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How to Read the Fours Tarot Cards

Learn how to read the Fours tarot cards from expert Ellen Goldberg, M.A. in this Howcast video.


Hello, this is Ellen Goldberg and I welcome you to a "Tarot Moment" with the School of Oracles. In this segment we're going to take a brief overview of the "Fours" of each of the suits of the Minor Arcana. The Fours belong to the Sophitia on the Tree of Life called "Chesed", and Chesed means "Mercy". It's the first Sophitia to receive the energy after it leaves the top Supernal Triangle, or the Godhead, and so this is when the tree bursts into color. Chesed's Mercy, it's ruled by Jupiter so it's incredibly beneficent. Gives without regard to the merit or the deservingness of the recipient. It just gives gratuitously in the same way that the world, the Kabbalah say, was given and is constantly created gratuitously as a gift from the Divine.

The name of the number four is "Order". This is not Kabbalistic, these are things that are more Pythagorean. But, we know the number four. Four squares are very common idiom in English for law and order, being a really straight and solid person, and certainly a square cube is a very solid item. The name of the number four is "Order", and order is something that every four is going to show us. Something solid about the suit, or at least how to achieve that solidness.

The "Four of Wands" is called the lord of perfected work. Something has been accomplished here and you see that people are celebrating. They're rushing out, having a wonderful time and the whole background shows that it is infused with spirit. There is a ritual going on too. So sometimes this card is associated with a wedding, or marriage, but certainly it is completion. Perfected work. Venus in Aries, and Venus is the Empress and Aries is the Emperor, and they are a wedded pair. But it also lets us know that you cannot perfect your work, or complete your work without love, tact, and gentleness. When this card is on the higher polarity it is completion, rest after labor, celebration of a higher truth in form (which is what a ritual is), and tangible achievements. Turn this car around and you notice that the lovely bower becomes a hurdle. So it's filled with obstacles. It's a card of delays, obstacles, things that don't go very well, self-centeredness, and using egotistic self-centered mean to accomplish what you want.

"The Four of Cups", the lord of blended pleasure. Associated with the moon and Cancer. Emotions are the hardest things to keep orderly, and so this card is really rather more of advice than a picture of something that is actually ordered and stable already. You see a person sitting, gazing discontentedly at three cups on the ground. And yet, if he would only turn his eyes upwards, he would see that a hand (very much like the hand in the "Ace of Cups"), is offering the "Cup of Grace". There is so much yearning here. The moon is at home in Cancer, and it feels so much. Yearns for so much. Yearning, when it's turned towards earthly pursuits, earthly things, to have more money, a better body, the best relationship, whatever it is, is not necessarily going to bring you contentment. But yearning, when it's turned towards spirit, when it's turned towards your own ascension on the tree, ascension in your spiritual practice, whatever that practice may be, that then becomes the fuel that takes you upwards. Turn your eyes in a different direction. On the higher polarity this card is that there is a spiritual blessing close at hand. Look for it, don't miss it. On a lower polarity someone has missed the point, and as a result they feel disappointed, numb, bored.

"The Four of Swords", lord of rest after strife. Jupiter in Libra. Jupiter, good fortune, and Libra balance. What a lovely thing for this suit that deals with the mind. Here we see a person in repose. Many people think that it maybe it is a tomb, but it really is not. It's a person in deep, spiritual repose, and it's the repose of the entire mind. Sometimes this card is called not just rest from strife, but rest in and through strife. If you notice, in the upper corner there's a stained glass window, and if you look carefully at it, you'll see that it is Christ giving someone a blessing. These pictures that you see in stained glass windows in the cards always have meanings. They always tell us something about the card. This card is a blessing. In the higher polarity it represents peace, truce, peace even in the midst of strife, convalescence and recovery from sickness, and solitude that is good for a person. On the lower polarity it's enforced isolation. No recovery from illness at this time, and finding so much strife internally that the outer events of life weigh on you too heavily.

The "Four of Pentacles" is the lord of earthly power. It's the sun in Capricorn. Capricorn is the sign that rules the part in astrology of work in your place in the world. And this man has earthly power. Remember, the lord names are excellent meanings for the cards. This person holds the pentacle as if it were a ship's wheel. He has total control over his process. This is a powerful man. His feet are firmly planted on the pentacles. When you receive this card in a higher polarity it is work, power, really knowing how to manage the affairs on planet Earth. On the lower polarity it may be avarice of power, misusing power, too much materiality, just overdoing it and wanting to control all people and things.

On behalf of the School of Oracles, it's been a pleasure to be with
you. Bye for now.

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