In a reading, the Four of Swords can suggest that - after the pain of the Three - we would now be well served by withdrawing for a time to rest and to heal. This is a time to recover our strength and to quietly process our thoughts.
The knight lays, like Sleeping Beauty, in a death-like slumber, requiring someone or something to wake him from his state of deep suspension within his inner world. In this, the card gently reminds us that, at some point, we will need to return to our lives and to face what is beyond the walls of our sanctuary; perhaps there will be a person who can help us to do this, and we need to keep our hearts open to this possibility. The Four of Swords indicates that we should take the time we need to rest and heal, but should be mindful that we do not let fear of the outside world, and the hurt it may inflict on us, keep us tucked away in our sanctuary for longer than we need to be.
When the Four of Swords is reversed, it indicates that we have been roused from our slumber, and are taking our first steps out in the world again. We may be doing this hesitantly, and with great caution, or it may have come about suddenly, perhaps as a result of another person awakening us and helping us come out into the light again. Either way, the reversed card indicates that having recovered from the anguish of the Three, we are now ready to move on with our lives.
The Four of Swords is emblematic of the suit’s solution to problems and challenges: the card represents a withdrawal to regroup, recover, and think through what has happened and our part, if any, in the situation. Incorporating daily meditation and grounding practices into our lives are great responses to this card, and can help with the process of healing.