I have written for Tarot blogs for quite a few years now and have an understanding of what content is out there and what isn’t. I have always seen quite a few three-card and five-card Tarot spread guides, but there seems to be little content online in regard to four-card Tarot spreads!
So, I wanted to create this four-card Tarot spread guide that is appropriate for both beginner and expert readers.
The four-card spread seems to be less popular than others, but why is this? Maybe it is just me, but there is something deeply spiritual about the number four. It reminds me of the four elements, the four cardinal directions… There is a grounding nature to the number four, reminding us of balance, harmony, and the natural world.
When designing these spreads, I wanted to keep this in mind. So, these four-card Tarot spreads are all about the self and our spirituality.
Four-Card Tarot Spreads Up Front
My favorite four-card Tarot spread is the Four Elements Tarot spread. It is a pretty general spread, so the cards are always pretty easy to understand! Plus, I love how it reminds us of the importance of the elements and mother nature.
The other three Tarot spreads I have included in this article provide guidance and understanding in regard to the self and your journey in life.
Mind, Body, Spirit, Subconsciousness Four-Card Spread
In this four-card Tarot spread, we look at four different elements of ourselves. This allows the Tarot to guide us in regard to these aspects, bringing forth any issues that we might need to address.
The four cards pulled refer to:
- Card one: Mind
- Card two: Body
- Card three: Spirit
- Card four: Subconsciousness
Let’s do a reading as an example, going through the four different positions and how we can understand them.
I received the Strength card for the first card, which represents the mind. This feels pretty obvious! It suggests that I need to find my personal power in order to be happy and healthy in the mind.
I believe I do have this strength, and the Tarot is reminding me of this. However, I do want to dive deeper into the symbolism of this card for a moment.
Take a look at the imagery on the card. Can you see how the woman is in control of a lion? Can you see how she is being tender and not asserting her power too much?
I believe this is a really important aspect of the Strength card: we must be tender and compassionate. This is Strength, not brutish actions. I must be compassionate to my mind, understanding that sometimes it will feel pain and upset. Being caring and kind is the inner power I need to harness.
For the second card, which represents the body, I received the Ten of Wands. This card is all about carrying burdens and being over-stretched. So, what does this mean in regard to my body?!
This card highlights the link between mental burdens and the physical body. When we are under a lot of stress, our body suffers. So, it is important to look after both our mental and physical health.
We can link this back to the Strength card. Perhaps I have been a little stressed about things recently, which impacts my physical health. So, I need to approach things with inner strength and compassion. How can I improve things?
I received the Eight of Swords for the third card, which represents the spirit. This reflects a feeling of being trapped and powerless, but what does that mean for the spirit?! I believe it reflects a time of spiritual neglect. Instead of practicing spirituality daily, I have been ignoring this part of me. I have not been feeding my spirit.
So, this has made me feel a bit trapped. I do not feel in control of my life. Again, we can turn back to the Strength card in the mind position. It is time to make the changes to embrace my spirituality!
The fourth card represents the subconsciousness, and I have received the Five of Swords. This card reflects conflict and disagreements, but how can we understand it in this position?!
There is conflict in my subconsciousness. Could it be linked to the Eight of Swords in the spirit position? Is my spiritual neglect affecting my subconsciousness, making me feel torn and conflicted?
We can see the links between all these cards, with the Strength card being the overwhelming influence. The issues that arise in the other three cards can be addressed when applying the energy from Strength.
The Four Elements Tarot Spread
The four elements, earth, water, fire, and wind, have been an important part of culture, religion, and spirituality for centuries. They were discussed by the philosophers Plato and Aristotle in Ancient Greece, and noted in early Buddhism, referred to as Catudhātu, which means the Four Elements.
I believe nature and the elements to be super important to my own spirituality, and we can use Tarot to help us connect with them and learn from them.
In this Tarot spread, we will pick four cards that refer to:
- Card one: Earth: Material aspects, physical abundance, security.
- Card two: Air: Communication, knowledge, creativity.
- Card three: Fire: Energy, passion, drive.
- Card four: Water: Relationships, feelings, emotions.
I am sure you can see the connection between the four elements, what they represent, and the four Tarot suits! It can be helpful to keep this in mind when doing your Tarot reading.
- Earth: Suit of Pentacles
- Air: Suit of Swords
- Fire: Suit of Wands
- Water: Suit of Cups
By making connections like this and understanding the bigger spiritual picture when it comes to Tarot, we can really get to grips with the cards and their meanings.
The four elements are also related to the four cardinal directions:
- Earth: North
- Air: East
- Fire: South
- Water: West
Now, let’s go through this spread and pick four cards.
I received the Four of Wands for the first card, which represents Earth. Let’s break this down a little. So, the element of Earth represents material aspects, physical abundance, security. The Four of Wands reflects reunion and celebrations, suggesting a time of harmony and happiness.
When considering this meaning and the element of Earth, we can take the card at face value. The element of Earth represents what we perceive, the things that are right in front of us. So, it suggests that there are times for celebrating ahead!
I received the Two of Swords for the second card, which represents Air. The Suit of Swords is linked to the element of air and reflects knowledge and intellect. The Two of Swords suggests that there is a difficult choice to be made, and I am in a stalemate right now.
I am refusing to really acknowledge the decision and burying my head in the sand. Again, we can take the card at face value in this position. I need to work out what it represents and use communication and knowledge to deal with it.
The third card pulled represents Fire, and I received the Chariot. The element of Fire reflects energy and passion, with the Chariot card representing determination and willpower. So, when we consider all of this, what is the Tarot trying to tell me? My intuition is saying that I need to be more active and determined in regard to my passions.
I am a content writer, but I also love to write poetry and stories. However, I have lapsed with the creative stuff recently, and I lack the willpower to actually sit down and write for myself. So, I believe this card to be the universe giving me a nudge!
For the fourth card, which represents Water, I received The Tower. So, we know that the element of Water represents relationships and emotions, but how can we understand that in regard to the Tower? Well, the Tower is a pretty interesting card, one that used to always crop up in my readings when I first began to read the Tarot.
It reflects upheaval and change, with beliefs being shattered. I believe it to be an extremely visceral and emotive card that brings forth a whole load of emotions.
When we consider it in regard to the element of Water, it suggests that there is going to be an issue in my relationships, with a shift in how I connect with certain people in my life. Will someone let me down? Is someone not being as truthful as I believe them to be?
Four-card Tarot Spread for Self-love
I am a big believer in the power of self-love and self-care. It has taken me years to get to where I am now, and a huge factor in my personal development was the celebration and acceptance of myself. So, I thought it would be nice to include a four-card self-love Tarot spread.
In this Tarot spread, the four cards pulled represent:
- Card one: Reasons to be proud
- Card two: What you bring to those around you
- Card three: Negative actions and thoughts
- Card four: Positive actions and changes
The first card pulled represents reasons to be proud. It will highlight all the good things about you and what you should celebrate!
The second card represents the positive things that you bring to those around you. The third card highlights any negative thoughts that need addressing. The fourth card is an action card, providing you with behavior and changes to implement in your life to address the negative thoughts, allowing you to progress with self-love and self-acceptance.
So, let’s pick some cards and go through this spread.
For the first card, I received the Ace of Wands. This card reflects inspiration, creativity, and passion. As a creative person, I totally see why this card has appeared in the ‘reasons to be proud’ position!
Sometimes I get down and out about not doing enough creative stuff, and this card is a gentle reminder to me that, no matter how much I do, I should still be proud of where I am and what I can do.
I received the Hermit card for the second card, which refers to what I bring to those around me. Now, you are probably thinking, ‘the Hermit card????! Why is the Tarot telling you to spend time alone when you have asked what you bring to other people?!’. But, for me, it is obvious why this card has appeared in this position.
Yes, the Hermit can represent a time of solitude, but a huge part of this card is about wisdom and guidance. The Hermit is a wise man from years of self-reflection and contemplation. Now I am not saying I am a wise old sage who is on earth to guide others! But, I pride myself on helping my friends and family when they are in need.
I will always be thoughtful and kind when people come to me for advice, and I try to help them through things with tact and understanding.
I have received the Six of Swords for the third card, which represents negative thoughts and actions that need to be addressed. This card reflects a need to let things go and move on.
I believe it to be pretty clear in this position, representing my need to let go of baggage that is tying me down. Holding grudges (I blame being a Capricorn) and ruminating on the past are negative aspects of my personality, and I am okay to admit that!
For the last card, which is the advice card, I received the Four of Wands. So, this card represents ways we can change things up and work on what is holding us back from self-love and self-acceptance.
For me, the Six of Swords represents what is holding me back. So, what can I do to address this? The Four of Wands represents celebrations, reunions, and community.
The Tarot is telling me that, in order to move on and leave things in the past, I need to focus on those around me who bring me joy. It reminds me of the importance of living in the present, enjoying life, and having fun!
Four-card Tarot Spread for Self-growth
This four-card Tarot spread is designed to give you guidance toward self-growth and personal development. It has two cards that help you understand yourself a little bit better, and two action cards that provide you with advice in order to move forward.
The four cards pulled in this spread are:
- Card one: Your past and how it affects your current situation
- Card two: Your current relationship with yourself
- Card three: What you can do in order to be your best possible self
- Card four: What you need to appreciate in yourself more
Let’s pick four cards and go through them in order to understand how we can implement this spread.
For the first card, I received the Eight of Cups. The Eight of Cups represents letting go and abandoning something, reflecting a time of transition and change.
So, what does that mean about how the past affects my current situation? Well, I believe it to highlight how much my life has changed over the last ten years. After turning my back on my childhood and teenage years, I have traveled a lot and lived in a few different countries.
I suffered a lot from mental health issues when I was a teenager, and I believe this card represents me letting go of this pain and moving forward.
However, because this card reflects how my past affects my current situation, I believe the Tarot is telling me that I still need to address some aspects of my teenage years. Maybe I haven’t fully moved on? Am I genuinely accepting my teenage years or pretending they didn’t happen?
I received the Eight of Pentacles for the second card, which represents my current relationship with myself. In this position, I can understand this to reflect the dedication I have to my work and creativity. The Eight of Pentacles represents a time of hard work and focus, and this makes sense for my current self!
For the third card, I received the Fool. This card shows me what I need to do in order to be my best possible self. So, what does the Fool tell me? The first card of the Major Arcana, the Fool, represents new beginnings and potential. It also has an element of risk: a leap of faith and jumping into the unknown.
Look at the card; can you see how the Fool is not looking where they are going but up in the sky? They are excited and ready for their new adventure, with any dangers unknown to them. So, I guess I need to harness this energy a little more! It is time for me to stop worrying and just go for it!
For the last card, which represents what I need to appreciate in myself more, I have received the King of Cups. He is a caring and understanding man with a great ability to balance his emotions with his rationality.
So, I take this as telling me that I have the qualities of the King of Cups, and I need to appreciate this more! By doing so, I am able to grow and be a better version of myself.
Four-Card Tarot Spread Guide: FAQs
Let’s look at some questions you might have about four-card Tarot spreads.
Question: Can You Do a Four-card Tarot Spread on Yourself?
Answer: Yes! I recommend you do Tarot spreads on yourself for guidance and practice.
Question: What Does the Number four Represent in Tarot?
Answer: The number four represents the Emperor card, reflecting power and stability.
Question: What are the Four Suits of Tarot Cards?
Answer: The four suits in Tarot are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. They are sometimes known under different names, but the general meanings are usually the same.
Gain Guidance with a Four-card Tarot Spread
I hope you have enjoyed this four-card Tarot spread guide! These four spreads are suitable for beginners and experts alike and designed for self-reflection and personal growth.
Tarot is a fantastic spiritual tool that allows you to gain guidance and progress in life. Good luck on your Tarot journey!
Photos by: Lou Siday