King of Swords

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The King of Swords has long since earned his throne, and his vast intelligence and cunning have cemented his powerful position.

When the King of Swords appears in a Tarot reading, he signifies the mature, intelligent and well-balanced approach you are taking to the situation at hand. Your sense of balance is rock-solid and your focus on the goal ahead is not easily eroded.

What do the Swords mean in Tarot?

The Tarot’s suit of Swords is linked to the element of air and deals with the realm of the mind and everything it contains; thought patterns, beliefs, attitudes and self-talk, as well as both verbal and written communication.

When the sword is wielded with skill and care, it is both a powerful defensive weapon as well as a useful tool. When, on the other hand, the sword is handled recklessly or with ill intent, it becomes dangerous and detrimental.

Swords appear again and again throughout the Tarot, in the Major Arcana as well as in the Sword s card of the Minor Arcana. The Tarot offers a plethora of examples of both poor and superior sword-handling.

In the Justice Major Arcana Tarot card we have an example of excellent swordsmanship. Here, the wise and well-balanced judge is holding a sword pointed straight upwards and perfectly balanced, signifying unbiased justice and integrity.

In the Knight of Swords card we encounter an altogether different character, the young knight lounging forward on his steed, his sword thrust forwards, indicating that he is ready to conquer the world.

Yet another example is the 2 of Swords. Its central character is blindfolded and balancing a sword in each hand. The blades are pointing in opposite directions, indicating a difficult dilemma with no clear, logical solution.

King of Swords Tarot card description

Different Tarot decks depicts the King of Swords slightly differently, however, most renditions are based on the classic Rider-Waite Tarot and include its central symbols and details. Let’s take a closer look.

The King

The key feature of the King of Swords Tarot card is the King himself.

Depicted as a mature, confident, somewhat stern-looking man, oozing power and authority. He is dressed in a light blue gown, its colour a sign of his cool, intellectual disposition and his spiritual ambition. His purple cape signifies his powerful intuition and sense of compassion. The King’s sleeves, headdress and shoes are bright orange, hinting at the great vitality and passion underpinning the calm exterior.

The sword

In his right hand – the hand symbolising the conscious, rational side of the brain – the King holds a sword. Its tip is pointing upwards and to the left, the direction of the subconscious and irrational but also creative and intuitive side of the brain.

The razor-sharp sword is a representation of the King’s impressive intellect. The fact that it is pointing to the left suggests that he relies primarily on his intellect and logic, while also allowing his intuition and promptings from his higher self to guide him. He hasn’t stepped into the trap that so many intellectually gifted people fall for; believing that the logical mind is always right and disregarding intuition.

The throne

The King’s throne is decorated with carvings of butterflies, crescent moon and an angel, posed as if to whisper its guidance into his ear.

The Butterflies symbolise transformation and the present moon is a sign of growing powers.

The landscape

The landscape behind the King is calm and harmonious. The dark and stormy clouds we see in most of the Minor Arcana Sword Tarot cards have settled down, drifting calm and peaceful on the horizon.

The peaceful landscape is a clear sign of the calm authority with which he rules his kingdom. He has the ability to infuse the world around him with balance, harmony and stability.

King of Swords Tarot card meanings

The upright King of Swords has a range of possible Tarot meanings and interpretations. Which aspects of the card come to the forefront in Tarot readings is always going to depend on the individual Tarot reader’s interpretation and on the context provided by any surrounding cards in the reading.

Here are some of the most prevalent King of Swords Tarot card meanings.

Intellectual power

The upright King of Swords Tarot card represents a person with an impressive intellect. He is motivated by the acquisition of knowledge and is constantly looking to stimulate and expand his mental capabilities.

Not only is the King of Swords Tarot card an indication of someone with a sky-high IQ, this is also someone who is remarkably mentally well-balanced, well-considered and self-possessed.

Authority, power

Through a combination of intellect, onfidence and experience, the King of Swords is oozing authority and personal power. He is an impressive, if not intimidating character.

The King of Swords is a natural-born leader, and often occupies a position of power. He carries it well, and with a sense of self-assured grace. The upright card is the sign of someone who can be trusted with vast amounts of responsibility, authority and power. His character is rock-solid, fair and incorruptible.

Clarity and focus

The King of Swords knows who he is and what he wants in life. He is rational, in control, fully aware of his own powers as well as of his limitations (which are few).

The King of Swords suggests a person with an uncanny ability to home in on his goals with crystal clarity and then achieve them. He sets his personal and professional goals high and his strong sense of logic allows him to approach them in a way that is both practical and realistic.

The King of Swords is a born strategist and whether it comes to his career or his upcoming summer holidays, he usually has the end goal in mind before he has taken his first step.

Wisdom

Another important interpretation of the upright King of Swords is wisdom.

The King of Swords is ambitions, in earthy matters as well las in the intellectual and spiritual arenas. His hungry mind drives him in his pursuit of ever deepening knowledge, wisdom and experience.

Despite his stern exterior, the King of Swords is surprisingly open-minded and curious about a plethora of subjects. He may have a chosen area of expertise or specialised knowledge, but his mind is always roaming further afield, absorbing what it finds.

Reversed King of Swords Tarot card meanings

Like the upright King of Swords, the King of Swords reversed has a range of meaning which shifts and ripples depending on subject and context of the Tarot reading in which he appears. One thing is certain – when the King of Swords reversed appears in a Tarot reading, his calm energy is upended and his sound judgement and firm grip on logic both begin to slip.

Here is your brief guide to some of the most common reversed King of Swords Tarot card meanings.

Misuse of power

When the King of Swords reversed shows up in Tarot readings, it may be an indication of a person who is misusing their power or influence.

Because the King of Swords personality naturally gravitates towards positions of power and rises within the ranks of institutions and businesses with ease, it takes an honest and solid character to handle the level of responsibility he eventually shoulders. Not everyone is up to scratch, and the reversed card hints at just that.

Manipulation

The King of Swords reversed may be an indication of manipulation or even gaslighting. Here, instead of using his high intelligence for good, he uses it to play mental cat-and-mouse games with others, as a way to achieve control and leverage.

What the King of Swords means in a relationship or romance Tarot reading

Upright

In the realm of love, romance and relationships, the King represents a person, most often a man, of a mature age and impressive mental powers.

Whether the King represents you or a partner, a sense of stability, maturity and certainty is indicated. This is someone who knows what they want and is not playing games – they value both themselves too highly for that. Expect this person to be open and to-the-point in their communication with you.

Reversed

The reversed King suggests that you may have gotten yourself involved with a toxic, manipulative or controlling partner- you yourself may even be the toxic, controlling partner.

Take a look at your relationship or budding romance, and answer this; what is wrong with this picture?

Life is too short for love that isn’t fair and worthy of both parties involved.

What the King of Swords means in a money or career Tarot reading

Upright

In terms of career, the prognosis is entirely positive. At this point in your career you are on track, headed towards your desired future.

Opportunities and helpful synchronicities are aligning to give you a leg up in your chosen direction. You may have formed a connection with someone who is going to be an important mentor, helping you to unfold your wings and grow further.

Trust in the positive energies surrounding you and lean further into the magic of the moment. Use it as a stepping stool that gets you closer to where you want to be in life.

Reversed

You may not be in the best place right now. It could be that you have maxed out the potential for growth and learning in your current position and are feeling bored and uninspired. Alternatively, you may have become complacent and are not proactively expanding your horizons.

Lucius Nothing

Lucius has been slinging tarot cards professionally since 2014. He’s taken the tarot to places most wouldn’t think of: His best-known patrons include Torture Garden, The Dark Circus Party, Handel & Hendrix, A Curious Invitation and The Candlelight Club, where he has been resident tarot reader for the past half-decade. His writing on divination, magic and creativity has been published in Sabbat Magazine and on Medium.

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