Fey-- 4 of Swords

Carol Bellis

Fey: 4 of swords

Hi everyone,
I received the Fey deck for Christmas and have been pulling a card each morning. The only card so far which baffles me is the 4 of swords. It appears that she has been wounded (emotionally or psychologically). She looks so angry in this picture...almost like a wild animal that has been captured and cornered...getting ready to defend itself! The energy in this card seems aggressive...not meditative.

I would love to hear other's opinions or experiences with this card.




Hi Carol,

not all problems can be brought to a solution just by meditation. Sometimes you have to fight for what you think (air,swords!) is right. I dont see her as 'captured and cornered'. I get the impression, that she has discovered someting that doesn't feel *right* and so she decided to *act*.
There is of course some kind of aggression, perhaps the better word is determination, to fight for the right. Fighting *for* something - not fighting against someone - which makes a lot of difference to me. She strongly holds the sword in her *left* hand. That's a sign for emotional concern about the situation. Her motives come from her feelings. It's a matter of heart - not just brain - that she will start fighting.

So she is preparing. Putting on some camouflage. Sorting her hair, so that it wont hinder her while acting - a symbol for keeping clear view of the situation. Also take a look at her wide open eyes. See will see even details of the situation.
So she ist well prepared for her task.

The motive of the camouflaged fey ist repeated on the 7 swords. I think this card was discussed here before - especially the transparency of the fey which fits in well with the camouflage theory.

I like both these cards!

Blessings, Widar

Carol Bellis

Fey 4 of swords

Hi Widar,
Thanks for your insight. Yes, I can see her determination and state of readiness. It's not that I dislike the card...It just seemed to be a divergence from the traditional meaning of recuperation and quiet. I noticed the two of swords has the same determination with a dose of anger. I think expressed anger is healthy in some two of swords situations...cut through the denial and ambivalence and speak one's truth...make a decision and follow through!




When I think about the RWS 4 of Swords, I cannot shake the feeling that we are in a tomb. Awake... barely; Alive, certainly, but nevertheless in a tomb.
It is indeed recuperation and quiet, but why in a tomb? Why getting so close to actual death.

I always imagined the scene, as the fasting and prying the knight had to do, before being ordered. They stayed inside a church for all the night, awake, on their knees, to purify themselves.
And that led me to "commitment" rather than "sleeping".

Getting to the Fey... maybe it's just my romantic self, but... I see her as dressing for death. The pain I feel from her is her desire to live, and yet her suppressing it, in order to do what must be done.
So I don't think it's anger... but anguish, and fear.
Without those you couldn't call that "courage", could you?
She is like having just heard a noise... and she sprung up on defence. As a startled animal...

And yes, there is so much silence, here. You can imagine her on a more RWS-like picture just a few minutes earlier. And then she awakened, her decision taken, her mind done.

flow of consciousness 2 cents thinking...



Wonderful insights into this card.
Thank you wider and RiccardoLS.

I once read a book that said the 4 of Swords is about recuperation and making yourself ready for the next battle.

When I got the Fey deck and saw the 4 of Swords that meaning came flooding back to my mind. It is the perfect representation of that thought.

I'm familar with camoflage paint as my husband uses it before he goes deer hunting.
He does all sorts of other things to prepare himself for the hunt.

So this card hit home for me.

To me, her seeming anger is the righteous indignation someone needs to feel in order to find the strength to go out and right a wrong.


My view of this card is very similar to Riccardo's; I can see her preparing to die.

Whether she believes in the cause or not, it is her duty to fight; did every knight preparing for battle believe in his cause with all his heart? Also, the fact that a female fey is portrayed gives it added poignancy to me; I'm very interested in the Middle Ages and the "Knights of Old", and women tended not to be involved in the fighting unless things were very desperate.

The deathly calm before the storm.


its like the indians used to paint their skin before going to battle....


Here's a Fey who is getting ready to defend what she believes in.
I feel that she uses the paint as a way to focus her mind on the task ahead. The paint may also have another unintentional use.
The enemy might believe the Fey to be injured & weak, therefore misjudge the Fey's abilities.
The Fey goes to battle with out emotions to hinder her-
do what must be done, whether it's liked or not.
Her face is a blank, if anything it is an expression that says "on a mission"


Also take a look where she is, and what the scene is beyond. The sky is grey, and the sea is rather choppy, indicating a time which may have been turbulent, unclear and clouded, so to speak, like that might indicate her mind. But where she is, she is somewhat protected, to a certain degree, because she is in a walled area, but the walled area is not complete. The walls seem to be in a state of disrepair, either they have been knocked down by manual means, or has been worn down by the elements. Perhaps indicating knocking down the walls that have kept her imprisoned in her mind, maybe! Which goes back to the meaning of the Rider-Waite, which was just not about recuperation and meditation, but to be in a state of introspection and retrospection which brings about a greater self-understanding.


To me she is putting on her "war paint". Getting herself revved up for whatever battle she is going to enter. The decision is made.
On her shoulder she has a large gold colored protective shield. As if to say "my shoulders are wide. An old expression to mean she can carry a lot if she has to.

The question I have to wonder about, is that blood she is using to put on her war paint ? It looks to me like her wings have already been injured.
You can see the sheer determination and anger on her face. She also has blood already on her leg like she has been engaged in a skirmish already and now is out to even the score.

Good points about the wall and rough sea Rcb.

Since my retaliation would be words, rather than a sword, I can see that I have felt that way many times. If I were in a bad fight and thought I was in the right I would never back off and she is not going to either.

There is nothing conciliatory in this card. I would not want to be the person she battles in the 5 of Swords card which follows. That shows victory, the fight is over.