King of Swords: Intellectual Authority

Tarot Stories
2 min readJan 18, 2021


I end the Suit of Swords on a Sunday that has been busy but also slow-paced. I’ve had things to do all day and feel like I’ve glided through the day fairly even-tempered. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that I drew this card on a day that I’ve been feeling clear headed (rare for me — particularly in this last year).

As I move into a new work week, I feel fairly neutral. I don’t have the Sunday Blues, but I am not super excited. I just am. A lot like this card where the air seems still and though there are a few clouds, it’s neither a sunny nor dark day. I wonder if this is what it’s like to be on anti-depressants.

King of Swords from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

What you see: The King sits on his throne with butterfly designs, holding his sword upright in his right hand, and wearing a crown with more butterflies. He wears a blue tunic with a purple cape and a red hood. On his throne beside his left ear are cherubs whispering. In the background are Cypress trees and clouds, and two birds in flight.

What it means: The King appears to be filled with wisdom, his blue tunic symbolizing spiritual knowledge and purple cape signifying compassion. The sword in his right hand represents his rational mind and the whispering cherubs by his ear symbolize spiritual guidance. The trees and clouds are still in this card, as though the storm in previous cards has passed.

The story: The King of Swords represents intellectual power and mental clarity; the ability to remain objective and clear-headed in a situation.

Reversed meaning: Reversed, the card represents irrationality or a dictator; power with no compassion or moral compass.

Reflection: The court cards within the suit are very similar in their symbols — the butterflies, birds, clouds and cypress trees all represents the elemental air. The cards all draw some form of intellectual power whether it’s a youthful energy that leads with action, or the wiser and mature figures.

My research sources:
A Complete Guide to the Tarot, Eden Gray, 1970
Tarot Card Meanings, Biddy Tarot
Card Meanings, Labyrinthos
Root Lock Radio: A Tarot Podcast



Tarot Stories

A Canadian marketing strategist learning storytelling through the Tarot, and maybe finding the meaning of life along the way.