Rest from strife, is the general meaning of this Tarot card in the suit of death. Issues, relationships or something in one's life has come to full resolution on all four levels of awareness--mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical.
The 4 of Swords card, as illustrated by Barbara Walker, is also representative of a healthy seclusion, where one is voluntarily taking time-off from adversarial situations as they rest and recuperate. Therefore, the intellect is relinquishing control and allowing peace from the stress generated by juggling the contrary.
Sometimes this card also signifies convalescence and recuperation from a illness specifically generated by the psychosomatic union of body and subconscious mind to establish a involuntary rest period.
To a Qabalist, the 4 of Swords card represents Chesed in Yetzirah; the influence of Mercy in the Astral word.
The Thoth Four of Swords--Truce, card represents the equal focus of the four states of conscious;
The Thoth 4 of Swords, represents the meditative, negotiating, and conflict resolving mind.
With the flexibility
of Jupiter (sign on top of card) and the balancing and non-positional influence of Libra (sign at bottom of the card) this suggests a truce making mind that is a four fold process of the four states of consciousness.
This four fold process is shown by the four swords (swords represents Air/ Mind) all meeting at the points in the Lotus of four tiers of the lotus (symbol of enlightened mind).
Therefore, Truce is an opportunity to move through the issues of conflict which tend to stall our mental processes; represented by the web-like back ground of this card.
The Thoth Truce card is often called the four fold way;
First: One must be present;
Second: Pay attention.
Third: Tell the truth.
Fourth: Not be attached to the outcome.
The color green on the Thoth Tarot Card represents regeneration and yellow represents the deeply spiritual mind, that may be known to some as the Solar Logos.
Again, The Thoth Tarot 4 of Swords, represents Chesed (mercy) manifesting in the realm of Intellect. Jupiter rules in Libra in this decannate.
There is no opposition in any of these symbols so The Four of Swords proclaims the idea of authority in the intellectual world and is the dogma and the law concerning it. In an arbitrary manner, the Four of Swords represents a refuge from chaos and argues for convention.
On The Thoth Tarot, the 4 Swords have their hilts placed in the 4 corners of a St. Andrews cross suggesting rigidity. The Sword points are sheathed in a large white forty-nine petaled rose, representing social harmony. Hence this card is mental compromise. Thus, fixed rigidity is suggested.
The number 4 is the position of Chesed (mercy) on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. In this decanate, Chesed refers to Jupiter who rules in Libra. Thus we have, intellectual balance and/or the idea of authority in the intellectual world.
However, when mercy is applied to intellectual thought, we have compromise, which in itself, dulls the sharpness of wit. Therefore, the 4 of swords can represent the turning of a clear and concise thought into a rather murky, self-deprecating thought. Such as the political thought of today.
When thought is compromised to please the "many" very little intelligence is presented. Such thought represents a refuge from the mental chaos of free thinking, arrived at in an arbitrary manner. While arguing for convention, one loses the invention of the individual perspective. From such conventional thinking, we get society and indoctrination.
The large 49 petal rose in the center of the Thoth Card, represents social harmony, which has fixed the 4 swords of "pointed thought", into pointlessness, supporting the theme of this Crowley- card of compromise.
First and foremost, there is no Truce without conflict but conflict is not over because of Truce. Rather, it is a temporary fix at best, and will soon shake apart from the strain of holding the tension in compromise. We have a perfect example of this in our Korean Truce between North and South Korea, the war isn't over due to compromise...it's just waiting to ignite again. As Aleister Crowley so eloquently put it, "Minds too indolent or too cowardly to think out their own problems hail joyfully this policy of appeasement." [Book of Thoth] .
Because the number 4 represents the manifestation of things, the Four of Swords-Truce, also represents ,"the strong man or woman, armed, keeping their house in peace." The very nature of Air (combination of Fire-Will and Water-emotions) makes the action of Truce dominate. Thus we have Truce, held by threat of violence, rather than an intelligent conclusion to a problem. That is why the back ground of the Thoth 4 of Swords is a chaotic mix of fractures, rather than an established geometric formula. Truce may sound like a good idea, but it is only a temporary avoidance of a problem rather than a fix. The term for this in our modern society would be, "Truce is just a band-aid, not a cure."
The Barbara Walker Tarot- 4 of Swords: Seclusion, depicts a Sybil, therefore illustrating the old traditional meaning of the 4 of Swords. Tarot 4s invoked the earth-sign of the square. Within a cavern and within a square, was seated the Sybil, establishing her magical connection between herself and the Mother of Fate.
Fatal women and dire events, generally were associated with the name seeresses, pythonesses, mantes, valas, magia, stregae or sybils. The moniker, sybil, was a derivative of the Goddess, Cybele, whose name meant "cavern- dweller". The Sybil of Cumae (Cumaean Sibyl was the priestess presiding over the Apollonianoracle at Cumae, a Greek colony located near Naples, Italy) and the Pythoness (Pythia) of Delphi, (The Pythia (/ˈpɪθiə/, Greek: Πυθία [pyːˈtʰi.a]), commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the name given to the priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi who served as the oracle). Wikipedia.
Just as Kali's Yogis, oracular women often sat cross legged on the ground, establishing her "earth seat". Later on, Christian authorities, keeping with their tradition of misogyny, claimed that sitting cross legged was a form of witchcraft.
Sitting on the ground or touching Mother Earth, is a time honored way of invoking her power. This was not only shown in the Greek myths of the son of Mother Earth, the giant Antaeus, but also by the Buddha. In his prolonged isolation, the Buddha called on Mother Earth's power, by touching her, so that she would protect him from demon's. Without the intervention of the Mother Goddess, it was believed that no one could withstand the evil forces, not even the Enlightened One.
Therefore, the Tarot Tradition for the 4 of Swords, was that it represented foresight or insight generated by seclusion.Sometimes, the 4 of Swords represented prophetic powers invoked in secret.
There was also implied by the 4 of Swords, that consulting a person of true insight and/or prophetic ability, would reveal a rather dire outlook.
When the 4 of Swords is thrown during a reading:
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