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King of Swords

A description and interpretation of the role of The King of Swords in the Tarot

In a nutshell...


  • power

  • tyranny


General overview

Perhaps even more than any other court card, the King of Swords is an absolute symbol of power and intellectual authority. He is the spearhead of the element of air, traditionally associated with the mastery of thought and action. He uses these qualities to reign over his territory.

From a visual point of view, in the majority of existing tarot versions, the card depicts a young king leaning against a flesh-colored or golden throne. He has an upright sword in his right hand and a small scepter in the other hand. These objects, of course testify, to the character's power and rank. As his fierce expression suggests, the King of Swords is bellicose by nature and intends to forcibly retain his power if someone decides to cross him. The weapon also testifies to the courage which the character knows how to use in order to achieve his projects.

The blue on the tunic he wears reflects the links he has with his emotions and the sensitivity that he sometimes exercises. The red evinces a balance between his capacity for action and his desire for spiritual elevation. Note that the King of Swords wears Janus epaulettes, which refer to one of the attributes of The Chariot.

Authority requires obedience, but reason can convince.


  • from an emotional viewpoint

    In the sentimental domain, the King of Swords refers to the idea of a lasting relationship, like a thoughtful man working to protect his love and his home. It bears witness to reassuring traits, both from an emotional and material point of view. It indicates solid foundations for a blooming union, provided that an overdeveloped penchant for control doesn't spoil everything.

  • from a career viewpoint

    The intrinsic qualities of the King of Swords are perfectly expressed in the professional world. Sure of his strength, the character knows how to define his objectives and use his innate qualities to climb the ladder to success. He naturally flourishes in fields that require responsibility and/or the liberal professions, which allow him to quench his thirst for recognition while guaranteeing him a significant source of income.

  • from a life path viewpoint

    Unlike the King of Cups, for example, the King of Swords is not especially known for his qualities of listening and empathy. However, it teaches you the importance of decision-making and action. Refusing to give free rein to his emotions allows him to use a completely analytical approach to what he wants to achieve. The King of Swords will always approach his life path with a decided step!

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    Its influence

    • short-term

      In the short term, the King of Swords witnesses your strong character, thanks to which you will be able to quickly achieve your goals and develop a particularly fulfilling social life. Your qualities of leadership and your ability to think are rare assets, on which you should not hesitate to rely.

    • long-term

      In the long run, the influence of the King of Swords will be shown in your many successes, both in your love life and in your professional sphere. Because you are confident in your abilities, you know how to direct your thinking in a way that allows you to develop in accord with your beliefs. While you're on your way, just remember sometimes that it's important not to abuse your charisma and your natural authority.

    Full interpretation

    Interpretation of The King of Swords upright

    When drawn upright, the King of Swords may refer to the seeker's life or to someone who is close to them. It is therefore important to take the whole draw into account when analyzing the true implications of this card.

    Without doubt, the most representative character trait of the King of Swords is his ability to lead. This character does not like to blend into the crowd and always tries to stand out. A true leader, he is always willing to take the reins on his life in order to achieve his goals. This characteristic also allows the King of Swords to flourish in the professional sphere, since his responsibilities respond to his dominant character.

    One of the main qualities of the character lies in his excellent faculty of analysis. The King of Swords is a truly analytical being, able to assemble and then sort out countless quantities of information. Once he has fully understood the situation, he will have no problem launching himself. Because of his determined and warlike nature, he will have no trouble maintaining his course and overcoming any obstacles in his path. He finds challenges really exciting and with him, failure is never an option!

    But you couldn't say that the King of Swords is well-known for his emotional qualities. He looks cold and he is cold in his private life. This does not mean, however, that he is incapable of loving, rather that his attachment will be indicated through the financial stability that he can offer than by other marks of affection. The King of Swords is a conservative and will protect his family at all costs.

    Interpretation of The King of Swords reversed

    It's sometimes better not to cross the path of the King of Swords reversed. This draw is usually associated with a person who is particularly sure of their strength; completely self-centered and preoccupied with their objectives which have, over time, become obsessions. They won't hesitate to use their persuasive force to achieve their ends; a manipulation that could be characterized as despotism. They have no problem breaking some moral barriers.

    Sometimes the inverted King of Swords indicates a character that is boastful and self-absorbed. Proud of his achievements, he tends to disregard how other people feel. Empathy is clearly not the character's main quality. As the Tower teaches, it is important to bear in mind that vanity is by nature absurd, any situation can be upset by a simple stroke of fate.

    Finally, drawing the King of Swords upside down can sometimes reflect the difficulty the seeker has in making decisions. Not knowing what to do with the information at their disposal, afraid of changing their daily life, unable to evolve, they prefer to focus on something else. They are certain to feel frustrated. Remember that learning inevitably involves decision-making and experience.