Knight of Swords

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The Knight of Swords gallops into Tarot readings in a blaze of sizzling, yet light and airy energy. He oozes vitality, excitement, and new ideas.

We are lucky to catch a glimpse of him as he catches his breath between one quest or conquest and the next; the Knight of Swords always throws himself headfirst into the pursuit of his ambition and calling, following them where they want to take him.

When adventure calls, the Knight of Swords accepts the invitation. If things are at a standstill or an impasse, he takes the initiative to get them moving again.

The four elements and their associations in Tarot

The Tarot’s Minor Arcana consists of four suits, each representing one of the four elements and all of its associations.

The Wands: Fire

The suit of Wands represents fire, the element dealing with passion, drive, ambition and desire. Like fire, the spark of passion is what animates us and keeps us vibrant.

The Cups: Water

The suit of Cups signifies water. Water deals with emotion and feeling, with psychic perception and intuition, and with the relationships that flow between people like water.

The Pentacles: Earth

The Pentacles suit represents the earth. Earth deals with the foundations and frameworks of our lives – our homes, our bodies, our financial situations and workplaces. Earth is practical, tangible and fertile.

The Swords: Air

The suit of Swords governs the elemental air. Air relates to communication, self-expression, ideas, thoughts and beliefs. While these aspects of life may be as invisible as the air we breathe, they are just as vital and exert just as much gravity.

The Tarot’s Major and Minor Arcana offer numerous examples of both the positive and negative aspects of the Swords, reminding us that the blade is double-edged.

In the Justice card we see the fair and impartial judge holding a sharp sword pointing straight upwards, a symbol of truth and balance. In the Ten of Swords we see an entirely different outcome; here, a figure is laying on the ground, ten sharp blades poking out of his back.

Words, thought patterns and belief can either help or hinder us, uplift us or cut us down. The sword is both a powerful weapon, a useful tool and a deadly object when used carelessly or with intent to cause harm.

The Knights of the Tarot

Just like each of the Minor Arcana’s four suits is associated with an element, so are each of the four court cards within each suit. The Kings embody air, the Queens water, the Pages earth and the Knights fire.

The Knights, regardless of which elemental suit they belong to, share certain frie-like qualities and personality traits; they are all ambitions and driven to explore, express and succeed.

The Knight of Wands

The Knight of Wands combines fire with fire. He is voraciously ambitious, adventurous and passionate. He works tirelessly to achieve his goals, and he is adapt at manifesting the experiences he craves – which are many. The Knight of Wands expects much from life, and his zest and energy are contagious.

The Knight of Cups

The Knight of Cups combines the energies of fire and water. Highly intuitive, passionate and a deep thinker, he picks up on the energies of others with great precision. He is romantic and idealistic. When he taps into his vast creative potential, he has the power to transform and inspire the world around him.

The Knight of Pentacles

The Knight of Pentacles combines fire and earth. Studious, meticulous and ambitious, he is ready to build his own kingdom from the ground up. Earth gives him stability and patience while fire infuses him with inspired passion and drive; a potent cocktail.

The Knight of Swords

The Knight of Swords embodies fire and air. His soaring intelligence, quick wit and way with words are his greatest gifts. His mind is always working, always hungry. He is inquisitive, curious and original, approaching the world and other people with an open mind and clear focus on his goals.

The Knight of Swords personality

While the Kings and Queens of the Tarot represents mature, accomplished people, the Knights and Pages usually indicate younger people, who have not yet conquered their chosen profession or life path.

The characteristics associated with the Knight of Swords archetype are most often found in a younger person, often male, although it is important to remember that the Tarot speaks in metaphors and that the Knight of Swords may appear in a reading to signify a person of any gender or age.

The Knight of Swords is a sign of a sharp and perceptive mind, of someone with high aims in life.

Because his energy combines both fire and air, the Knight of Swords never stops; his mind is always teeming with ideas, and he is always looking for new ways to manifest them.

Knight of Swords Tarot card symbolism and description

The Knight of Swords Tarot card differs from Tarot deck to Tarot deck, but most depictions include the following symbols and details, inspired by the original Rider-Waite Tarot.

The Knight

The Knight of Swords shows an armour clad warrior, riding in from the right side of the card. His forward-leaning pose and raised sword suggest that he is ready for battle, facing life head-on. His armour hints at his strength and resilience.

The Knight’s energy is bristling with vitality and excitement. He is leaning forward in the saddle, ready to face the future and anything it might hold. His expression is entirely fearless, focused and determined.

The Sword

In his right hand, the Knight is holding a sword drawn and ready for battle. The Knight is aiming it forward, a sign that he relies on his sharp mind to guide him and help him achieve his desires.

It is clear form the fighting posture in which he holds his swords that this warrior is a master swordsman. While he may not have won his kingdom or earned his throne just yet, his skill and potential are obvious. If he keeps moving forward, learning and conquering as he goes, there is little doubt that he will one day grow into wise and well-respected King.

The horse

The Knight is riding a white horse. The horse itself indicates strength, and its colour is symbolic of the purity and sincerity of the Knight’s ambition.

The landscape

The landscape behind the Knight is simple, almost barren. Where the Knight is now is clearly not where he intends stay – his ambition drives him to move forward, seeking greener pastures and more abundant opportunities. There is a sense of transience and impermanence. The fast-moving clouds overhead only add to this impression.

The wind

Strong winds are blowing through the landscape, rustling its few tall trees, the horse’s mane and the feather plume on the Knights helmet. The wind is blowing in the Knight’s face, not at his back, providing him with enough resistance and challenge for him to find going up against it a worthwhile test of his powers. In other words, the Knight likes a challenge, and he welcomes opportunities to prove himself.

Knight of Swords Tarot card meanings

The Knight of Swords encompasses a plethora of meanings and possible interpretations. Which ones come to the forefront in a Tarot reading depends on the subject of the reading, the surrounding cards and the individual interpretation of the Tarot reader. Still, some of the Knight of Swords Tarot card meanings are almost as core and universal as the card’s symbols. Here they are.

Ambitious, driven

The Knight of Swords is the sign of someone driven and ambitions; someone hungry to succeed, to explore and to expand their horizons. Like the armor clad Knight riding forward on his noble steed, a sense of thrill and adventure compels you to keep learning and growing. Not content to stay put where you happen to have landed in life, you are determined to see how high you can soar.

Clear focus

When he homes in on a goal, the upright Knight of Swords becomes laser-focused. He is a master at shutting out distractions while channeling all of his time, effort and considerable intellectual energy into making a big change happen, or while doggedly chasing a long-standing dream.

Action bias

The Knight os Swords is an action oriented guy who never sits on his hands. Whether it is his job or a personal project that occupies him, he always likes to be in flux and in motion.

For the Knight of Swords, the time lapse between idea and action is minimal, his mind often flying out miles ahead of him, planning the fifty-second step while he is taking the first.

Quick-witted, intelligent, curious

The Knight of Swords is gifted with an impressive intellect, as well as a rich imagination. He is exceptionally forward thinking, always looking for the next valuable life experience that will propel him closer to his desired future.

The Knight of Swords has a way with words, and is adept at both absorbing and presenting information.

Impermanence

Because the Knight of Swords is always in a state of flux, there is a sense of impermanence and transience to his life. He may travel and change his surroundings often, perhaps working as a freelance journalist or be making his income as a digital nomad. He likes his freedom, and he loves exploring.

Usually, it takes a Knight of Swords-like personality a long time to settle down – that’s if he ever chooses to do so. If and when the Knight of Swords decides to put his roots down, he retains his adventurous spirit and craves a sense of novelty in life.

Reversed Knight of Swords Tarot card meanings

When the Knight of Swords appears reversed in Tarot readings, he might be a harbinger of chaos and instability, as his positive qualities become stuck or inverted. Here are some of the most common reversed Knight of Swords Tarot card meanings.

Restless

Where the upright Knight of Swords is energetic and vibrant, the reversed Knight of Swords is restless, in the grip of a bad case of FOMO (Fear of missing out). As a result, he may drift from one project, job or relationship to the next without any sense of direction or follow-through.

Impulsive

The Knight of Swords reversed can be impulsive, impatient, even foolhardy. Where the upright Knight of Swords is quick to jump into action, the reversed Knight of Swords does so without having though the proper forethought.

Unfocused, lacking direction

The reversed Knight of Swords Tarot card is a sign of lack of focus and direction.

As a result of showing up on the battlefield unprepared and with no clear strategy in min d, the reversed Knight of Swords may endure quite a lot of defeat.

Burn-0ut

The reversed Knight of Swords card can be a sign of burnout.

The upright Knight experiences eustress (positive stress which furthers his performance), but when reversed, the pressure becomes too much, turning into destress.

Stagnation

Finally, the Knight of Swords reversed might signify stagnation, often as a result of burnout. When the reversed Knight Tarot card appears in a reading, it might constitute a warning the burnout is near, and that burnout leads to a stagnation that is hard to snap out of. It is much better to slow down a little now, before you crash.

What the Knight of Swords means in a Tarot reading about self development and self-expression

Upright Knight of Swords

The upright Knight of Swords Tarot card is a good omen. You have entered a thrilling chapter of life, filled with possibilities and potential. Like the Knight leaning forwards in his saddle, impatient for the future to arrive, lean in.

Reversed Knight of Swords

You are holding yourself back, pulling at the horse’s reins instead of cracking them. You are essentially leaning out of life instead of leaning in, playing deference instead of offence. Past failures might have made you more cautious than you really need to be.

What the Knight of Swords means in a Tarot reading about love and romance

Knight of Swords upright

The Knight of Swords card is usually good news in Tarot readings about love life. A romantic proposal or an erotic adventure awaits you, whether with a new or an existing partner.

If you are currently interested in someone new, being action oriented and taking the initiative is going to bear fruit.

Knight of Swords reversed

The reversed Knight of Swords card could be a sign of an unstable and volatile relationship or person. Quarrels and conflict are implied.

There is a sense of being unable to penetrate with your words, and you and your partner may already have cut each other badly on the sharp jabs and insults that have already been flung around.

All this doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship or situation is doomed, but the prognosis isn’t good. Restoring healthy communication is the first step towards getting the connection back on the right track.

What the Knight of Swords means in a Tarot reading about money and career

Knight of Swords upright

When it comes to money and career, seeing the Knight of Swords is promising news.

It appears that you are in a good place right now where your skills are growing and people are taking notice. And you are more than ready to add to your experience, to grow, learn and achieve more.

Because you are actively putting your work out there and looking for windows of opportunity and possible avenues for development wherever you can find them, you are building up positive energy around yourself. You are essentially inviting opportunities to flock to your life. Don’t be surprised when your magic starts paying off in the form of exciting new job offers or opportunities to collaborate with people you admire in your field.

Knight of Swords reversed

Be careful – you may be swerving dangerously close to a burnout, or rash actions may be leading you towards a negative outcome.

Slowing down for a moment won’t kill you, or your career. You may be eager to rush ahead and press on, but rushing won’t get you there any faster.

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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