Here we see a partially budded rose that has been plucked and is fading.
Four typically is the number of balance, foundation, enduring, working with the flow of nature and of nature itself. While this may seem contrary, four also stands for change (the four seasons), but it is your ability to progress through those four seasons, and learn and harvest from each of them that gives you balance and the tools to create structure and foundations in your life. It’s important with all fours that you understand you are the master of your own destiny. In astrology four is linked with the fourth house and Cancer and stresses the importance of family, security, nurturance, feeling and a loving safe home/sanctuary.
The four of blooms is the inversion of this four energy. The rose has been picked and left to wither rather than being allowed to reach full bloom. It’s energy is stagnant and stuck, the flower is still coiled tight in on itself. You may be feeling detached from the world and missing out on offerings from both the material world and from spirit. This has left you unhappy and defensive. Make sure to ask why you are rejecting these offerings, plucking the rose before it came full bloom and not watering it so that it withered? Is it because these offerings are not suited to you, or because you are afraid of what will come after if you accept these offers? Fear of success can be a deeply held fear that masquerades as outward defensiveness. And that is okay. Success does demand a high level of responsibility that we don’t always have energy for, especially if we are fighting our own internal battles. But it’s important to look at what your goals are and what you want your life to be and what you are willing to sacrifice to get there.
Be careful of getting seduced by the beauty and safety that exists in withdrawal and stagnation. The rose may look beautiful in it’s dry state, but it’s not growing and never will.
When we get this card we must asked what led to the withdrawal? Why have we decided to pluck the rose, keeping it’s energy bound tight before allowing it to bloom? It may be that you are hurting and nursing wounds. You could be scared. You may be plagued by doubt or worry. It’s likely you are masking these feelings with a stoic exterior but this is cutting you off from the care and change you need. What do you need to heal? What do you need to break the routine you have found yourself in? What do you need to do to connect with you again? What will it take for you to re-engage with the world and grasp opportunity with both hands?
Let’s turn that rose into beautiful potpourri, incense, mojo bags or, return it to the earth to feed more roses in your garden. Either way it is time accept things as they are, to let go of what no longer serves you and think about how you can move forward. The person who is hurting you most at the moment, is you. You need to get out of your own way and look around you at the offers being handed to you – these offers may not all be material. The rose is a very spiritual flower and indicates that spirit is seeking connection with you at this time, but that connection depends on you.
In the original card, the four of cups has a man sitting cross armed under a tree looking discontent as he stares down at three cups whilst missing or ignoring the cup being held out to him from spirit. This card is sometimes called ‘grass is greener’. The rose has literally been plucked from the field only to show that coveting energy rather than enjoying it as it is, will only lead to unhappiness and decay.
In the tarot, the rose is the symbol of balance. This rose is sick and decaying. It is on its way to change but by force rather than by the natural flow of life and death. You have cut off you potential because you have failed to see a wider perspective. Change and flow will still occur but only once you have come to a place of acceptance, have looked inward to connect with yourself and spirit and learned the lessons that are required at this stage of your life’s journey. This process may take some serious time alone in which you meditate and explore your inner world and connection to spirit. Don’t fret over time, as you do this inner work, the opportunities will stay the same and wait for you to make your decision.
However, you are in a relationship or concerned about a relationship, there is time to salvage it but time is running out. It may be worth communicating that you need sometime to do some work on yourself so that you can be authentic with them, but even during this conversation you may be required you to come out of yourself and connect with the world and this person again. You have love in your life. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t get caught up in the grass being greener. What you want isn’t always what you need.
Upright: stagnation, dissatisfaction, boredom, irritation, willful blindness, distraction, self-absorption, self-destructive thought patterns, rigidity, fear, hurt, isolation.
Reversed: breaking self-destructive thought patterns, self-awareness, going with the flow, acceptance, open mindedness, movement out of the rut, getting out of your own way, healing, self forgiveness, energy flowing again, finding balance slowly.
This card also reminds me of ‘The Sick Rose’ by Blake. A poem based around existential dissatisfaction.