The Tarot of Eli, LLC: The Rider-Waite-Smith- King of Swords & The Thoth Tarot- Knight of Swords

western hermetic qabalah, tantric, astrological, alchemical, and numerical Tarot Card Comparisons.

· Rider-Waite-Tarot

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rider-waite-smith-King of swords

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The Rider-Waite-Smith King sticks to a more prosaic depiction of the King of Swords. The Waite medieval King is larger than his surroundings, implying a great mind. The fiery air aspect of this king is shown in the red outer robe that covers the sky blue inner garment of Air. The Purple cloak indicates his authority to rule. The moths on the crown of the Throne, may indicate his rule over the sylphs of the Air. However there is no real indication of his active force presented in this card, as he is both stoic and passive. Nevertheless, he is holding his sword in a defensive pose, which may imply his defensive and stubborn behavioral tenancies.

To reiterate, Chokmah, the 2nd Sephiroth- Wisdom, is the beginning state of conscious energy that is masculine in action. Chokmah is the "idea of male" and it's mate, Binah, the 3rd Sephiroth-Understanding, is the "idea of Female". These are simplified concepts of Father-Mother God, whom are not separate and together form the Divine Creative.

Chokmah being the 2nd Sephira, called-Wisdom, is also the Force behind the four 2's and the four Knights or Kings .

The 2's symbolize the Forces of the King, who are Knights of the Thoth Tarot, and the 3's the four Queens uniting and initializing the Forces. The Knight-Kings are the Fathers of and initiators of Material Forces.

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Thoth-Knight of Swords


Is comparable to the Kings of the Rider-Waite-Smith, B.O.T.A. and Golden Dawn decks.

The Knight of Swords Is also known in Qaballah as Lord of Winds and Breezes, king of the Elemental Spirits of the Air.; the Sylphs and Sylphides. This is a very Strong masculine mental force whose zodiacal attributes are the last Decan of Taurus and the first two Decans of Gemini.

In the King of Swords we have Specific Fire in Primal Air that is the personification of a Force behind the World of Astral Images and ideas. This Power is violent, aggressive, and a cutting edged force that is much like a overheated wind. He is storm and violent emotion applied to an apparently manageable mind.

The symbols of this Mad Movement, is depicted in the art of the Knight of Swords, as his maddened steed is charging down from the heavens, with Tempest about, and armed with both sword and poniard, he is the very personification of the idea of attack. The Bull like power of Taurus is represented in his steed and the Twins of Gemini are shown in his armament The crest on his Helm is a revolving wing, showing violent motion in air, much like a helicopter beats the air into submission. Each wing is also assigned a compass direction, implying the ability to go in any direction quickly. He is also accompanied by 3 swallows, which are the sacred bird of the Goddess. 3 symbolizes the 3rd Sephiroth-Binah in her Maid, Mother and Crone applications.

Hence, we have the reasoning behind Crowley calling his Kings, Knights. For they are violent, aggressive Battle Kings, who as Knights in bright armor, go forth to conquer. The medieval king sitting on a throne, is too passive to really depict the clever, powerful, battle king. With this, I agree with Crowley.

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Therefore, such root personality, as the Tarot-birth significator of the Archetypal Knight of Swords, would be that of a person who is clever, skillful, active and subtle. Being that s/he is fierce, delicate, and courageous, much like a Dragon Fly, does not keep him or her from being prey to ideas which come as inspiration without consideration. Personalities are not sexes of a species, so they can be masculine at the root persona while one is of a female body sex and vise verse. For personalities are "energy in motion" which can be expressive or passive. When passive, emotional energy is being receptive and therefore, classified as feminine in action. While expressive/aggressive, emotional energy is classified as masculine in action.

However we choose to dignify this Knight, he is the "Extended Flame of mind" as Zoroaster calls it. The Knight or King of Swords represents the True Will To Force, as Chokmah is exploding the Mind outward. The Taurian influence, makes it steadfast and the first Decanate of Gemini makes it inspirational. Thus an Idea tends to absorb the entire life of the individual in the blinding light of concentrated aspiration. It behooves us to note the danger to this state of mind, for the first Decan is also known as "shortened force" and that shortened force is symbolized by the poniard held in the left hand of the Knight. Shortened force often comes off as defensive and stubborn behavior.


The querent is or may be experiencing:

  • The Will to transcend.
  • An analytical period, where the power of idea and motion come into play.
  • Letting go of old beliefs and attitudes that no longer serve the motion of the individual..
  •  Tough- minded common sense that is usually based on preconception and prejudice.
  • The arrogance of a powerful mind turned on itself in its own desire for control.
  • Tendency to judge harshly but with scrupulous fairness.
  • A lawyer, senator or doctor.
  • Mastery of creativity and confusion, as he sees new points of view, while brainstorming new thoughts that vent the mind.
  • Intellectual, and mental prowess whose only emotion is to control.
  • A strong personality of fiery emotion and powerful thought. both stubborn and  defensive. 

If ill dignified by surrounding cards (Thoth) or reversed (Rider-Waite-Smith) it implies:

  • All of this changes when this card is ill dignified. If such occurs, he is incapable of decisions or purpose, and any action he takes is so weakened by his mental indecision that it is easily brushed aside by opposition proving that inadequate violent action is merely futile effort at best.

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