Four of Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles
The Kabbalistic Tree Of Life
On the Kabbalistic Tree of Life the Four Fours of The Minor Arcana reside in the – Fourth Sephira, Chesed (Mercy/Kindness/Love). Energy moves away from its abstract state, becoming productive and enlivening. Chesed is the first of the lower seven Spehiroth. Its energy is regulating and stabilising, giving form and order. Chesed represents the organised action that takes all universal creation a step closer to manifestation. The previous three Sephiroth; Kether, Chokmah and Binah are connected to the Intellect; Conscious and Subconscious. Chesed contains the outpouring of energy from the supernal triad, assimilating its combined knowledge, providing the governing stability for God’s emanation as it comes into being.
Corresponding Major Arcana
Corresponding Major Arcana – The Emperor (IV). The Emperor of The Major Arcana is the Masculine Counterpart to The Empress. He is the Archetypal Father of the Tarot. He provides the masculine balance to The Empress’ femininity. He brings with him order, control, stability, rules, discipline, strength, security and protection. Considered oppressive and restrictive at times, he runs a tight ship and applies reason and logic to everything in life.
Death (XIII). The Death card of the Major Arcana may seem a strange correspondence but what links it to Four is its association with transition. Death moves us from one level to another and marks a rite of passage. It is a card of progress, ascension and destination. On the horizon two pillars mark the gateway from one life to another. In The Four of Wands, we find the structure of pillars in the garlanded entrance. It too suggests transition on many levels. This is the order of the universe. The Emperor and Death ensure its orderly continuity.
Four In Tarot
Fours in the Minor Arcana generally refer to stability, security, consolidation and order. Four is a balancing number. Unlike Two that struggled with its polarity, Four is rock solid, has found its feet and has them firmly planted. There is a confidence about Four. Four is a hard-worker, applying great effort and dedication in achieving its goals, then protecting them. Being quite cautious and guarded, it is not as ambitious as Three, it’s aspirations become more realistic and practical. Four can be relied upon to stand firm and resist stress and pressure from external forces. It is committed to its path. Four brings a settling of energy after initiation and action. It brings the energy released in the Ace to its first major milestone, allowing it take form and structure.
Four does not represent a time for taking great action, but rather a time for building upon what you already have, strengthening your resources and laying down solid foundations for the future. Four is all about feeling stable and secure, both within and without. Energy has reached a stage in its journey where it can take a break from striving and aspiring. It has achieved initial results in Three but now must safeguard them before seeking further glory. Four must check its progress so far and have something to show for it. Four grounds energy, allowing it to make contact with earth where it takes form and substance. Four brings a growing maturity and a developing sense of responsibility.
Four can represent the family unit. The masculine/feminine parents plus masculine/feminine offspring. There is now something tangible to work for.
Four is a practical and rational number. By adding another digit, it has forced the triangle out of its ever-climbing ascent, not forever, but for the moment. It provides the last cornerstone that is required for containing the energy released in the Ace, Two and Three. Energy has been ripping forward in the Three, without check or analysis. Four seeks to apply the brakes, to harnesses energy by reining in or corralling it. With a leash or tether, it seeks to bring energy under control where it can be observed and modified if necessary. Four applies a steadying force where energy becomes less dissipated as it solidifies and takes form. Energy stills for a while, allowing us to observe the beauty of its formation.
In numerology, Four is associated Earth. With the energy of Four we can feel safe and secure. Fours brings protection and defense into our life. We build structures with four walls that provide shelter and security. Four is enduring and built to last. Four has a grounding effect which is extremely beneficial when life has been hectic or stressful. Four helps us touch base.
The down side of Four is its restricting and limiting tendencies. Four walls can provide stability and security, but four walls can also create a prison-like environment where energy is not encouraged to move beyond. Four in its negative aspect can be so grounding and safe, it leads to inaction, passivity and stagnation. Four prides itself on its lack of superficiality, but it can lack spontaneity and fun. Four can be downright boring after a while if it doesn’t lighten up. After the soaring energy of the Three, a negative Four may seek to clip its wings to bring it under control. Negative Four can get hung up on rules, regulations, endless planning, boundaries and parameters. Four walls are built to be strong to withstand much force, but in its negative state, such four walls may be rigid, unyielding and hard to scale.
Reversed Four can also weaken and lose its stability. Its walls lie in rubble on the ground, offering neither protection nor security. Four splits and becomes two two’s unsure of which one to work with, or which way to go. Its energy becomes chaotic and unreliable.
After the initial spark of inspiration in the Ace, decisions arrived at in the Two and action taken in the Three they must now begin to understand the meaning of their journey and be able to see patterns forming in their behaviour and actions. They must check in to see how far they have progressed, and if they are happy with what they have achieved to date. Order and structure must now be applied to any areas that appear chaotic or out of control. They need to stabilise and re-group before any further action is taken.
The Four Suits set about this in their own way. The Wands need to stop running around and settle into their new home or work environment, the Cups need to find emotional stability after all the celebrations and socialising, the Swords, stressed and upset, take time out to let their mind settle and calm and the Pentacles with their first taste of success in the Three, turn as always to solidify their financial position by saving and investing.
They are not even half-way through their journey in the Minor Arcana at this stage and the road ahead will have many obstacles and upsets to throw at them. Times will get tough and some may feel broken by their experiences or want to give up. Therefore, time spent now in preparation for the journey ahead while recharging the batteries and stabilising should help them through any difficulties.
***If a large number of Fours fall close to each other in a reading, this may indicate life has become particularly stagnant, or choosing the safe and secure over risk and progress. Personal growth and development will have ceased. Listlessness and boredom may set in. Several Fours may find you taking a break for too long. You may become too settled. Moving forward could suggest a lot of work that may be off putting. However, lots of Four can suggest being very content with your lot with no need to seek more.
A total absence of Fours in a reading can suggest a lack of balance and stability. Life may be chaotic or transient. It suggests loss of control, order and discipline. The ongoing absence of Fours in your readings could imply incomplete work or procrastination. You may not feel fulfilled or whole. You may be continually striving, but with zero results.
The presence of any Reversed Four will draw attention to the area of life represented by the governing Element and needs to be examined to determine whether it’s exerting a positive or negative effect. One Reversed Four may have little impact, but Two will likely imply underlying destabilising issues, or the need to get out of a rut. Three or more Reversed Fours in a reading would suggest a period of instability and insecurity. This may be welcome or not depending on circumstances involved. There may be a desire to escape from a situation that has become too stable and secure. You might want to reshuffle your life, experience further challenge, try out new things and push the boundaries. You could feel blocked, hemmed in by circumstances. You could feel claustrophobic, the four walls closing in on you. Reversed Fours tend to suggest upheaval in the area governing Elements present. If they are well spaced out, the situation is probably manageable, but if clustered together, instability may be quite upsetting, and sudden. You could lose your internal compass. The lack of stability may be caused by just one incident, but is having far-reaching consequences in all areas of life.
Now Click onto The Four (IV) of Wands, The Four (IV) of Cups, The Four (IV) of Swords and The Four (IV) of Pentacles in the Sub Menu where you will find their Descriptions, Meanings both Upright and Reversed along with all their relevant Keywords.