Tarot Card meaning for the King of Swords

In the King of Swords card, we see a King sitting on his throne, facing us directly. He is the clear, direct leader who conquered and protected his kingdom with his wit. However the Kings behaviour could result in inflexibility and being too strict – if this were the case, how could we change the behaviour or deal with it better?

The King of Swords as a day card

Today, you or someone you know may be taking charge, showing clear and direct leadership and/or following a strict discipline. Think about who this is, and whether the behaviour is helpful.

Negative or reversed meaning for this card

Although the King is someone clearly in control when we interpret this card either negatively or in a reversed position we could find that the King’s behaviour is very authoritarian. What he says goes. He thereby misses a lot of useful input from others and can be seen as very bossy, possibly even arrogant person.

How this card could present itself in real life

I once worked in an office where things weren’t going too well. The boss turned into this King. He ruled logically to save his company from going under. It was a logical decision for the boss to do this. The atmosphere at work however, could be cut with a knife, when he walked past. There was allot of fear amongst the employees and most of the staff did lose their jobs with the company, purely for financial / logical reasons.

How this card is represented in other Tarot decks

Kings are represented differently in different tarot decks. The card represents the final figure in the court card for a suit and could be called (amongst others), King, Knight or wise one. In all decks this figure shows us a person who has been in this suit for the longest amount of time, someone that feels at home in the suit and has many skills to draw on.


In the Crowley Tarot this card is called Knight. It shows us a dynamic Knight on a horse going full steam ahead. He has a lot of similarities with the Knight of Swords in the Rider Waite. But, as this is the final card of the court sequence in the Crowley deck. We can assume, that this knight has some more discipline, experience and self-control in regards to using the Swords and riding the horse at full speed.

A very different image can be seen with the King of Swords in the Celtic Dragon Tarot where we see an old man who appears tired and defeated. He looks at the dragon in front of him as if to say not again. I don’t want to fight anymore.

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