The Fours

4 is the number of material completion - hence phrases like 'four-square'. You will also notice that the number four has already cropped up quite frequently in relation to Tarot. There are four suits, each of which relates to one of the four elements of material existence.

There are many symbolic examples of the four principle - as the phrase above suggests, the square belongs to the number 4, and represents the single most stable structure we can make. Pyramids were built on a square base, with each of the sides being allocated to one of the elements. The elements themselves are traditionally assigned to one each of the four compass points (East/Air; South/Fire; West/Water; North/Earth) depending upon which direction the side faced. You can probably see that the compass points also carry through the theme of encompassing all material existence, for the world is basically physically composed of the four compass directions.

We have already met the four elemental creatures which are assigned to the four quarters - Air/Man; Fire/lion; Water/eagle; Earth/bull.

You may also notice links with the number 4 and the concept of spirit, intellect, emotion and material life, which are levels at which the human being may be assumed to operate.

The aspect known as a square in astrology is considered to be a difficult one to manage, but one which can reap enormous rewards for the person who gets things into balance. You will remember that this concept of controlling material life, by getting its forces into balance, was a major theme with cards like the Chariot, the Wheel of Fortune and Art/Temperance.

From all of this, you may be beginning to form a picture of what the effect of 4s can be. This is a number which relates to the establishment of security and safe foundations in whatever field it applies. It indicates diligent work and attention to detail, with a measurable level of reward already achieved by the time the number appears.

In some respects, it can be regarded as a limiting number, for whilst achievement and progress are possible, they must be striven for, and carefully nurtured.

Another aspect that is worth considering in relation to 4s is that they should form a foundation for whatever follows - they are stepping stones along the way, rather than final goals and ambitions totally fulfilled.

There is practicality, realism and determination in these cards, along with single-minded concentration and unswerving dedication. They generally bring harmonious influences, though occasionally their tendency towards limitation can prove frustrating and annoying.

As their link with the elements suggest, 4s need to be balanced and harmonious. When they are not, they can become rigid and discordant. The number can also sometimes indicate a tendency to get bogged down in material matters, at the expense of spirituality.

People strongly affected by the number 4 will be reliable, practical, diligent, patient, insistent on detail, accurate, hard-working, self-disciplined and sincere, they work well in the business world, and with finance, but show few artistic or creative urges.

4 corresponds with the color green, which is a calming and serene color, bringing relief from mental turmoil and grief.

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