The Gothic Tarot by Vargo – Four Of Swords


The scene here, again, has many similarities with the Rider-Waite, except that here, instead to be in a church, we are in a vault. Here is a skeleton with white wings, like a recumbent statue, his hands crossed on his chest like a dead person. There are four arches in the back, each of them containing a sword. Next to the skeleton stands a woman wearing a white dress. She seems to be concerned and loving about the skeleton, her right hand on his chest, her above him.

There is something written on the edge of the coffin, in latin I guess: "Libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum de poenis obscurum". I got almost nothing from a latin dictionary.

Libera: free, independent, unrestricted
Animas: air, soul, life, breath
Omnium: ???
Fidelium: ???
Defunctorum: ???
De: ???
Poenis: ???
Obscurum: darkness

The swords might be in the back, but they give the illusion that they are stabbing the skeleton. The woman seems to be protecting him and taking care of his wounds, waiting patiently that he recovers and be loving while he's resting.


One thing I really enjoy about this deck is the diversity of opinion that it elicits.

In the RWS, we find (and are told) “vigilence, solitude, repose” various authors tell us of resting before coming tests and toils…

In this deck, a female ghost caresses a skeleton. Is her face sad? Not in my book, I see love, with a hint of admiration.

I think we are looking at a moment of time – the skeleton has rested and is now moving onto ‘tests and toils’, and the ghost is envious, proud, supportive…

Wherever the soul of the skeleton has gone, the inscription below him states…

Libera Animas Omnium Fidelium Defunctorum De Poenis Obscurum


Deliver the Souls of all the faithful departed From the Pain of Darkness


Thanks for the translation, Umbrae.


She releases the true Men from death and the anguish of the void.

Your Latin must be much better than mine, Umbrae, I spent about 10 minutes translating that, and still didn't come up with anything as simple and accurate as your translation. I think I probably should have paid more attention at school! lol.


In looking at this deck so far I have decided to, at least for the time being, completely ignore the traditional meanings, as much as I can manage anyway. They sometimes creep into my perception of the cards.

This is one time where I am glad I did. I have a totally different view of this card now, and I am happy for it.

In my own eyes, the winged skeleton was the ghost. She looks down and slightly furrows her brow (look! it's slightly furrowed!) at what the thing that she once was has become.

And she does not seem to be in pain or in complete darkness. But has she been delivered? Sometimes it is better not to revisit what is better let to memory.


The four swords in the alcoves are pointing down. They are displayed again, in a manner depicting defiance, aggression. Like the particular scenario is not over yet. In this undead world displayed in the pack, that is certainly understandable or even expected.

The skeleton angel on the sepulture could be in a form of stasis or rest as easy as it could be the inanimate remains of some champion. For good or evil, I cannot not tell. Based on the saying that is etched into the side of the altar, I would say that the intent was for the interred to remain so.

The ghostly woman has come to this crypt with a purpose. She seems to be here to pay homage or to remember the past. It almost seems to me though, that she is here to bring back this champion. To recall this fallen hero from the beyond, as there is need once again for their services.