The King of Swords represents mastery over ones own thoughts. This person is powerful both mentally and psychologically, and has the ability to stand on the strength of his beliefs. He is cautious, highly observant and decisive. This is an articulate King with a commanding presence.
All of the Kings in the Rider-Waite deck are positioned in a way that calls to mind The Emperor, but the Kings represent one aspect of the larger persona represented by the major arcana. The King of Swords is the ruler of the intellectual realm.
The King of Swords wears a purple cloak, a rare color in the RW deck, suggesting association with others that contain it as well. Purple is seen in only three of the major arcana: The Lovers, Justice and The World. This demonstrates a connection between the King of Swords and the airy energies of Gemini and Libra, both concerned with harmony, communication and social equity. The association with The World suggests the energies of Saturn, which can be both enlightening and restrictive.
In a reading, the appearance of the Sword King can refer to a person in authority, or in some cases, to the need to bring in an expert. It may also suggest a situation where logic is called for over emotion. This is the card of a brilliant mind.
Unrealized Potential: If ill-dignified, this King can be cold and harsh, or even cruel. Keen intellect is used to dominate others. This is a vindictive state of mind bent on revenge.
If the King of Swords appears with numerous other Swords, conflict is likely.