King of Swords, Minor Arcana, Swords XIV
The King of Swords represents someone with a lot of authority and power over himself and other people. He believes in structures and rule of law. He believes his stern approach to things is the way to be, as all life is structured: by day and night, weeks, months, seasons, eclipses, and years. Even animals have duties which they carry out to a tee, this King points out.
He is someone who likes to get up at the same time every day and have a fixed routine. He sticks to his schedule and he doesn’t understand how people can be so irresponsible. We are here to be productive, he upholds.
To him, it sounds rational. It is all very smart. He feels that he is a worthy, industrious member of society and that everyone should be like him. He makes an amazing project manager, a visionary CEO, and even a great politician – he gets things done. He walks the walk.
But one thing in this card stands out to those eyes familiar with the Tarot symbolism. His sword is not upright. In Tarot, swords represent thoughts, mental activity, intellectual pursuits, and meditative mindsets as well. An upright sword symbolizes being vibrant, truly ready for whatever life may bring, and being in the present. It shows a clear mind without much mind chatter, doubts or worries.
A slanted sword, on the other hand, represents fear. This King has created all those schedules, to-do lists and routines because he uses them to protect himself from the power of creativity, joy, unexpected feelings, the euphoric moments that can sweep him off. He is afraid of the strong feminine energy that is known to be volatile and unpredictable, like a vast ocean or a volcano. Like Mother Nature. It is this energy that creates and destroys worlds – and the King of Swords is secretly terrified. He wants his personal kingdom untouched.
If you have this card in your reading, it could represent you, perhaps a period of time you’re going through, or a person in your life who’s very important to you and who has influence over how you live.
If your reading is about your career and finances, the King of Swords might mean you are being too rigid about things. In your mind you planned it all out. Like a fifteen-year-old who plans his future: first you get this degree, then you do an internship here, then you move up by getting a job there, then… but does it ever work like that?
Most of the time life throws unexpected things our way, good and bad. Some people get promoted fast and others work for years without a raise. There are other factors at work, including your emotions and how you interact with people. Try to be more flexible, try to be open to opportunities that aren’t your own doing.
What does the King of Swords Tarot card mean for love?
For singles, having the King of Swords in your reading might mean your expectations are too rigid. On the first date you do this, on the second date you do that etc. Because it helps you to be in charge, it helps you to feel that you have control. You take your time, you size your date up.
But why does love have to be about control? What does one have to do with another? Are you that afraid to fall in love? What would happen if you acted spontaneously? Give yourself the freedom to just be who you are. Give your heart the freedom to choose. Enough with the rules – rules that others set!
For couples, the King of Swords represents a relationship where everything happens by the book. You are like the ideal couple everyone around looks up to. You even dress in a way that compliments one another. Picture perfect. But perfect can also mean, “dead.” When something is perfect, it has no more ground to explore, nowhere else to go, no more to be, do, have. It is finished.
Your relationship can be revived by bringing spontaneity in. By allowing yourself to be silly sometimes, doing unexpected fun activities together – without planning them in advance. Try something new in bed just because. Take a trip to place you normally wouldn’t go. Let the joyous, vivacious flow of life pour into your relationship.
What does King of Swords reversed in Tarot mean?
King of Swords reversed shows a person who has been so set in their ways for so long that it almost feels impossible to change them. If this person is you, take heart, people do change. But not on our own. We need the mirror of another, of a person who can show us our wounds with clarity and compassion, slowly. You can always work with a life coach, a healer, a therapist, or a psychic advisor whom you feel comfortable with.
It might take some time for things to change; this is part of the unfoldment of healing. If you have been living your life this way for the last forty years, to expect things to change overnight or in the course of a few days would be unfair to you. Give yourself time and space. Show compassion towards yourself.
Sword cards – all 14 of them – in Tarot’s Minor Arcana are associated with the air element, which is associated with the astrological signs of Libra, Gemini, and Aquarius. The King of Swords, specifically, shows male Aquarius energy.
The King is a Court card. In the Minor Arcana, there are 16 court cards: 4 Pages, 4 Knights, 4 Queens, and 4 Kings. Court carts tend to represent what we’re going through and what type of a person it’s making us, or a very important person in our lives – depending on where the card appears in the spread. Your Tarot reader can easily tell you this, based on the other cards in your reading.
If this card is about an Aquarian male in your life, appreciate their love of intellectualism. Telling them you feel that they are acting aloof or removed is important, but you need to be gentle about it. They worked hard to build this glass house. Don’t approach them with stones.
If the card is reversed, this Aquarius needs help. Try to be as supportive as possible. Encourage them to seek outside help, as some habits are really hard to break just by talking.