Four of Hearts – Love (Amore)
Polarity when Upright: Neutral to Positive
Upright Meanings: Irrational expansive force, Love, New Love, Romance, What we attract into our life, Promotion, Expanding one’s activity
Polarity when Reversed: Neutral to Negative
Reversed Meanings: “A different love”, Vice, Cheating, Aridity, Homosexuality
GENERAL UPRIGHT MEANING: In itself the card is described within the tradition not as the card of love, but of “una forza cieca”, a blind force. But this usually means love, which is an expansive blind force, so don’t get carried away by your fantasy. It is clear therefore that we are not talking about deep metaphysical concepts such as agape, but of mundane love.
Generally speaking, when this card shows up it is quite easy to understand its meaning. Depending on the context, it could either confirm that somebody loves us (or that we love somebody) or that we will find a new love. Near a Person Card, it usually tells us that he or she is in love. But this does not in itself tell us that such love will link us to the right person, or to our current partner: you have to be careful to see what place this card has within the economy of the spread.
Also, be careful when this card falls near to, or in harmony with the Eight of Hearts, Hope: this is one of the combinations highlighting a “summertime romance”, a fun but fleeting love story. But if after this combination we had the Ten of Hearts, Constancy, this could show a romance that started out as a fleeting affair but is going to be consolidated into a proper relationship.
If love is not an issue, then this card generally shows what we are attracting into our life, either people or events. This has nothing to do with the so called law of attraction, which is a byproduct of deranged XX century idealism: it merely points out that with our attitude or choices we are going to get certain results. So if I’m unemployed and find my significator followed by Love and then a sequence of work, it means that “job”, so to speak, “likes” me, so it will come to me.
Finally, although quite rarely, this card may refer to business and work-related issues, in which case it is extremely positive. It shows promotion (e.g. Merchant + Love + Great Consolation) or expanding one’s activity. I say quite rarely because the deck has many other cards with which it could depict promotion, so the Four of Hearts is generally employed for love-related issues, but do be alive to this possibility.
GENERAL REVERSED MEANING: My teacher used to call this card reversed that of “l’amor diverso”, a different love, or love expressed differently, or towards different people, or with a different intensity, and so on. Even by itself, therefore, it can point out somebody’s homosexuality, especially, although not necessarily, if it constitutes a problem* (e.g. if the person cannot accept it, or if a girl is asking about a guy whom she doesn’t know is gay, which is, in context, a problem).
But in general, this is the card of cheating, usually coming up near a significator to point out he is not the saint we thought he was. A traditional combination is Love Rx + Merriment Rx + Female Lover Rx, which means quite literally “going whoring”: if a wife is worried that her husband might have an affair and this combo is in the spread, we could reassure her “Oh no, don’t worry: he’s just a debauched pervert”.
One of the most traditional meanings of this card is vice, much like the card of Merriment reversed, but the „Four of Hearts“ kind of vice is more clearly related to love. For instance Love Rx + House describes somewhere where extreme fetishes and perversions take place.
It is also the card of aridity, and it negates love. It doesn’t matter if the querent is straight or gay: if he is and is in a loving relationship, Love will come up upright; if love is extinct or is suffering, it will come up reversed. If an affair is ruled out, this card shows lack of love, or a love that is dying out. But be careful: Love Rx + Belvedere Rx is, traditionally, the end of a loveless period. Only, ONLY if they come up in this order.
* I would urge caution when dealing with such topics. The cards just LOVE outing closeted people: they are called chiacchierine, gossip cards, for a reason. Just because you see something it doesn’t mean that you have to say it to the querent, especially if it is not the point in question: if he is not ready to come out, respect his decision. If you see that he is just dying to do it but can’t find a way, you can gently nudge the topic into the conversation, but it’s best to limit yourself to the space that is given to you by the querent. Pushing somebody out of his comfort zone can sometimes be healthy; dragging him out of it screaming is most definitely not.