Four of Swords

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Synthetic Meaning

By enclosing within their oval a branch with with a complete set of elements (stem, leaves, buds, flower, etc.), the four stylized swords symbolize the constructive energy of 4, ordering and consolidating things in order to give them security in their future development; they are still enclosed, but the branch which represents them has been cut and is ready to use when the oval will be unwoven; in fact it will have disappeared with the split that takes place in the Five of Swords.

Analytic Meaning

            The number 4 indicates here the quarternary forces brought together, the “ego” is inside, its work, represented by the cut branch, all being ready for use, potentiated, and it will require the next card to be externalized.

            The central flower, with its blue corolla, its red pistol, its yellow petals and its flesh-colored twig, synthesizes the four elements, and, as it is in its budding state, shields them but also presents them ready to be be born.

            The two blue-and-yellow leaves are ramifications, the means of communication and expansion of these forces or fluids, they indicate a realization.

            The small yellow leaves are the beginnings of activity, they are folded and unite at their base to suggest the idea of an inchoate polarity, a potential of activity. The small black fruit above them indicates matter as it evolves, as well as the necessity of selection and elimination.

            The red interior of the cut twig represents the life current or the blood, the force of the physical plane.

            The significance of the swords in a semi-circle is the same as that for the Two and the Three of Swords, but one will note here, as well as on the following Sword cards, that at their junction above and below and midway, the blue and yellow parts of the swords are colored in blocks. This is to mark the fact that, together, the currents of activity represented by the swords have contact with the impersonal and represent a relaxing of strength, while still being distinct in their individual courses.

            This relaxation, always blue above and below, and yellow on the left and right, indicates that mental activity is developed in its spiritual form on the higher planes and in a physical form on the lower planes, while while being dressed in mentality in the work of the interior Self and in its contact with exterior forces (the “Self” is situated on the left side of the card, and the “Not Self” on the right side).

            The four exterior flowers, smaller on this card than they are on the preceding ones, represent dispersions caused by the animistic activity of construction. [?]

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

            MENTAL. Fluid richness.

            ANIMISTIC. Feelings which are certain and deep, union without disturbance.

            PHYSICAL. Creation, organization with a great potential permitting a realization of a project, whatever it is. Matters very rich in spirituality.

            INVERTED.. If the flower is aimed downward, the card indicates grief, depression, sorrow, a feeling which tarnishes and persists.

*

            In its Elementary Sense, the Four of Swords represents joy,  the internal ardor of Man, created by effort and constructive activity.

[Return to Table of Contents for Le Tarot de Marseille by Paul Marteau]

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