14. King of Swords

Tarot of the Sephiroth

Rank: King
Card Title: King of Swords
Esoteric Title: Prince of the Chariot of Winds
Astrological Attribution: Aquarius (fixed air)
Decans: 20° Capricorn to 20° Aquarius
Dates & Timing: January 10 to February 8
Corresponding Trump: The Star
Elemental Attributions: Air (hot,wet) of Air (hot,wet)
Elemental Combination: The Intellect strengthens the Intellect
Qabalistic World: Tipareth in Yetzirah
Translation of World: The Beauty of Formation
Suit Color: Swords- Yellow

Keywords: Fair, Just, Educated, Expert, Stern, Humanistic, Knowledgeable, Goal Oriented

Ill-Dignified:Stern, Strict, Cruel, Mistrusting, Calculating, Vengeful, Unyielding, Severe Critic


Temperament: Curious, Fair, Just, Humanistic, Stern, Passionate, Selfless, Egoism, Brilliant, Educated, Stern, Flexible, Goal-Oriented, Caries Sword Of Intellect With Dignity And Confidence.

Professions: Boss, Father Figure, Doctor, Lawyer, Judge, Government Official

Starting: Tossing out a new idea, getting thoughts on paper, brainstorming. The ability to see problems objectively and find new and better solutions.

Meanings: Good Counsel. Strong moral convictions. Foreign man or country. Legal Action. By the rules. Getting ahead in the world. Inner/Outer conflicts. Behavior modification. Legal, Police matters. Cold, not emotional. Verbal skills.

Reversed Interpretation

Temperament: Verbal Manipulator, Ruthless, Harsh, Merciless, Uses People, Cruel And Unyielding, Severe Critic, Bully, Strict To Point Of Cruelty. Stern Father, Husband, Partner. Ruthless For Power, Mistrusting, Calculating, Vengeful.

Meanings: Anger clouds judgment. Adamant decision. Lawsuit. Unfaithfulness. Malicious plans. Lack of empathy. Detached viewpoint stifles emotions.

Rider-Waite Imagery

The suit of swords is about thoughts, ideas, plans and anything intellectual. The number 10 is completion, endings that make ways for new beginnings. Shown on this card is a man face down with 10 swords stuck in his back. The swords are stuck into his back along the spine. The sky is black (ignorance, delusion) at the top of the card but there are gray (intrusion of the divine) clouds and the sky near the horizon is yellow (healing and redemption). There are purple (brings opposites together) mountains (limitations of mind) in the distance. The man is lying on the brown (practicality) earth at the edge of a still lake (emotions).

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by Arthur Edward Waite (1911)

He sits in judgment, holding the unsheathed sign of his suit. He recalls, of course, the conventional Symbol of justice in the Trumps Major, and he may represent this virtue, but he is rather the power of life and death, in virtue of his office. Divinatory Meanings: Whatsoever arises out of the idea of judgment and all its connexions-power, command, authority, militant intelligence, law, offices of the crown, and so forth. Reversed: Cruelty, perversity, barbarity, perfidy, evil intention.

4 Some Additional Meanings of the Lesser Arcana

King.–A lawyer, senator, doctor. Reversed: A bad man; also a caution to put an end to a ruinous lawsuit.

The Recurrence of Cards in Dealing

In the Natural Position: 4 Kings = great honour; 3 Kings = consultation; 2 Kings = minor counsel.
Reversed: 4 Kings = celerity; 3 Kings = commerce 2 Kings = projects.

The Tarot of the Bohemians by Papus; tr. A. P Morton, [1896]

Signification of the Four Series of Minor Arcana in the Divining Tarot

SWORDS. Transformation. Hatred. War.

KING OF SWORDS. A dark, bad man. He is a soldier, a powerful enemy, who must be distrusted.

The Tarot by S.L. MacGregor Mathers [1888]

Meanings of the Cards

50. King of Swords.–A Lawyer, a Man of Law, Power, Command, Superiority, Authority; R. A Wicked Man, Chagrin, Worry, Grief, Fear, Disturbance.

Additional Remarks: The following additional remarks may be serviceable to the to the inexperienced Cartomancer. They are chiefly taken from Etteilla.

The Court-Cards, and especially the Kings and Queens, may be taken to represent persons; in this case their additional meaning should not be read. The Swords represent very dark people; Pentacles, those not so dark; Cups, rather fair people; Wands or Sceptres, those much fairer, and so on. Many Wands together might signify feasting, many Cups lovemaking, Swords quarrelling and trouble, Coins or Pentacles money.

Where the mode of reading the cards requires that the person consulting should be represented, he should take one of the Kings to represent himself, according to his complexion. If a lady consults the cards, let her take one of the Queens; if she be rather fair, the Queen of Cups; if she be very fair, the Queen of Wands or Sceptres. If the inquirer be quite a youth or a boy, let him take one of the Knights; if a very young girl, let her take the Knave, etc. Etteilla’s plan was to take two of the Keys for Significators, that answering to the Pope for a man, that answering to the High Priestess for a woman; but I do not think this is so well. The worst of Etteilla’s system is that he so completely destroys the meanings of the Keys in his attempted rearrangement of them, as to make them practically useless for higher occult purposes.

Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa

Picatrix the Goal of the Wise by Ghayat Al-akim

Book "T" The Tarot

The Four Princes
These Princes are Figures seated in Chariots, and thus borne forward. They represent the Vau Forces of the Name in each suit: the Mighty Son of the King and Queen, who realizes the influence of both scales of Force. A Prince, the son of a King and Queen, yet a Prince of Princes, and a King of Kings: an Emperor whose effect is at once rapid (though not so swift as that of the Queen) and enduring. It is, therefore, symbolized by a Figure borne in a Chariot, and clothed in Armour. Yet is his power vain and illusionary, unless set in Motion by his Father and Mother.

Princes and Queens shew almost always actual men and women connected with the matter.

XV. The Prince of the Chariot of the Winds:
King of Swords

A WINGED King with Winged Crown, seated in a chariot drawn by Arch Fays, represented as winged youths very slightly dressed, with butterfly wings: heads encircled by a fillet with a pentagram thereon: and holding wands surmounted by pentagrams, the same butterfly wings on their feet and fillets. General equipment as the King of Wands: but he bears as a crest a winged angelic head with a pentagram on the brows. Beneath the chariot are grey nimbus clouds. His hair long and waving in serpentine whirls, and whorl figures compose the scales of his armour. A drawn sword in one hand; a sickle in the other. With the sword he rules, with the sickle he slays.

Full of ideas and thoughts and designs, distrustful, suspicious, firm in friendship and enmity; careful, observant, slow, over-cautious, symbolizes GR:Alpha and GR:Omega; he slays as fast as he creates.
If ill dignified: harsh, malicious, plotting; obstinate, yet hesitating; unreliable.

  • Rules from 20 Degree Capricorn to 20 Degree Aquarius.
  • Air of Air
  • Prince and Emperor of the Sylphs and Sylphides.

Often the General signification of the Majority of a particular suit and of the particular signification of the either 3 of 4 cards of a sort in a reading:

  • A Majority of Swords Trouble, sadness, sickness, death.
  • A Majority of Court Cards Society, meetings of many persons.
  • 4 Princes Meetings with the great.
  • 3 Princes Rank and honour