resting type? Find a healthy distraction for a while. This is not the time to be doing something, it’s a time to make and think over plans before doing anything.

The Reversed Four of Swords

How you read reversals is a personal choice. You can ignore reversals and read them as if the card is upright (this is what I often choose to do) or you can interpret reversals as variations of what they would mean upright. There are 3 common ways to read reversals: as a negative interpretation, as an opposite interpretation, or as a block on the upright interpretation. Check out How to Read Reversals for more information.

Typically, a reversed Four of Swords represents a lack of understanding. Examples include:

  • Failure to think things through
  • Mistaking procrastination for thoughtfulness
  • Refusing to reconsider your point of view (especially when presented with refuting evidence)
  • Allowing your thoughts to be dominated by chaos and whimsy instead of logic

Examples of the Four of Swords

Specific Interpretations

Specific situations are the general interpretation (from above) used for a specific situation (love, career, etc). There is no need to memorize these (or even look them up) if you understand the general interpretation. However, here are some basic interpretations for some specific situations:


Taking a break is not the same as breaking up. Sometimes, a little space can offer clarity and peace. There’s no shame in taking a break to gain perspective about your relationship.


Even the strongest batteries eventually wear out. Take time to pause and recharge – you need (and deserve) it.


Quiet contemplation can help you achieve perspective. Schedule time for it, get comfortable, and breathe.

the Four of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

Pin This: Four of Swords Tarot Card

The Four of Swords tarot card meaning is all about intellectual understanding. Now is not the time for action but for contemplation. Take a break to enhance yourself!

Once you feel comfortable with the Four of Swords tarot card meaning, check out the next card in the tarot deck: the Five of Swords Tarot Card Meaning.


Tarot Alley Homepage


Pin This: Five of Swords Tarot Card