The Meaning of
the "Knight of Swords" Tarot Card
Tarot Quick Info
What is the inverted meaning of
the "Knight of Swords"?
The Meaning of
the "Knight of Swords"
The Symbolism of the Knight of Swords
On the Knight of Swords card, an armored knight charges into battle on the back of his galloping white horse.
His sword is held high, with the blade pointing up, symbolizing positivity, clarity and boundless enthusiasm. Like the Knight of Wands, the Knight of Swords also faces to the left.
In the background we see mostly sky and clouds — reminding us that the Suit of Swords is strongly associated with the element of Air.
... the clouds have a jagged, almost electric energy to them, which gives the whole card the feeling of movement and power.
Trees bow in the wind, and the clouds have a jagged, almost electric energy to them, which gives the whole card the feeling of movement and power.
The Knight moves against the wind, sure in his quest and willing to ride against opposition to achieve his goal.
The Knight's horse is adorned with motifs associated with the element of Air, from butterflies to birds. A flock of birds also circles overhead in a chaotic swirl — indicating the energy and movement of the wind.
How to Interpret the Knight of Swords
As with all of the court cards (Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings), the Knight of Swords may sometimes represent an actual person when it appears in your tarot spreads.
The Knight of Swords is bold, assertive, confident and above all, driven to succeed in his goal.
In cases where the Knight of Swords card isn't referencing an actual person, it represents pure focus, drive and ambition.
The card is a mixed message with both positive and negative implications.
The card is a mixed message with both positive and negative implications:
On one hand, the card references the raw, unbridled confidence and bravery required for victory and success.
On the other hand, the card carries a subtle warning that too much confidence and action just might send you off in the wrong direction.
When the Knight of Swords appears in a reading, it's an invitation to assess one's confidence with a course of action. If an action is well considered, then the Knight of Swords is a green light of sorts to pursue victory with conviction, focus and drive.
At the same time, the card reminds us to make sure our actions are indeed carefully considered before taking the plunge.
Remember: Fools rush in.
The Knight of Swords Inverted
The reversed Knight of Swords is an indication that action is being blocked somehow. There are times where we know with the full conviction of our hearts that a decision or a path of action is right — and really should be taken.
... for one reason or another we resist our inner voice and our natural impulse is thwarted.
But for one reason or another we resist our inner voice and our natural impulse is thwarted. What should have been decisive action results only in stillness; We freeze.
Or worse yet, there are times when we may even allow our natural choices to be overridden by the thoughts of others. We may know in our hearts what to do, but after hearing opposing viewpoints, we second-guess ourselves.
In other circumstances, we may receive valuable advice from trustworthy friends, mentors or family members. But we override that advice for a smorgasbord of personal reasons: Maybe we just don't want to feel like we're taking someone else's advice. Or maybe we suffer a moment of distrust.
For whatever reason, we ignore our trusted sources, and we act indecisively, follow the wrong course of action — or freeze-up and do nothing.
When the inverted Knight of Swords shows up in a reading it's typically an indication that something is blocking an assertive action somewhere. Someone is either frozen like a deer in the headlights, or even working against themselves to make a self-defeating decision.
Common Symbols Found On the Knight of Swords Card
Tarot cards often use a a symbolic language to illustrate information about the cards. The Knight of Swords includes at least three common, repeating Tarot symbols. Each of these common symbols can add additional layers of interpretation to the card.
The symbols which appear on the Knight of Swords card are:
Butterflies symbolism appears on the Knight of Swords card:
Butterflies in the language of Tarot, symbolize a powerful transformation to a higher state of being. In the same way that butterflies in nature start their lives as humble caterpillars, and are transformed later in life as beautiful butterflies emerging from cocoons, the symbolism of butterflies in Tarot points to the power of rebirth and the human capacity for spiritual change.
Birds symbolism appears on the Knight of Swords card:
Birds on Tarot cards generally fall into two distinct groups: Birds that are identifiable (like eagles, falcons, etc.) and flocks of small, unidentifiable birds which are shown flying far away in the distance. All the court cards in the Suit of Swords fall into the latter category. These small birds are a reminder that the Suit of Swords is bound to the classical element of Air. Although each of the identifiable birds, has its own unique interpretation, birds in general all represent freedom — both a psychological freedom, and freedom from physical restrictions.
Trees symbolism appears on the Knight of Swords card:
In broad strokes, trees accentuate a connection to nature and the natural world. Trees are some of the most common symbols in the well-known Rider-Waite tarot imagery. The exact meaning of any tree depends on the specific Tarot card on which it appears.
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