The Tarot of The Old Path-King of Swords, is comparable to the Thoth Tarot-Knight of Swords, both represent the ruler ship of the element of air. Crowley meant for his Kings to be active battle knights, as a king who goes to battle is a Knight, although a commander of all the knights. To show a king passively sitting on a throne, as in traditional tarot, does not convey the proper message of activity.
The Tarot of The Old Path-King, seems to shown sitting or standing, depending on the individual perspective. I see no throne, so I would guess he is standing. Either way, he is stern, and presents a strong figure of authority as his size suggests his power. He is dressed in the yellows of the element of air. His castellated crown suggests his authority. The fact that he stands for justice is represented by his huge double edged sword. His ermine edged cloak, represents his dignity and the cloaks strong chain and three leafed clasps, show his union with the Divine Feminine as Maid, Mother and Crone.
The fennel plant that is being blown in the wind behind the King, implies in the language of flowers, that he is praiseworthy, and has the necessary strength to gain results.
To reiterate, Chokmah is the beginning state of conscious energy that is masculine in action. Chokmah (wisdom) is the "idea of male" and its mate, Binah (understanding), is the "idea of Female". Now we have the concepts of Father-Mother God and/or the Divine Creative.
Chokmah being the 2nd Sephiroth, called---Wisdom, is also the Force behind the four twos and the four Knights/Kings.
The twos symbolize the Forces of the 4 Kings, who are Knights, and the four Queens uniting and initializing the Forces. The Knight/Kings are the Fathers of and initiators of Material Forces.
The Thoth- 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. Here 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 an 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.
Such a character, if personal, would be that of a person who is:(Archetype found on Tarot Birth Wheel-below)
- Clever, skillful, active and subtle. Being that he is fierce, delicate, and courageous, much like a Dragon Fly, does not keep him from being prey to his ideas which come as inspiration without consideration.
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. Often we find, that inadequate violent action is merely futile effort at best.
However we choose to dignify this Knight-King, he is the "Extended Flame of mind" as Zoroaster calls it. Here the True Will to Force, as Chokmah is exploding the Mind. 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. Therefore the Knight of Swords implies 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; shortened force often comes off as defensive and stubborn behavior.
Illustration of the Tarot Wheel of Birth, is courtesy of the Book-Qabalistic Tarot- By Robert Wang.
WHEN THE KNIGHT OF SWORDS IS THROWN DURING A READING:
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.
- The querent is a person of tough- minded common sense which is usually based on preconception and prejudicial determinations.
- The arrogance of a powerful mind turn on itself in its own desire for control.
- Tends 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.
If ill defined:
- Too much emphasis on mind.
- Emotional coldness.
- Biting and critical cynicism.
- Dazzling ambiguity.
- Fickle instability.
- The snare of thinking.
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