The Four of Swords is the first image I encountered from the Tarot deck, and it sold me on the deck immediately. A woman reclines, sublimely relaxed, in a bubble bath. One shoe still on as though she didn’t want to take the time to fully disrobe to get into that relaxed state. Likewise, one sword lays on the ground implying she didn’t want to take the time to properly stack them all—she needed to submerge herself NOW. Her red hair flows out from her head like water against violet clouds as her mind relaxes. Candles enhance the mood.
Compare this image to the corresponding card in the Rider-Waite-Coleman deck. The RWS card shows the tomb of a soldier who is laid in rest. The predominant tone is grey and dark, where in the Bonefire deck the colours are warm and bright. The theme is rest, recuperation, contemplation, and meditation in both cards, but the Bonefire version makes it look that much more inviting.
This card can come up when you need some serious self care. There may have been a period of struggle that has worn you down. It could be as obvious as a physical battle, but it could also be any conflict that has worn you out or frazzled your brain, like a lawsuit for example, a bad break-up, or a work-related conflict that didn’t go well. The preceding card in the suit is the Three of Swords, harbinger of pain and misery, so this is the calm after that.
The Four of Swords doesn’t imply that the struggle is over. This is more like the calm of the storm. There is probably more conflict to come. Therefore, this is the time to get some sleep, eat well, and recover from whatever has been affecting you because you need all that. It’s also a time to reflect on what has happened, think about what you are going to do about it, and plan your strategy for success. Think about all this, but don’t stress about it. For now, it’s time to rest.