Four of Vessels

Element: AETHER

Upright: Emotional Purge, New Chapter, Renewal
Reversed: Delaying Healing, Putting Others Before Yourself


The Four of Vessels shows us an angel that offers comfort to a dark skeletal man emerging from a swamp. Looking closely at the right side of the card, a drowning scene can be observed.

The miners from the previous card brought uncovered and unexpected aspects of ourselves. The treasure was buried together with old scars and traumas and we are now forced to face them as they rise to the surface. 

The drowning old king in the background represents these obscure elements, especially clung to our emotional side. He cries for help, offering great rewards for anyone who saves him, which personifies the difficulties in letting go.

In the foreground, a skeletal man rises from the black, swampy waters. As a symbol of renewal, this is one of the most intense experiences in the suit of Vessels. 

This figure is an inner portrait of ourselves, unrecognisable at first sight. Some people describe this image as the confrontation with one’s own shadow. His body structure reveals someone who was reduced to his essential form, the purest of all.

The angel appears here as a symbol of salvation and seems to encourage the man to accept her gift of awakening. Her attire has the colours of the Great Alchemical Opera. She wears a golden crown that resembles a shining star, spreading her light upon us. This can be seen as a metaphor for guidance, according to Christian iconography.

Her four wings imply a dynamic development in our current situation. The symbolism of the wings is many times related to concepts of freedom and protection, giving us a sense of direction.

She welcomes the swamp figure with a red mantle, also a symbol of inspiration, giving him the hope and energy to rise up and go ahead.

His metamorphosis was dramatic, yet necessary.

Upright Meaning and Interpretation

Emotional Purge, New Chapter, Renewal.

The Four of Vessels suggests an emotional transition.

By letting the King drown in the sea, you are experiencing a necessary emotional purge.
You need to embrace your scars as a sign of acceptance. This emotional rebalance will allow you to evolve. 
This painful process of awareness encourages you to move forward in the right direction, connecting you with your true self. 

As you emerge as a renewed being, you will be able to see things that were invisible to you before.
You may feel lost, but if you look closely around you (inside and outside), there are many clues that lead you towards the right path – like this angel that appears. Trust your intuition and inner voice as a guide.

Be optimistic, receive this gift of renewal as a chance to rise more confident and receptive.

Reversed Meaning and Interpretation

Delaying Healing, Putting Others Before Yourself.

In reverse, this card is an indicator that you are not healing your wounds. You are refusing to let the King drown, denying this necessary emotional renewal.

This process can be bitter and harsh, but you are only delaying your own spiritual progress if you choose to refuse it.

You are probably trying to help everyone around you, putting yourself in second place. Remember that this spiritual path must be a personal and solo journey.

Focus on yourself, in your own improvement and cure your old wounds, instead of covering them. Only then you can help others in a more effective way.