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Thursday, November 8, 2012

4 of Swords - Astrological Associations

Astrological associations for the Minor Arcana cards typically involve a planet, a zodiac sign, and/or a house. The attributions established by the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD) are by far the most commonly used. However, there are other associations out there. As a professional astrologer, I find it interesting to compare and contrast these associations. (The use of astrological associations with Tarot is completely up to the reader. This is intended to be interesting and fun!)

Credits for the decks and books mentioned in this post can be found _HERE_.

Thoth Tarot
Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley

For Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn, the Four of Swords is linked with the placement of Jupiter (luck, expansion, optimism, generosity) in Libra (a Cardinal Air sign known for being peaceable, artistic, and socially adept).

Crowley titles the card "Truce" and notes "the card proclaims the idea of authority in the intellectual world. It is the establishment of dogma, and law concerning it. It represents a refuge from mental chaos, chosen in an arbitrary manner. It argues for convention." Crowley also writes: "Minds too indolent or too cowardly to think out their own problems hail joyfully this policy of appeasement."

Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "Faith/hope (Jupiter) for peace and justice (Libra)." 

Whispering Tarot
The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel

Liz Hazel's astrological associations for the Four of Swords align with those of Crowley and the Golden Dawn: Jupiter/Libra. Hazel's DMs for this card include: "Rest, retreat, reconsideration of a matter." Well-dignified, the Four of Swords may suggest "Recuperation after an illness or injury." Ill-dignified: "May be impatience, or a rash need to take action of some sort."

One World Tarot
One World Tarot by Crystal Love

Crystal Love associates the Four of Swords with the third subdivision of Gemini, along with its natural ruler, Mercury, and subruler, the Sun. She writes: "The creative powers of the Sun are added in abundance to the literary and talented Gemini."

Mandala Astrological Tarot
The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann

Mann associates the Four of Swords with the energy of Mercury (planet of the mind and communication) in Libra. Mann calls Swords Two, Three, and Four "The Winds of Libra," and links the Four of Swords with the period between October 13 and October 22. Yellow is the color associated with Mercury and green is associated with Libra on the King Scale of Color.

Mann's divinatory meanings for the Four of Swords: "Creative thinking within already existing patterns often avoids unpleasant but critical issues." Reversed: "A lack of tact and a tendency to overintellectualize."

_The Tarot and Astrology_ by David Thornton
(illustrated in this blog by the Universal Waite tarot deck)

_David Thornton_  associates the Four of Swords with the placement of the planet Mercury in the Seventh House (House of Partnership, Relationships, and Marriage). The Seventh House in astrology is associated with the sign Libra, an Air sign (in keeping with the association of the suit of Swords with Air).

David Thornton's description of the energy of the Four of Swords is: "Creative thinking within set limits. A well developed sense of justice. An ability to see both sides of an issue."

Universal Waite Tarot
_Tarot Dynamics System_ by Anna Burroughs Cook
(illustrated in this blog by the Universal Waite tarot deck)

In Anna Cook's TD system, Subject Card Four signifies Incentive and Security (Tarot Dynamics) or "Belonging and Security" (Tarot Dynamics Unleashed). The key word for the suit of Swords in this system is Challenging, which gives us Challenging/Incentive and Security (or Belonging and Security) for the Four of Swords.

In astrology the Fourth House, ruled by the Moon, is commonly known as the House of Home and Family (among other things). The Moon represents emotions. The sign associated with the Fourth House is Cancer. However, Cook uses the third decan of Libra for the Four of Swords.

A.E. Thierens, PhD. (Astrology & the Tarot)

Just when we think we are safe with an "Air" association for the Four of Swords, we read that Thierens associates the Four of Swords with "The element Earth on the Fourth house." He writes: "The element of Earth on the Fourth house, house of the home and the sign Cancer . . . Solitude, repose, retreat, retiring from the world. . . gathering, collecting, taking home one's savings or impressions, meditation, economy, avarice, precaution, testament, and the place occupied at the end of life."

(Note: If you are interested in learning more about this system put forth by Thierens, I recommend the book referenced above.)

In summary, for the Four of Swords we have:
  • Crowley and Hazel with a Jupiter/Libra association
  • Love with Gemini/Mercury/Sun
  • Mann with Mercury/Libra
  • Thornton with Mercury/7th House (ruled by Libra)
  • Cook with Libra
  • Thierens with Earth/4th House (ruled by Cancer)

With the exception of Thierens, the common factor in all of these is the element Air, whether represented by Gemini or Libra. Planet-wise we have our choice of Jupiter, Mercury, or the Sun. 

I do like the incorporation of Mercury and/or Gemini into the interpretation of the Four of Swords. Mercury, planet of the mind, rules Gemini. The image on this card in traditional RWS-based decks certainly suggests deep thought and contemplation. That image also seems appropriate for a Libra association, with Libra being the sign of harmony and peace. Jupiter, to me, implies a beneficent influence for the most part. However, the association of Jupiter with "excess" could caution us to avoid taking retreat or repose too far, perhaps because we fear confrontation or "getting on with" something we are reluctant to do.


  1. This is interesting, since I do not usually apply astrological associations to the minor cards which are not court cards. most of my reading and associating is done from an intuitive level, in both tarot and astrology, but i am always interested in learning new ways to interpret or view cards, planets and angles!!!

    1. Hi Violet! I find it fascinating to look at the associations people have formed between Tarot and Astrology. I don't always use these associations (especially for the Minors) in readings, but there have been times when I was startled by the relevance of a particular astrological association.


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