Occultus Thesaurus - Four of Swords

Four of Swords

Four of Swords from the public domain Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

by Arthur Edward Waite, originally published 1910.

Description

The effigy of a knight in the attitude of prayer, at full length upon his tomb.

Meanings

Vigilance, retreat, solitude, hermit’s repose, exile, tomb and coffin. It is these last that have suggested the design.

Reversed:

Wise administration, circumspection, economy, avarice, precaution, testament.


The Tarot

by S. L. MacGregor Mathers, originally published 1888.

Meanings

Solitude, Retreat, Abandonment, Solitary, Hermit.

Reversed

Economy, Precaution, Regulation of Expenditure.


General Book of the Tarot

by A. E. Thierens, originally published 1930.

Meanings

Solitude, retreat, hermitage, exile, isolation, inhibited condition, abandonment. Tomb and coffin.

Reversed

Economy, good conduct, circumspection, precaution, wise administration, testament, avarice, household, savings, order, etc.

Theory

The element of Earth on the Fourth house, house of the home and the sign Cancer. This immediately explains why this card has been said to stand for economy, savings, even avarice and household affairs as well as for many things in connection with the end of life, since the fourth house in the horoscope relates to the end of life, and to the inner side of life as long as this lasts. Tradition is once more very correct in this case. When it enumerates “concord, harmony, etc.,” amongst the synonyms of this card, however, there is some discrepancy, because the only thing that can be meant here is ‘repose’ or the condition of rest, as that of the grave, in which external differences are lost. So taken in the strictly etymological sense of the words, ‘concord,’ etc., have nothing to do with it. If in any case this card should relate to business, it certainly does not mean that anything like accord has been or will be reached, but that one of the parties retires or takes his proposals back. It may also relate to the condition of the soul, in which one harvests the results of material life in the world, whether spiritually, by meditation, or materially, by economy. In any case it points to a stillness and heavy condition of the mind. Further, to the tendency of collecting, gathering.

Conclusion

Solitude, repose, retreat, retiring from the world, “hermit’s repose” (W.); gathering, collecting, taking home one’s savings or impressions, meditation, economy, avarice, precaution, testament, and the place occupied at the end of life, hermitage, grave, coffin. The place of the card in the horoscopic scheme indeed suggests the idea of being buried under the earth.


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