In Tarot Rider-Waite, the Four of Swords depicts a tomb, in a church, with stone carving of a knight on the top in a sleeping and pious position. Many readers believe that it shows an actual person sleeping, and modern Rider-Waite clone decks often colour in the person, to make him look like a real sleeping person on a tomb. In the original Rider-Waite deck, it is just an effigy of a person who is in fact dead. This does not change the meaning, but I feel the image is easily misunderstood.
The meaning of this card is rest and reflection after a fight or difficult task or time. This card reminds us to recover and rest. The person shown is praying, which means he is still receiving celestial energy if he asks for it, which is what this card is about: Build up strength again, especially mentally. Now is the time to meditate, relax and let your mind go. This card is very similar to the Hanged Man, except that in this card the exhaustion makes it compulsory to rest. The four of swords advises us to take things calmly, and not take them too seriously and let them affect you too much, because that could lead to depression and psychosomatisation. If this card describes a situation rather than giving advice, the card means stagnation out of exhaustion, and the resources are missing to advance and progress. This is a situation after a crisis or a breakdown, and there is no immediate improvement. You are not able to move on yet.
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