King of Swords Meaning: Upright and Reversed

The King of Swords is the last and culminating card in the suit of Swords. He represents the element of air, but hot and rushing air. He is the Lord of ratio, top-tier intellectual capabilities, reasoning, (fair) judgment, lucidity, logic, justice, truthfulness, and mental activity.

The King of Swords is the general of his armies and the one who rules with the iron fist in the velvet glove. This king should have an entire chapter of his own, so let’s dive in and see what his appearance might mean in your tarot reading.

Upright and Reversed Keywords

Upright Keywords

  • Ethics
  • Head over heart
  • Integrity
  • Self-discipline
  • Military (matters)
  • Cool demeanor
  • Legal matters
  • General (Army), father, intellectual husband
  • Dry intellect, sharp wits
  • Ratio
  • Authority
  • Air magic

Reversed Keywords

  • Brutality (police brutality)
  • Perfidy
  • Cruelty
  • Sarcasm
  • Senility
  • Ironical demeanor
  • Lack of integrity/discipline
  • Controlling
  • Lack of structure
  • Absent father/husband
  • Mental violence
  • Oppression
  • Verbal abuse

The King of Swords

The King of Swords

Also known as the King of Sylphs, he dwells in a castle made entirely of air, and his court is adorned with Air spirits. The King of Swords is connected with Odin, Mercury, Odyssey, and the constellation of Gemini. His nature is a mixture of Martian and Saturnian qualities, and he is the God of War.

The King of Swords is the king of intellectual prowess, strategic powers, and military supremacy. He is the general and is always (at least) 10 steps ahead of everyone else.

The King of Swords is an excellent swordsman, but as the age of swords has long passed, and we are in the era of technological warfare, he is someone whose wit and powers are unparalleled when it comes to technology, writing, and inventing. He is the far-seeing one and the one who can transmute visions from the future in the now.

The King of Wands is connected to the imagery of David, who just cut off Goliath’s head, and Alexander the Great, who wields the sword in one hand and holds the entire globe in the other.

His occult title is the Lord of Winds and Storms, especially cyclones and hurricanes. The King of Swords works his spells through verbal magic and spoken incantations; that is his forte.

The King of Swords is a good connection to all Aerial Spirits and higher dimensions. He is the protector of wizards, court Astrologers, and storm witches. The King of Swords leads the masses; he is the undisputed leader who knows how to turn the tides of war, or any conflict, in his favor. He is well represented by Mars in Libra in conjunction with Pluto.

Symbolism and Imagery of the King of Swords

The King of Swords is seated on a stone throne with butterflies imagery, clothed in neutral robes, apart from his golden crown and red robe. He is facing the reader, with his eyes set upon whoever is watching him.

A double-edged sword is in his right hand, the tip facing the heavens above, as for the butterflies on his stone throne and two birds in the background – they symbolize transformation and intellectual beauty.

His throne is made of stone, for that is the representation of his will and mindset; despite being of the Air quality, the King of Swords can be unapologetic, harsh, and hard to convince otherwise. The double-edged sword, as well as the grey clouds in the background, are the symbol for the element of air and sharpness of both mind and tongue.

His yellow crown is another representation of Air and East direction. He is the governor of thought and thinking processes. The red tunic below the crown and grey cloak symbolizes his quick judgment and willingness to use his sword, not just wield it. That is the hot temperament in his Air quality.

His grey cloak and sky-blue matching robe are symbols of his ageless wisdom and eons of experience. His feet on the sporadically green ground represent that despite being “up in the clouds,” he’s still very grounded and wise in his observations and decisions.

Small trees in the background give perspective to the king’s actual size – he’s larger than life, that is, the expansive quality of air, although humans can’t see it.

Upright King of Swords Meaning

Upright King of Swords Meaning

King of Swords appearing upright in a reading can symbolize a person in your life who, in a way, has a higher ground compared to you or symbolizes someone who is an authority to you. If it represents you, then it depicts your stature and holding in your community. The King of Swords foretells intellectual victory and justice served when in an upright position.

With King of Swords, a brittle, just, and courageous masculine energy is present, whether in you or in someone close to you depends on the question and accompanying cards. Upright King of Swords indicates that sylphs and intellectual cosmic forces are on your side, and now is the right time to act in legal matters or offensive strategies.

With King of Swords, travel and promotion are at hand, especially if the travel is by air, and the position is very high, if not at the top, of the business ladder. A long and arduous path is behind you, and all the hard work and patience you’ve invested in it will now pay off. That is the general message of the King of Swords in an upright position.

Upright King of Swords Love Meaning

When the KoS appears upright in a love reading, he indicates that you are in love with someone who values intellectual capacities and bonds over emotional ones. He is someone with whom you have telepathy and great communication, someone who has a dry sense of humor and excellent sarcasm at their disposal.

If it’s in the future position, this card indicates that you will meet someone of great intellectual prowess and of high morals. Perhaps someone who is in the justice system, perhaps, or someone who holds a high professional position due to their sheer mental prowess.

It can also depict someone who is physically tall, slender, and has very sharp and unusual eyes (grey or electric blue, for example).

Conversely, this card indicates fatherhood or being with a father of your future child. It shows a person who will connect with their child on an intellectual level and someone who will raise their child by high intellectual standards. If accompanied by fertile cards that indicate childbirth, it foretells of a child who will be a genius and rise to high positions in life.

Upright King of Swords Career Meaning

When KoS appears upright in a career meaning it means great news! Especially if you’ve been aiming for a promotion or a higher position. KoS is also an indication that you will receive more than you hoped for; your position/promotion might be much higher and powerful.

The King of Swords also represents a mentor who will guide you on your career path and rise up to the very top. This is someone who is wise and experienced beyond their years, someone who has the upper hand and support of the sylphs on their side.

Listen to the advice and guidance of this person freely, and without doubts, they’ve come to take you to the stars.

Conversely, KoS can indicate an aerial relocation due to your job. You might receive that promotion and get relocated to a new place, a place where air transit is quite often.

The KoS can also mean that your strategic approach and visualization have worked – you are (finally) going to do the job you’ve been chasing after all this time. Both luck and wits are on your side; congratulations!

Upright King of Swords Spiritual Meaning

Upright King of Swords Spiritual Meaning

When KoS appears upright in spiritual reading, it implies that you’re “good” with the Universe and/or your main deity/deities. It implies that you are receiving divine guidance and that you may even be channeling mental images and messages that you’ve been receiving. This is a very good omen if you’re working or planning on working with the element of air.

KoS can also indicate that you are aligned with your intuition that comes to you via mental channels and that listening to your inner voice has led you on the right path for you.

What’s more, KoS is a good indication that the time for you to write a book has come. He is urging you to youse your high knowledge and sharp wit to leave something “solid” behind that can be a light at the end of the tunnel for others on the Path.

KoS is urging you to meditate and visualize more. Establish a regular practice that includes daily Pranayama (breath work) and meditations in order to open and expand your 3rd Eye and Crown chakras.

Conversely, KoS indicates massive spiritual rewards coming your way for being so diligent and consistent in your spiritual practices. He can also represent a shaman who can be your spiritual guide on the upcoming pathworking.

Reversed King of Swords Meaning

When reversed, King of Swords represents a person who is above you either in status or authority, and that person is perfidy, cruel and violent towards you. Conversely, if you are the King of Swords, you are being warned to change your brutal ways and to stop treating others like lesser beings than yourself, no matter how incompetent or below your level they appear to be.

When this card is reversed, it can also indicate a “fall from grace” or demotion from the current position due to gossip and a bad reputation. If supported by other cards in a spread, this card can also mean that someone is actively working against you, and there’s someone who doesn’t wish you well.

If depicting a parent, this reversed king indicates too much discipline and harshness towards a child. It also indicates mental problems, senility, old or chronic wound pain, and back problems (especially with the spine).

Reversed King of Swords Love Meaning

Reversed King of Swords Love Meaning

When KoS shows reversed in a love reading, it’s bad news. It represents a bully who uses verbal and intellectual manipulation to frighten and subdue their partner.

It’s not a pleasant card to show up in a love reading by any means. If accompanied by extremely disruptive cards such as Tower, Moon, and Death, it can indicate a domestic physical attack with a sharp object during a heated argument.

If it symbolizes you in a love reading, it means that you need to lay off, relearn kindness and empathy in your relationships and practice respect for others, especially those who spend the most time with you and suffer your sharp remarks and unkind behavior.

Unlike King of Wands reversed, this king is a calculated tyrant who executes his brutality in a premeditated manner in order to achieve his desired outcome.

If it shows up in a future position, this card is a warning to stay away from a person who will show up in your life as a love interest.

It’s giving you the heads up for the red flags and warning signs that you’ll be able to see a mile off – emotionally cold, switching between detached and interested (in you), mentally manipulating, and verbally jarring. You’ve been warned, keep your eyes open and ears muffled.

Reversed King of Swords Career Meaning

When KoS appears reversed in a career reading, it means bad news. In the mild version – you didn’t get the promotion you were hoping for. In the less mild version – your boss/supervisor has it in for you, and he is standing in your way to the promotion.

It can also indicate that a powerful (smart) colleague has something against you and is spreading rumors about you that are hurting your reputation and professional advancement.

If KoS reversed symbolizes you, then that means that you will be toppled from your position due to a foul demeanor towards your subordinates. The KoS reversed foretells of your fall from the position you currently hold, and your sharp wits can save you from this.

Conversely, it can mean that you are in danger of losing your position due to some hidden enemies and misinformation that has been spread about you for the purpose of harming you.

Reversed KoS indicates a lack of discipline and planning. So, if you’re in it for the long run and you’ve been unable to make progress, it’s time to examine your approach and routines; some changes and adjustments must be made before you advance in order to reach your goal.

Reversed King of Swords Spiritual Meaning

When KoS shows reversed in a reading, it’s cautioning you that you’re lazy and reckless in your spiritual or magical practices. You’re ignoring the proper protocol and procedures in order to achieve fast/quick results, and that may come to bite you on the ass.

He can also indicate a “spiritual” person who is not at all spiritual, at least not for the right reasons, and you’re in danger of either being swindled or misled. Watch out for life coaches and gurus who sell themselves as if they’ve drunk from Mimir’s well and haven’t sacrificed (invested) anything for the knowledge they’re trying to sell (to you).

Conversely, KoS reversed can imply that you’re on a totally wrong (spiritual) path for you and that you need to rethink your choices and reexamine your work thus far.

There’s something very obvious you’re not seeing or choosing not to see, and it’s harming your spiritual practice. KoS is urging you to wake up and look the truth in the eyes as he is looking at you from his card.


The King of Swords is the culmination of the suit of Swords, and this article was meant to guide you in interpreting your readings. If you still have some questions or something’s unclear, please check out the FAQ section.

Question: is the King of Swords a Good or an ill Omen?

Answer: if KoS appears upright – he is most definitely a good omen. If he appears reversed, he foretells ill events and heartbreak.

Question: what does King of Swords Indicate in a Future Position?

Answer: if he shows up upright, then he is a good omen of promotions, relocations, air travel, and highly intellectual love. If he shows up reversed, then he indicates fall from grace, toppling of the old regime, civil unrest, and waring times (in every sense).

Question: what does King of Swords Mean in a Past Position?

Answer: if he’s upright, he symbolizes a rise to power, good planning, thought-out processes, and a highly intellectual lover. If he shows up reversed, he’s indicating that the bad times and mistakes are behind you; if accompanied by positive cards, he indicates that the worst is over.


King of Swords is a formidable card; he is someone who reminds us to be disciplined, just, and sharp. He is the final card in the suit of Swords, and thus he is the great closure to the element of air in the Minor Arcana.

If you want to work with him in magical rites, make sure to pay him his dues and show respect towards him at all times – he’s earned it and very well deserves it.

He is a great benefactor of all intellectual mages and witches, and he deals with precisely-cut facts and intellectual aspects of magic. He can teach one a lot as long as one stays humble and open for all kinds of intellectual insights and expansion.

Open your 3rd Eye and broaden your mind.

Farewell, and blessed be, until next time!

Much obliged.

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