The Four of Swords tarot card is a sign to retreat inward and focus on rest, meditation, and recovery. This card is about seclusion and solitude, even more so than the famous Hermit card. When you’re recovering from a loss or problem, this card reminds you to retreat and recuperate while planning your next move.
When you’re ready to move forward, you’ll have the energy you need to make things happen. Now is the time to gather your mental strength and regain your peace and tranquility. This is also a perfect time to reevaluate your priorities and determine what’s working well for you and where you need to make a change.
When you see the Four of Swords card reversed, it can mean you desperately need to take time to rest and recover. Now’s the time to retreat into your happy place and spend precious moments in solitude. Maybe you’ve been working long hours or maybe someone in your life has been particularly draining. Whatever the case, you need some downtime to reflect and regain your strength before you get burnt out.
The reversed Four of Swords can also mean you’re feeling restless and high-strung. You want to take care of all the tasks at hand as quickly as possible, but it’s not realistic. If you keep pushing yourself like this, you’ll just get more stressed and frantic. Focus on your mental health and overall wellbeing and take things one step at a time. Don’t be afraid to take a step back to reevaluate and rest, and lean on others who can help.
Reading this reversed card using the “blocked/restricted” meaning
Okay, now let’s jump into how to read your reversed Four of Swords card. First, you can use the “blocked/restricted” reversed card meaning. When you read your cards like this, you look for an obstacle standing in front of the card’s upright meaning.
For the Four of Swords, this means something is blocking your ability to rest and recover. What’s keeping you from the time and space you need?
For example, you might pull the reversed Four of Swords card thinking about your need to please everyone. You’re a kind and generous person, always happy to lend a hand. This means you have a lot of friends, and people often ask you for favors.
Just last week, you were fostering a couple of kittens, making meals for a new mom, and volunteering at a homeless shelter downtown. You also work a full-time job and have several dogs that need a lot of attention and exercise.
Lately, you’re burnt out because you’re putting in a lot of hours at work, but the requests for help just keep pouring in. You’re not sure how to say no, so you keep overexerting yourself, and it’s affecting your mood. You’re being short with people and resent their requests because of your exhausted state.
Here, the reversed Four of Swords card tells you that your desire to please everyone is only going to keep draining you. It’s keeping you from having the time you need to relax and recover. Even worse, it’s affecting your happiness and causing you to lash out at your loved ones.
Practice setting healthy boundaries and telling people “no” when you can’t help out. They’ll respect your decision and are probably more than happy to lend a hand when you need it too.
Reading this reversed card using the “opposite” meaning
Another way to read your reversed Four of Swords card is using the “opposite” reversed card meaning. When you read your cards this way, you look for the opposite of the card’s upright meaning.
So for the Four of Swords, instead of rest and relaxation, you’re overworked and stressed.
For example, you might pull the reversed Four of Swords card thinking about your work/home balance. You’re married with a two-year-old son, and you also work as a delivery driver. Your days are extremely busy: you stay at home with your son for half of the week and work while your partner stays home the other half.
You have family nearby, but you don’t want to ask them for help because you want to prove you can handle being a working parent. But the truth is, you’re exhausted, and it’s affecting your marriage and your ability to focus while on the road.
Here, the reversed Four of Swords card tells you to take some time to rest and recover before you get too burnt out. Not only could your exhaustion cause big issues in your marriage, but you’re in danger if you’re too tired while out doing deliveries.
Reach out to your family and see who’s available to help. Everyone understands the challenges that go along with having a family, and they’ll be happy to take some of the pressure off. You can also talk to other parents in your area and set up a schedule to share in childcare duties.
Lots of parents have schedules like yours, so you’ll likely find someone who has the same needs. Remember that you have to take care of yourself to take care of others, and that starts with getting rest when you need it.
Reading this reversed card using the “worse” meaning
You can also read your reversed Four of Swords card using the “worse” reversed card meaning. When you read your cards like this, you take the card’s upright meaning and put it in a negative light.
With the Four of Swords, this can mean you’ve been retreating into yourself to rest and recover, but maybe you’re lingering there too long.
For example, you might pull the reversed Four of Swords card after going through a rough patch. This past year was one of the hardest in your life, filled with all kinds of challenges. First, you made some bad investments and lost a few thousand dollars. You also had a couple of failed relationships that made you feel like you’ll never meet the right one.
On top of everything, one of your best friends passed away, which sent you into a spiral of despair. You felt so overwhelmed that you decided to take some time away from socializing and going on social media. You haven’t been calling your friends or family for a few months now, and people are starting to get worried.
Here, the reversed Four of Swords card reminds you there is a difference between retreating inward to recover and becoming dangerously isolated. Taking time for yourself is necessary, but at a certain point, you need to reemerge.
Isolating for too long will only make things worse in the long run. You don’t need to launch back into an active social life right away, but at least try calling a close friend. Pick someone you know well who won’t judge your feelings. Also, try getting outside for a walk or to grab a meal. Sometimes just leaving the house is enough to put things in a new perspective and let a little light into your life.
Reading this reversed card using the “no/not” meaning
Finally, you can use the “no/not” reversed card meaning to read your reversed Four of Swords card. When you read your cards this way, you put a “no” or a “not” in front of the card’s upright meaning.
For the Four of Swords, this can mean “no rest.” You need to push through to the end of a project before letting yourself relax and recover.
Say you pull the reversed Four of Swords card thinking about your family. Last week, you and your sister decided to help your dad move into an assisted living community. He’s in his 80s and has limited mobility and other concerns, so it’s for the best.
Your dad has agreed without argument, but he has a large house with a lot of stuff that needs to get packed up and donated. Your sister lives nearby, and you’re across the country, so it’s much easier to just let her do everything. But it’s a huge task, so you know you should help even though you have a hectic work schedule and a busy family of your own.
Here, the reversed Four of Swords tells you that this will be a lot of work, but your family needs you right now. Going to help your dad and sister get everything packed will make the work go much more quickly and will mean the world to them. Yes, it’ll be tiring and probably emotional, but once you have it taken care of, you can take some time off to rest and recover back home.