King of Swords Tarot Card

King of Swords Tarot Card Meanings

What does the King of Swords card mean in a Tarot Reading?

The King of Swords is similar in meaning to the Queen of the same suit. It symbolizes the power of intellect, logic, a rational view of the world, when a person knows how to effectively analyze his behavior and use resources correctly.
The confident, calm pose of the King, the raised sword, all this conveys the essence of the card – strength, intelligence, readiness to act.
The card symbolizes inspiration for new ideas, striving for new goals. Minor Arcana Tarot card King of Swords indicates a lot of ideas, pressure, activity, implementation of the plan.

Goal: Knowledge, Cognition
Element: Air
Planet: Mars, Jupiter
Astrological sign: Libra


The King sits on his throne, looking down at us in accusation. He has a raised sword in his right hand. Thunderclouds gather in the sky, and two birds fly away. Cypresses are visible in the distance.
(For a detailed depiction, analysis of the Symbols and all Elements of the King of Swords Tarot Card, click here)

The Main Meanings of the Card In an Upright Position

Key Words and Phrases

Truth. Control. Balanced judgments. Correct decisions. Analytical mind. Professionalism. Intelligence. A penchant for innovation. Ambition. Defending your own positions. Aggressiveness. Powerfulness. Fast movement. Acute discrimination. Ability to give the correct answer. Objectivity. Rationality. Equality. Justice. Arbitration.

King of Swords Tarot Card Meanings

Law and order. Charm. Cooperation. Confidence. Prudence. Good advice. Logics. Clear thinking. Sharp mind. Analytical ability. Diplomacy. Lofty ideals. Strength of character. Enthusiasm. Specialization. The head works harder than the heart. Don’t listen to your own feelings.

The main meanings of the card in an upright position

power, responsibility;
a critical view of things, which is likely to result in success;
high intellectual and intuitive abilities;
the power of subtle reason, ironic audacity;
highly professional approach to work;
the temptation to deceive and “put down” everyone around because he can;
rational analysis;
clarity in personal relationships, but the substitution of the spiritual for empty intellectualism is likely;
loneliness, isolation;
judicial, lawyer, judge, counselor, assessor, senator, attorney, lawyer, prosecutor, doctor, medic;
lawyer, jurisprudence;
power, authority;
a person with power, authority and reason;
a person assigned to make and implement their decisions;
patron with power, money, position;
mature man, strong, authoritative, tough;
official power, public office, politics.

King of Swords. Witchcraft Tarot by Ellen Dugan
Witchcraft Tarot by Ellen Dugan

Situation and Advice

The decision you expect will be fair and unbiased. An educated person will give you sound advice on a financial or legal matter. Perhaps your actions are too judicious and cold-blooded. You should show more soulfulness in relation to other people. You may be too original now. You have a great desire to free yourself from the bondage of conventions that limit your freedom. It may be worth considering whether you are listening enough to your feelings, whether you are not afraid of starting a new relationship. Some people think that you do not respect their feelings. The card also describes everything that is associated with the idea of ​​a judgment seat: power, control, authority, a militant mind, law, government offices.

Persons designated by Upright King of Swords Tarot Сard

People about whom you can say “his own master”. People who resist the restrictions that are imposed on them. Dominant, aggressive person. An outsider, educated, independent, unemotional, analytical, in a leadership position and able to give impartial assessment and excellent advice. People who don’t listen to their own feelings. Those who are wary of entering into close relationships with unfamiliar people. People in high positions in government. Military. Politicians. Leaders. Chiefs. Lawyers. Doctors. Judges. Arbitrators. Specialists. Civil servants. Professionals. People who are able to defend your interests. Leaders with high moral standards, but not paying attention to the feelings and personal problems of others. An educated person who enjoys learning and exploring abstract truths. A man who measures seven times and cuts once. People who specialize in social sciences or communication. Those who are able to consider the situation from the outside, not paying attention to emotions. An independent person who takes into account only his own opinion. Your father. The aggressive man you are dating.

The Main Meanings of the Card In a Reversed Position

Key Words and Phrases

Exploitation. An unfair decision. Prejudice. Grandeur. Sarcasm. Selfishness. Ruthlessness. Impermanence. Intrigue. Failure to draw correct conclusions. Suspicion. Accusations. Injustice. Dominant attitude. Dishonesty. Bias. Vindictiveness. Excessive precaution. Cruelty. Severity. Cynicism. Overconfidence. A tendency to manipulate. Tyranny. Lust for power. Problems with law. Intimidation. Sadism. Violence. Aggressiveness.

The main meanings of the card in a reversed position

lack of principles;
victories in “battles”, but defeat in “war” is likely;
evil intentions;
a lawsuit against you;
debauchery, crime, ferocity, inhumanity;
troubles, insidiousness, anger, treachery;
mistrust, legal complications;
bandit, malicious or evil-minded person, domineering person, distrustful and suspicious;
rudeness, willfulness, barbarity;
in fact, the same power, but used for evil and with evil intentions;
submission of the querent to the will of another person;
opposition, struggle, conflicts;
abuse of power or position;
dangerous rival, foe, competitor;
injustice, litigation, problems with the law.

Situation and Advice

King of Swords. Black Grimoire Tarot
Black Grimoire Tarot

Probably, you were treated unfairly, or someone else’s words offended you. Perhaps someone is cheating or ruthlessly intimidating you, plotting. Or maybe you yourself use other people to achieve your own goals. Or did your sarcastic remarks offend someone close to you? You may be a victim of justice and have received an unfair sentence. When it comes to litigation, the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome of the litigation is high.

Persons designated by the Reversed King of Swords Tarot Сard

Sadists. Ruthless, suspicious, sarcastic, vengeful, cruel man. Provocateur. A man corrupted by power. Overly cautious people. Heartless, soulless, cruel or unjust person, prone to betrayal. A sly, aggressive fanatic.

In the Spreads

Like other court cards, the King of Swords can indicate either a person or a situation. It all depends on the question or the adjacent Arcana alignment. In any case, this card symbolizes the domination of logic, reason, complete control over your feelings and emotions, the willingness to fight for your ideals, to go towards your goal.
The meaning of the upright or reversed King of Swords is different. If the upright one means correct, effective behavior, then the reversed, on the contrary, means incorrect and biased conclusions.

In an Upright Position

The King of Swords Tarot card is distinguished by authority, self-confidence and undeniable professionalism. The card represents a businessman or a servant of the law who will provide the querent with great reliable assistance in resolving a serious life problem. Overly assertive, stubborn to despotism, this person can be cold and aloof when dealing with people, and therefore feelings of loneliness and isolation are inherent in him.
Arcana can mean either an imperious, rationally thinking, energetically strong person, or the appearance of such circumstances where it will be necessary to show conscious behavior, logic and decisiveness.
In the upright position, the King of Swords Tarot denotes a person from the entourage of the querent: a solid, self-confident man who has power, authority and status. Its characteristic features are decisiveness, toughness, assertiveness. This may be the chief of the querent, his father, an acquaintance, a patron.
The authority of the King of Swords does not have to be official. It can be based on his broad connections, money, or any other opportunity. Although it is likely that the King of Swords is a politician, a high-ranking official, a judge, a military man, a boss, etc., or an official representative of power or law.
The presence of the King of Swords in your spread suggests that in this person you are able to find a powerful patron. Feel free to follow his advice and do not refuse any support. He is ready to help you, thanks to which you will emerge from the difficult struggle as a winner and will be able to climb several steps up.
Tarot card King of Swords, appearing in fortune-telling or spreads in a straight position, indicates a dynamic and purposeful advancement towards one’s own goal: activity, insight, objectivity, clarity in understanding and vision of the goal. Possible negative aspects are lightheadedness and a tendency to underestimate the consequences. To achieve the desired result, you need to act strictly according to the rules that the situation may require and not go beyond what is permitted. You should not cheat in anything or look for dishonest ways to solve problems.

In a Reversed Position:

The appearance in the spread of the reversed King of Swords Tarot card warns the querent about the invasion of his life by a bandit who seeks to exploit him, playing on his weak character. If the fraudulent tricks and cunning do not work, this person is able to use force. The querent is not advised to reconcile with him, the best results will be obtained through struggle.
In a reversed position, the King of Swords Tarot points to a man from the entourage of the querent: a dangerous person with influence and power. For the sake of achieving his goals, this person is ready to sweep away everything in his path, so it is better not to stand in his way.
The appearance of the reversed King of Swords in your spread suggests that this person is your open or secret enemy. Perhaps he is your opponent, competitor or rival, or maybe he just hates you or intends to subordinate you to his will.

In this regard, you should prepare for battle: you will face a difficult struggle, open conflict or insidious intrigues. Perhaps a lawsuit or unexpected problems with the law. The reversed King of Swords, with his influence and power, can greatly weaken your position. To stand up to him, you need to enlist the support of equally influential patrons.

King of Swords. The Tarot of Vampyres [With Phantasmagoria] by Ian Daniels
The Tarot of Vampyres [With Phantasmagoria] by Ian Daniels

The reversed position of the Arcana indicates behavior that is out of control. Either aggressive and harsh, or biased and illogical. For example, a person who turns on quickly, throws a tantrum, or goes into a rage. Or the circumstances under which decisions are made too hasty are unwise.
In a reversed position, the King of Swords warns of a possible encounter with rudeness, willfulness, narrow-mindedness, despotism and cruelty. Sometimes the reversed Arcana is interpreted as intrigue, deception or intimidation. This card often means unfairness in an existing situation, when someone is acting or has already done an unfair thing.
This card in a reversed position means a change in the positive characteristics of the King. His impartial detachment becomes cold, and his control becomes tyranny. Consider if you or someone near you are exhibiting these traits.

In the Spreads for Different situation

In an Upright Position:
In a question for a specific situation, the card warns that soon you will have to act as clearly and thoughtfully as possible. Be confident in yourself, analyze all possible outcomes of events, do not give in to emotions.
In a Reversed Position:
If the question was asked about a specific situation, a reversed King of Swords could indicate your wrong behavior, erroneous judgments, or having strong emotions where they shouldn’t be. Try to pull yourself together and take a sober view of events.

In the Spreads for Relationship

In an Upright Position:
In love matters, this is not the best card. It usually indicates the cool behavior of a partner, where emotions and feelings are pushed into the background, and self-sufficiency, criticality, independence come to the fore. It is difficult to build a family with such a person, since you cannot wait for the manifestation of warmth from him.
In the upright position, the King of Swords card brings clarity to personal relationships, however, this is often accompanied by alienation due to the fact that this can be done not in a mild, but in an categorical form that hurts the heart. Rational analysis helps to recognize incorrect behaviors and thus achieve harmony. Sometimes Arcana reports that the relationship is superficial, frivolous: partners (or one of the partners) treat the union only as entertainment, and do not want to take on any responsibility.

In a Reversed Position:
The reversed meaning of the Tarot card King of Swords in love has an even more negative meaning than the upright one. These include scandals, conflicts, suppression of one partner by another, the confidence of a stronger partner that he is always right, manifestation of cruelty, immoral behavior.
In a reversed form, the King of Swords says that in the established relationship one of the partners tries to deceive the other, seeks to completely subjugate him. In addition, such an Arcana may indicate that the attitude of one partner to another is based solely on calculation, and not on feelings.

In the Spreads for Money

In an Upright Position:
In the financial sector: competent cost planning, budgeting. Accordingly, the material condition is stable.
In a Reversed Position:
In financial matters: spending on emotions, losses due to ill-considered behavior.

In the Spreads for Career

King of Swords. Romantic Tarot
Romantic Tarot

In an Upright Position:
The meaning of King of Swords in work is authority, power, analytical skills, proper planning and business management, effective decisions, successful performance, business development.
The upright King of Swords in divination for business and career indicates a highly professional, flexible and tactically competent approach to work. Eloquence, charm and the ability to understand hints when communicating with colleagues, bosses, partners and clients. However, it can also be a warning against falling into such extremes as cold prudence and the desire to intimidate or deceive the interlocutor. The card also speaks of good financial profit and dynamic business development.

In a Reversed Position:
Upside down card for work means hasty ill-considered decisions, improper use of one’s potential and resources, very strong emotions that interfere with work, unwillingness to assess all the circumstances before acting.
In a reversed position, Arcana can symbolize the desire to achieve their goals by any tools and means, disregard for the law, excessive self-confidence, dishonest struggle for power, dismissal.

In the Spreads for Health

In an Upright Position:
In terms of well-being, it usually denotes a high pain threshold, strong energy, and disease resistance. However, there is a risk of overestimating your capabilities. You should be more careful about the state of the body.
In a Reversed Position:
The reversed King of Swords denotes an overly categorical attitude towards health. A person either suffers from hypochondria and is very afraid of getting sick, or, on the contrary, does not pay attention to the state of the body in general, does not go to the doctor even when he is sick.

Answer to Yes / No Tarot Spreads

In an Upright Position:
In a Reversed Position:

Self-Development Lesson

You rely on your own wisdom and are ready to do what needs to be done. If you are starting a new relationship, make sure that your new partner’s interests are complementing your own ones.

Type of person in an upright position:

The card indicates a man aged 35 and over. The hair is light brown, dark brown or black. The eyes are dark, rarely gray or green. In old age there’s a gray head. Medium to below average height, lean but strong regardless of age.
For the questioner, the King of Swords can mean a father, grandfather or other relative of an elderly age. Lonely man.

King of Swords. Celtic Tarot
Celtic Tarot

In the old interpretations, this card often meant a widower or a very elderly person. In modern times, it can show a man who fundamentally does not recognize official marriage bonds or someone whose family exists only nominally.
A woman never occupies a significant place in the life of the King of Swords, because the love of his life is power. In everyday life, he is modest to the point of asceticism, but he widely enjoys the privileges he gets due to his status.
Woe to the one who stands in the way of the King of Swords! Regardless of gender, this is a person whose distinctive character traits are coldness, ruthlessness, mercilessness towards enemies. Justice exists in his scale of values, but he has his own criteria for it and may not coincide with generally accepted ones.

Type of person in a reversed position:

An old bachelor. Widower. A very old man, whose body is strong, and his consciousness leaves much to be desired. By nature, regardless of gender, he is an evil and cruel person for whom there is nothing sacred. Tyrant, despot, sadist. In some cases it’s the leader of a bandit gang, a “thief in law”, a criminal authority.

Arcana’s warning

Take your time, objectively consider all the circumstances, facts, before doing something.

Final Advice of Arcana

Use your experience, knowledge, skills. Your intellectual ability will help you succeed.

In an Upright Position:
Do not loosen control, if necessary, entrust it to people you trust. Use your intellectual potential to the fullest.
In a Reversed Position:
From vigilance to paranoia is just one step. If you are accused of cruelty and inhumanity, the accusations are at least not unfounded.


The King of Swords Tarot card is the lord and sovereign, often rightfully the authority in the personal or professional life of the questioner. He is used to giving orders and seeing that they are being obeyed. For the questioner, his motives are not always clear: sometimes he seems a powerful ally, sometimes a dishonest enemy.
Do not forget, however: no matter what this person says or does, his own interests are above all for him, and he will crush everyone who stands in his way. This is a person who judges the situations and those who are in his power. However, unlike the symbol of Justice of the Major Arcana, the King of Swords does not hold balanced scales in his hand. In his eyes, what is good for him is just.
If the card does not represent a certain person, then this is an indication of an extremely dubious situation. Perhaps we are even talking about life and death. Try to carefully protect yourself from real and immediate danger.


Discover other Minor Arcana:

5 thoughts on “King of Swords Tarot Card Meanings”

  1. Lately, the King of Swords has been featured in almost all layouts; he has actually become more frequent, what could this mean, please tell me?

    1. It depends what the King of Swords means for you. Person or situation? Didn’t you pull out an extra card? If we are talking about a situation, then this is either a solution to some problem, a serious conversation that will put everything in its place, making an unconditional decision. Perhaps a proposal for work – a promotion or a proposal for a deal. If a person is some kind of serious, cold-blooded, calculating man – a strategist, a logician… you cannot draw a conclusion from one card. This is either a person worth paying attention to, or a situation that needs to be looked at closely.

  2. The King of Swords is the coldest of the kings in the Tarot. He has no intention of having an affair, or even simple sex. Talk, yes, but the rest, excuse me…

  3. The King of Swords in the reading indicated an acquaintance with a pilot)) an unusual and rare profession, but it suits this suit…

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