intellectual control

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Intro: King of Swords Tarot Card Meaning - intellectual control

Tarot Alley uses the Rider Waite type of deck for our meanings, symbols, interpretations, etc.

When determining the King of Swords tarot card meaning, you should consider that it’s a Swords card and a King. The Suit of Swords represents knowledge and intellect. Kings represent controlling, experienced providers.

In this way, we can determine that the King of Swords represents intellectual control. What does that mean? It means the King of Swords represents anyone who tends to control (or try to control) intellectual and verbal responses. Where the Queen of Swords uses diplomacy, the King is far more direct and blunt.

Take a look at the Rider-Waite King of Swords displayed to the left (or above).

What is your first impression?

Who is he? Why is he King? What is he in charge of? What is he like? What is happening in this image?

There’s no right or wrong answer here, just your interpretation.

Common Symbols

  • A Solemn Expression: to represent ruthless logic in decision making.
  • Alertness: alertness can be seen in the way the sword is held out, tensed muscles, open eyes, or other ways. It represents readiness to proceed.

Keywords & Concepts

  • Decision
  • Expertise
  • Genius
  • Verdict

The King of Swords for Personal Growth

Affirmation: My word is my bond.

Say what you mean and mean what you say. How can others trust you if you break your word to them?

Another important element of maturity is your ability to listen. How many words do you speak in comparison to how many you hear? Learn to give others a chance to speak and to really hear what they have to say.

Ask Yourself:

  • What would your decision be if you had to render a binding verdict right now?
  • How comfortable are you saying exactly what you mean?
  • How often do you temper what you have to say for fear of offending others?
  • If you were to ask others, “what’s my area of expertise?” what would they say?
  • How comfortable (or uncomfortable) are you with the fact that not everyone will support or appreciate your decisions?
  • How willing are you to make decisions that will alienate some people?
  • In your own situation, should you rely more on logic or wisdom? What might happen if you blended the two?
  • How might logic and communication be used to improve your current situation?

Interpreting the King of Swords

Generally, the King of Swords represents intellectual control. You know what you know and are willing to express that with firmness and authority.

It’s time to make a decision and reach a final conclusion. This might involve consulting with an expert or you may already have all the experience you need.

The Reversed King of Swords

How you read reversals is a personal choice. You can ignore reversals and read them as if the card is upright (this is what I often choose to do) or you can interpret reversals as variations of what they would mean upright. There are 3 common ways to read reversals: as a negative interpretation, as an opposite interpretation, or as a block on the upright interpretation. Check out How to Read Reversals for more information.

Typically, a reversed King of Swords represents an inflated sense of superiority. Examples include:

  • Insisting on having the last word
  • Flaunting your intelligence
  • Deliberately speaking in a way that’s “over the heads” of others
  • Changing your mind frequently
  • Going back and forth on an important decision

Examples of the King of Swords

Specific Interpretations

Specific situations are the general interpretation (from above) used for a specific situation (love, career, etc). There is no need to memorize these (or even look them up) if you understand the general interpretation. However, here are some basic interpretations for some specific situations:


Be straightforward in your relationships. Do the things you say you will. Avoid trying to control others (their words and behavior).


Make commitments and follow through. Don’t sugarcoat the truth, be fair, but don’t be an ass about it. Avoid empty praise.


Now is the time to match your actions and words with your beliefs. Do as you say you believe.

the King of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

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The King of Swords tarot card meaning is all about intellectual control. Take control of your intellect by being upfront, direct, and honest with others.

Once you feel comfortable with the King of Swords tarot card meaning, check out the first card in the next suit of the tarot deck: the Ace of Wands Tarot Card Meaning.


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