Knight of Swords

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Knight of Swords from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck

The Knight of Swords is the twelfth card in the suit of Swords. It usually stands for skill or bravery. Wrath, war, destruction, opposition, resistance, ruin. A soldier, man of arms. Heroic action in the future.

General description

In the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, Pamela Colman Smith depicts the Knight of Swords as a Knight riding in full course, as if scattering his enemies. In the design he is really a prototypical hero of romantic chivalry. He might almost be Galahad, whose sword is swift and sure because he is clean of heart. The armed man under the rule of the Emperor, the military man who may rather fall under the same house as the police, and be indicated by the Page of Swords.

Divinatory meaning

A female Knight of Swords from the Visconti-Sforza Tarot

A key meaning of the Knight of Swords is that of painful memories, suffering by ancient wrongs. In fact war is in all cases, be it private or collective, the phenomenon of the outbreak of some ancient wrong or evil—the wrong of oppression on one side or the evil of desire on the other. The Knight of Swords must bear the significance of the bearer of weapons, which avenge wrongs or serve attacks. Badly aspected it may mean opposition against the power of the father or The Emperor, revolution, which is quite in the line of the grumbling and malcontent nature of the Cancerian of the lower type. It is, however, to be expected that such opposition will be very much hidden, dark, in the background, not open nor very loyal.

On account of its relation with the twelfth house this card may also mean a surgeon and operations performed by him, and, in lower types or weaker cases, fraud and destruction of organisms, whatever these may be. It may further relate here to all sorts of bad passions and to degrees of hatred.

If reversed, the card can mean: Imprudence, incapacity, or extravagance. Struggle that will be conquered.

Tarot Topics
Major Arcana The FoolThe MagicianThe High PriestessThe EmpressThe EmperorThe HierophantThe LoversThe ChariotStrengthThe HermitWheel of FortuneJusticeThe Hanged ManDeathTemperanceThe DevilThe TowerThe StarThe MoonThe SunJudgementThe World
Minor Arcana Pentacles AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Wands AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Cups AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Swords AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Decks Visconti-Sforza TarotTarot of MarseillesRider-Waite TarotThoth TarotOccult TarotAngel TarotVlad Dracula TarotHieronymus Bosch Tarot