4 of Swords

The interior of a solemn room. Three swords hang in decoration on the wall, point down. The fourth appears engraved lengthwise on the side of what could be a casket. Lying supine on the casket is an armored figure. His hands are held above his chest with the palms pressed together. The scene is somber as the stained glass window shows a saint receiving a kneeling penitent.

“Truce” and “Rest from strife” are oft-repeated keywords for this card. Some say the figure in Pamela Coleman Smith’s rendition is an effigy of a fallen knight, some say it is a knight engaging in quiet reflection. The sense of removing one’s self to a quiet state dominates the various interpretations.

At the beginning of a spread it can indicate the Querent should gird themselves for a difficult situation to come. At the end of a spread, it indicates relief or help will be coming to the Querent. If the query is concerning love, this can indicate a needed rest after a tumultuous scene, or that the Querent should refrain from pursuits for a while. If concerning work, this can indicate a pause in the usual office drama that the Querent can use to their advantage by clearing out backlogs and not rejoining the drama when it starts up again.

This is the eye of a hurricane, a moment when everything is still and quiet. When this card appears by itself, it indicates the Querent should stop what they are doing (as is safe to do so), and take stock of the situation. They should mentally prepare themselves for what is to come, as the situation, like all storms, won’t remain stable for long.