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Four of Swords Reversed Meaning – Smith-Waite Centennial

To kick off this week, we return to our Card of the Day free tarot reading series with another sword card. But the stakes are a little lower today with the peaceful Four of Swords!

You might remember that swords are the suit of the air element—of ideas, decisions, and reason. And we'll be taking a closer look at the Four of Swords' meaning in the reversed position with that context in mind.

If you're tuning in for the first time, you can check out our previous Card of the Day tarot readings whenever you like. And for a word on how we're viewing reversed cards in this series, see our post on the Ten of Swords Reversed. But don't worry; you don't need to have read our earlier posts to enjoy today's free reading.

The Four of Swords Reversed from the Smith-Waite Centennial Deck. Detailed image description in body text. Pictured with two square crystals, a rose quartz and an amethyst.

The Four of Swords Reversed in the Smith-Waite Centennial tarot deck

In our trusty Smith-Waite Centennial tarot deck, the Four of Swords depicts a Medieval resting place. In the foreground, we see a coffin with a stone figure reclining on its lid. The figure's hands are clasped forever in prayer, and their head rests on a sculpted cushion. Their clothes are fine, but their mid-length hair is loose and somewhat wild—suggesting a touch of motion and dynamism in an otherwise in a scene that's otherwise heavy with inertia. 

The first of our four swords is carved into the stone at the side of the coffin, next to the initials of the deck's pioneering artist, Pamela Colman Smith. And interestingly, the remaining three swords are part of the background. They seem to be part of a separate piece of stonework that hangs from the crypt's wall.

Finally, beside these three swords in the background, the corner of a lively stained-glass window provides the only splash of colour in our otherwise muted Four of Swords. Even the crystals we photographed beside the card can't compete with these bright hues! The window scene shows a red-robed figure who appears to be receiving a blessing from a priest.

So, are your eyes drawn to the little swath of colour in the window, or do they fall more naturally on the sleeping figure carved into the coffin? Take another look at the card above, and then we'll get into your tarot reading for today.

If your eyes were drawn most to the coffin…

If the coffin with its resting figure attracted your attention the most, you might want to set aside some time today to think about the people you look up to. Is there someone in particular who's helped shape the kind of person you want to be? This muse of yours could be a famous hero that you've never met—or it could be a friend or family member that you've had the pleasure of knowing personally.

In either case, ask yourself what it is about this person's life or legacy that made you set out on the same path. Can you distill their influence down to a single conviction or moral that you've been trying to apply in your own life? See if you can hold that ideal in your mind for a moment. Imagine it taking the form of a single, shining sword. Can you remember the passion you felt when you first took up that sword in the shadow of your idol? Remember what it meant to you all those years ago.

Now, imagine what it would be like to set that sword down—just for a moment! How would it feel to let yourself take a short break from all that pressure you've put on yourself? The legacy you've been trying to live up to is a lot to carry sometimes, isn't it? So see if you can give yourself a rest today. If you can, you'll turn back to those goals with renewed energy. 

If your eyes were drawn most to the stained glass…

If that bright stained glass in the corner of the Four of Swords caught your attention the most, take the opportunity to reflect on that person whose life you've been a little envious of. What advantages do they seem to have over you? And what privileges have made their journey seem a little easier, a little more richly rewarded?

Now, holding all of those advantages in your mind, I'd like you to see if you can invite a little self-understanding into your heart. What would it feel like to forgive yourself for wanting more and having less? Can you honour those feelings today without trying to shove them down?

Another tarot request to go easier on yourself

The Four of Swords Reversed suggests that you've been beating yourself up for not living up to a legacy (the coffin) or for looking to someone else's life with jealousy or even resentment (the stained glass). More than anything, this card is a gentle reminder that you're being too hard on yourself!

Like its cousin the Four of Wands, our daily tarot card reminds you to go easy. Isn't it time to give all that self-deprecation a rest? 

S.M. signature — Savanna Margaret's initials