King Of Swords Tarot Card Meaning: Upright & Reversed

The King of Swords is the final court card, and of course because of this he represents complete intellectual authority and analytical thinking. He’s a figure of wisdom and power, with his sword raised upright, he commands respect through his insight and fairness. This card signifies a time or person characterized by ethical judgment, intellectual leadership, and the ability to make decisions based on a clear understanding of all facts. And when reversed, he shows there could be manipulation, cruelty, or the abuse of intellectual power at play.

So if you want to know more about the King of Swords and what he means in your life, then keep reading to find out everything there is to know!

NumerologyRepresents number 5 in numerology (1+4) which symbolizes communication, intelligence and confidence
Zodiac SignAquarius, signifying innovation, intellectual leadership, and the ability to look at situations from a humanitarian and strategic perspective. The King embodies Aquarius’s visionary and analytical qualities.
Ruling PlanetUranus, the planet of breakthroughs and revolutionary ideas. The King of Swords benefits from Uranus’s influence by thinking outside the box and leading with intellectual insight.
ElementAir, related to intellect, logic, and the power of the mind. The King of Swords is a figure of intellectual authority, using his sharp mind to lead and make decisions.
Yes or NoYes, indicating leadership, clear judgment, and intellectual authority. The King counsels making decisions with a clear and unbiased mind.
CrystalsAmethyst (for wisdom and clarity), Labradorite (for intuition and protection against mental fog).

Symbolism Of The King Of Swords

  1. The Throne: The King sits on an ornate throne, with nature behind him. It shows how his knowledge has allowed him to conquer the world, now he has his own dominion.
  2. The Mostly Clear Sky: The backdrop features a mostly clear, bright sky, symbolizing clarity of thought and judgment the King possesses. This clear sky reflects his ability to see beyond illusions and to make decisions based on truth. And the clouds beneath him show how he has conquered his emotions and thoughts.
  3. The Sword: Held upright in his hand, the sword is a symbol of intellect, and power. It represents the King’s ability to use his mind as a tool for cutting through deception and understanding the world around him.
  4. His Crown: The crown upon the King’s head is sturdy and true, symbolizing his authority over his thoughts and how he communicates. It signifies his dominion over the intellectual world and his commitment to truth and justice.
  5. The Robes: The King’s attire is actually fairly simple just a blue and red robe. This represents not only his intelligence and quick thinking (blue) but also his power and passion (red) both of which are needed to ascent the throne.
  6. The Stone: The throne is made of stone, showing stability, permanence, and the enduring nature of truth and justice. It underscores the King’s reliability as a leader who bases his rule on lasting principles.
  7. The Gaze: The King of Swords looks straight ahead, symbolizing his focus on the future and his readiness to confront what lies ahead with a clear vision. His gaze is one of determination, reflecting his commitment to his ideals and his willingness to make tough decisions for the greater good.
King Of Swords Symbolism

The King Of Swords Upright Meaning

Central to the King of Swords is a keen intelligence that cuts through confusion and ambiguity to arrive at the heart of the matter. This is a mind honed by experience and sharpened by wisdom, capable of navigating complex situations with ease and insight. The King of Swords encourages you to apply your intellect to solve problems, to think critically, and to make decisions based on a clear and rational assessment of the facts at hand.

Authority and truth are other hallmark traits of this card, underscoring the importance of honesty and integrity in your actions and interactions. The King of Swords represents a figure who commands respect, not through force, but through the moral conviction and credibility of his judgments. This card challenges you to lead by example, to uphold the principles of truth and fairness in your dealings, and to inspire those around you with your ethical conduct and transparency.

King Of Swords Upright Meaning

Discipline and structure are also significant themes of the King of Swords, emphasizing the value of a disciplined mind and a well-organized approach to achieving your goals. It reminds us that success is not a product of chance but the result of meticulous planning, self-control, and the consistent application of effort towards your objectives. It encourages you to create a framework for your ambitions, to set clear boundaries and rules for yourself and others, and to pursue your aims with dedication and persistence.

In short, the King of Swords invites you to embody the qualities of clarity, authority, and intellectual mastery in your journey through life. It calls on you to harness your mental acuity, to lead with truth and integrity, and to apply discipline and structure to your endeavors. By adopting the mindset and approach of the King of Swords, you equip yourself with the tools to navigate life’s challenges with confidence and to achieve your goals with precision and grace. Remember, the true power of the King of Swords lies in the ability to think clearly, act justly, and lead wisely.

Love and Relationships

For love and relationships, the King of Swords suggests an approach rooted in clear communication . It emphasizes the importance of honesty and mutual respect, encouraging you to engage in open dialogue with your partner. For singles, this card points towards the value of finding a partner who matches your intellectual wavelength, someone with whom you can share deep conversations and a mutual understanding.

Career and Finances

For your career and finances, the King of Swords symbolizes the need for strategic planning and decisive action. It advises you to use your intellect and analytical skills to navigate any professional challenges, and making informed decisions that reflect your principles. Financially, it encourages a disciplined approach to managing your resources, reminding you that wise and honest handling of money can lead to stability and growth.


Spiritually, the King of Swords encourages a journey of self-reflection and the pursuit of truth. It invites you to question, to seek deeper understandings, and to apply your intelligence when exploring your spiritual beliefs. Clarity of thought can lead to significant insights on your spiritual path, and the King urges you to cut through superficial beliefs to find those that resonate deeply with your inner truth.

Yes or No

For a yes or no question, the King of Swords leans towards a ‘yes,’ particularly if the question involves making a decision requiring fairness. You should approach the situation with a rational mind and remember that ethical considerations will guide you towards a favorable outcome. However, it also cautions you to ensure your actions are aligned with your highest principles and the truth.

Book Recommendation – Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

If you haven’t read this book then it’s definitely something you need to read if you plan on channeling the King of Swords energy! It’s a collection of the Roman Emperor’s writings, and it touches on not just stoicism but also self discipline and finding inner peace, even when things around you may not be going so great.

Love what you’re reading? Make sure you check out Tarot Made Easy: A Beginners Guide To Rapid Understanding, now just $11.99!

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The King Of Swords Reversed Meaning

When the King of Swords is reversed in your reading, it’s a cautionary sign, urging you to reflect on the aspects of your communication and leadership that may have veered off course. Right now there may be potential pitfalls of irrationality, and a tendency towards being overly controlling.

The reversed King of Swords often symbolizes a departure from the clarity and ethical judgment associated with its upright position, veering instead towards irrationality. This shift can manifest as decision-making that lacks a solid foundation in logic or fact, leading to outcomes that are neither fair nor beneficial. It’s a reminder to ground your thoughts and actions in reason, ensuring that your decisions are informed and rational.

This card also warns of an oppressive or overly controlling nature. In your need for order and discipline, there’s a risk of becoming tyrannical, enforcing rules and expectations that stifle rather than empower. The reversed King of Swords urges you to examine your approach to authority, to consider whether you’re leading with a heavy hand, and to strive for a balance that respects the autonomy and dignity of those around you.

King Of Swords Reversed Meaning

Coldness, ruthlessness, and dishonesty are further shadows cast by this card’s reversal. Your empathy and integrity may have been sacrificed in favor of achieving objectives by any means necessary. This card cautions against allowing ambition to harden your heart or lead you down a path of ethical compromise. It’s a call to remember the value of transparency, honesty, and compassion in all your endeavors.

The misuse of power and manipulation are serious concerns highlighted by the reversed King of Swords, too. There may be a situation where authority is wielded not as a tool for positive influence and guidance, but as a weapon to control and subjugate. It’s a warning to reevaluate how you’re using your power, to ensure that it’s applied in ways that are just and constructive, rather than self-serving or harmful.

However, amidst these cautionary messages, the reversed King of Swords can also point to a quiet power or an inner truth that is yet to be fully acknowledged or expressed. Beneath the surface of these challenges lies the potential for significant personal insight and the reclamation of one’s ethical compass. This aspect of the card invites you to delve deeper into your motivations and values, to uncover and align with your true principles, and to wield your intellectual and authoritative gifts with wisdom and integrity.

In essence, the King of Swords reversed is a complex signal to pause and reassess. It calls on you to address the negative traits that may be influencing your judgment and actions, to rediscover the path to rationality, ethical leadership, and compassionate authority. By confronting these challenges and embracing the lessons they offer, you open the door to growth, healing, and the authentic expression of your power and truth. Remember, true leadership is not measured by the extent of your control, but by the integrity of your actions and the positive impact you have on those you lead.

Love and Relationships

For love and relationships, the King of Swords reversed hints at potential misunderstandings or communication breakdowns. It’s a call for couples to examine how honesty is playing a role in the relationship, encouraging open dialogue to prevent conflicts borne out of misinterpretations. For singles, it may be a good time to look back at past relationship patterns and the importance of clear intentions and self-awareness as you move forward. It’s a reminder that genuine connections are fostered through transparency and mutual respect.

Career and Finances

When it comes to career and finances, the King of Swords reversed warns of potential challenges in decision-making or leadership. It may indicate a time rational judgment is clouded, leading to less-than-ideal outcomes in professional endeavors or financial decisions. This period calls for a cautious approach, encouraging you to double-check facts and seek advice before making significant moves.


When it comes to your spirituality, the King of Swords reversed shows a phase where your scepticism might overshadow your intuitive insights. It invites you to balance your logical mind with your spiritual intuition, understanding that both play crucial roles in personal growth and enlightenment. So, find a reconnection with your inner wisdom, and remember that spiritual truths often lie beyond the realm of rational thought.

Yes or No

For a straightforward yes or no question, the King of Swords reversed leans towards a ‘no’. The current path or decision may be fraught with unacknowledged complexities or misunderstandings. It advises a step back to reassess the situation with a clearer head or to wait for a time when the way forward is more apparent.

Book Recommendation – Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jeans Greaves

If you feel like you’re becoming a bit tyrannical in the way you’re going through life, then you should definitely read this book! It will help realign you with your emotional intelligence, as well as remind you how to build more empathy, and foster healthy relationships in all areas of your life!

Journaling Prompts For The King Of Swords

If you’ve drawn the King of Swords in your tarot reading, and it’s resonated with you, here are some great journaling prompts to help you figure out what you want from life a little bit more!

  1. Can you remember a situation where you had to take a leadership role? How did you use your knowledge and judgment to guide others?
  2. Write about a tough decision you recently faced. How did you approach it with fairness and logic, and what was the outcome?
  3. Think about a time when your integrity was tested. How did you uphold your principles, and what did you learn from the experience?
  4. Think of someone who looks up to you for guidance. How do you mentor them with wisdom and authority, similar to the King of Swords?
  5. How does self-discipline play a role in your life. How do you maintain control over your emotions and thoughts to make reasoned decisions?

Final Message Of The King Of Swords

Seek clarity above all else. Don’t allow emotions to cloud your judgment or rumors to sway your perspective. Cultivate a sharp intellect, sift through information with precision, and uncover the truth hidden beneath the surface. Remember, true understanding empowers you to navigate life’s complexities with wisdom and grace.

Speak your truth with unwavering conviction. Don’t shy away from expressing your thoughts and beliefs, even if they differ from the crowd. Find the courage to articulate your truths authentically, inspiring others to do the same. Remember, your voice deserves to be heard, and genuine communication fosters deeper connections and positive change.

Lead with integrity and compassion. True power lies not just in authority, but in the responsibility that comes with it. Wield your influence with kindness and understanding, champion positive change, and guide others with honesty. Remember, leadership that inspires rather than dictates builds stronger communities and lasting impact.

Embrace a balanced perspective. Don’t rely solely on cold logic or blind emotion. Learn to listen to your intuition while maintaining intellectual rigor. Seek a harmonious blend of these seemingly opposing forces, allowing intuition to guide your decisions but not overshadowing sound reasoning.

Cut through illusions and facades. Don’t be fooled by appearances. Hone your discernment to see through superficiality and uncover the truth beneath the surface. Question assumptions, challenge norms, and seek deeper understanding beyond the masks people wear. Remember, true wisdom lies in recognizing the realities that may hide in plain sight.


So to be clear, the King of Swords represents clarity, leadership, and moral integrity, urging the use of wisdom and rational thought in decision-making. It symbolizes the power of a disciplined and organized approach to achieving goals, emphasizing honesty, fairness, and ethical conduct.

Reversed, it warns against irrationality, controlling behavior, and ethical compromises, suggesting a need to reassess leadership approaches and ensure decisions are grounded in truth and empathy. It invites introspection to realign with core values and use intellectual gifts wisely, aiming for positive influence and compassionate authority.

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About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio, Owner & Editor of the Fools Journey!

I've been reading Tarot Cards/Getting my tarot read for over 10 years now! For me, what started out as a bit of fun and scepticism, has since grown into such a passion for me.

Tarot Cards are not just a great source of inspiration, but also comfort, and I love using them to help get in touch with the higher powers that are here to guide me through life!

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