King of Swords Tarot Card Meanings

Posted by John Taylor on

king of swords

(The above image is a copy of The King of Swords card in a standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck. The 6 symbols pointed out above are explained below.)


Card Description

The King of Swords sits confidently on his throne and stares directly at the reader. This illustrates his master intellect and ability to get things done. This shouldn't be seen as an example of toxic masculinity however as his High Priestess robe and sickled throne suggest a convergence of masculine and feminine attributes.

If you are looking for a deck of Tarot cards, check out our standard Rider-Waite deck here or check out one of our recent arrivals here.

For more information about The King of Swords card, check out A. E. Waite’s description here.


Point 1 – KING

The King sits on his throne and stares directly at the reader. This illustrates the King’s assuredness. Armed with his sword, he tackles his problems head on. This level of authority is indicative of all king cards.  


Point 2 – SWORD

The King holds his sword in his right hand and points it straight up. This illustrates his desire for truth and the moral backbone behind his intelligence. Like the Queen, the King differs from the Knight and Page in that he requires no performance or symbolism of his authority. Like the Queen, his authority is inherent.



The King’s throne has a butterfly design near the top of it. Like the Queen’s crown, the butterflies here illustrate the dynamism of the sword suit through their metamorphosis.



Above the butterflies, there are two sickles carved in the throne. On a fundamental level, they represent the harvest. On a deeper level, they illustrate the moon and the matriarchy. This runs counter to the idea of toxic masculinity and reveals the necessity for femininity to co-exist with masculinity, and vice versa.


Point 5 – BLUE ROBE

The King wears a light blue robe. The color not only evokes the element of air, it also traditionally symbolizes spiritual maturity in Tarot. Some scholars have pointed to a resemblance of The High Priestess’s robe, further iterating the theme point out in the two sickles.


Point 6 – TREES

The trees in the background illustrate the fertility found in spiritual maturity. While other court cards in the minor arcana are in wastelands, the sword court cards are in an open green field, suggesting the potential for great things.


Tarot Reading


An Upright King of Swords suggests a clarity in vision. Perhaps you lack confidence in your area of expertise. An Upright King of Swords says that this is simply imposture syndrome and that you truly are qualified in your job. Proceed in your performance with confidence and resolve in order to manifest your vision in the world.



While an Upright King of Swords is concerned with external mastery, a Reverse King of Swords is concerned with internal mastery. Perhaps you are not directing a project, but you might have a great idea that could significantly help in a project. Take confidence in your intellect and do what you can to help any situation you find yourself in.


For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our blog here.




About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B. A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and a M. A. in English from the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about Tarot here and his LinkedIn profile here.

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Last update date: 03/06/21


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