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Card Meanings:

The Major Arcana...

0 or 22 -The Fool
1 - Magician
2 - High Priestess
3 - Empress
4 - Emperor
5 - Hierophant
6 - Lovers
7 - Chariot
8 - Strength
9 - Hermit
10 - Wheel of Fortune
11 - Justice
12 - Hanged Man
13 - Death
14 - Temperance
15 - The Devil
16 - The Tower
17 - The Star
18 - The Moon
19 - The Sun
20 - Judgement
21 - The World

The Minor Arcana...

Wands (Rods):
King of Wands
Queen of Wands
Knight of Wands
Page of Wands
Ten of Wands
Nine of Wands
Eight of Wands
Seven of Wands
Six of Wands
Five of Wands
Four of Wands
Three of Wands
Two of Wands
Ace of Wands

King of Cups
Queen of Cups
Knight of Cups
Page of Cups
Ten of Cups
Nine of Cups
Eight of Cups
Seven of Cups
Six of Cups
Five of Cups
Four of Cups
Three of Cups
Two of Cups
Ace of Cups

King of Swords
Queen of Swords
Knight of Swords
Page of Swords
Ten of Swords
Nine of Swords
Eight of Swords
Seven of Swords
Six of Swords
Five of Swords
Four of Swords
Three of Swords
Two of Swords
Ace of Swords

Pentacles (Coins):
King of Pentacles
Queen of Pentacles
Knight of Pentacles
Page of Pentacles
Ten of Pentacles
Nine of Pentacles
Eight of Pentacles
Seven of Pentacles
Six of Pentacles
Five of Pentacles
Four of Pentacles
Three of Pentacles
Two of Pentacles
Ace of Pentacles

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The King of Swords
King of Swords

Card Nicknames: Authority, leadership, judge, lawyer

Short meaning: The King of Swords refers to an intelligent man who is often also an authority figure. He may be a professional, or someone who contributes to the legal system or government. He is known and respected for his integrity and high standards.

Full meaning: When representing a person, kings are usually grown men, typically middle-aged or older. Swords are an air sign and often represent intellectual energy and conflict, change, or action.

The King of Swords is highly intelligent, often a professional, a lawyer, or involved in law. He may work for the government, or may be a teacher, an employer, or an authority figure.

Words typically found in card meanings for the King of Swords include rational, logical, analytical, mature, objective, capable, respected, patriarchal, honest, fair, honorable, exacting, high standards, and he follows the rules. Sometimes descriptions trend toward the negative, portraying the king as too harsh, but those characteristics are usually associated with card reversals.

Hansson (see Sources) described the King of Swords as "A man with many hard-won achievements and accomplishments. An expert in law, military, and government. Proven leadership ability and position of authority. Matter-of-fact and to-the-point, practical advice. Possessive and protective of what is his own and what or who he believes to be his. Tendency toward harsh, quick judgements, but not closed-minded or unreasonable. Interested in keeping on top of skills and continually learning." (Hansson, p. 109)

Greer provides a detailed profile: "The King of Swords is 'on duty.' He is a stern judge, an unflinching soldier, an editor, a surgeon, judge, or a philosopher... Like the other Kings, with this impartial arbiter of truth and justice, "the buck stops here." He demonstrates the external expertise of the Air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius). As such he is a decision maker who bases his choices on logic and rationality, ethics, principles, and facts. At best he strives for honesty, fairness, strict and accurate definitions, and absolute rules and guidellines. This card can indicate the handling of legal matters, judgments, and negotiations, or police and military affairs. You or someone you know could be upholding standards or schedules, or be critiquing a work with an eye to catching any flaw, mistake, or weakness. You may be operating under strict requirements. You could set limits, and if necessary deprive yourself of something desired in order to honor a principle or decision. You face matters squarely and dispassionately, seeking to maximize efficiency, precision, and order. Discipline is essential. You evaluate carefully the consequences of planned actions. If required you could sever or cut off whatever is unnecessary, even if it entailes making personal sacrifices. As a parent, this King has high standards and teaches that there is a consequence for every action. As a spouse he can be intelligent, honest, principled but also critical and demanding.

"TRADITIONAL: Man of the cloth or lawyer. Judge, councilor, senator, businessman, physician, jurist, litigant. Jurisprudence. Power, command, intelligence. Force." (Greer, p. 202)

According to Fontana, "The King of Swords is the most powerful of the four kings, and symbolizes the determination and energy to sweep impediments aside in the interests of truth and justice. He rides forcefully toward us, defending his kingdom behind him. The passion of the King of Swords can be a force for good but can also manifest itself at times as overreaction and anger." (Fontana, p. 189)

King of Swords Reversed
Meaning coming soon!

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Above illustration: Tarot; The Complete Kit deck (Julie Paschkis).
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Last updated 19 December 2011
All original content © 2003, 2011 by and Pam Rotella

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