Symbology, Meaning and Interpretation
Mental Clarity, Discipline, Integrity.
In general, the King of Swords is a symbol of self-discipline and methodology.
He is a character who uses logic and intellect, revealing great integrity and diplomacy in his decisions.
The scars on his face denote an experienced ruler who had learned many lessons that strengthened his spirit and vision. For that reason, he became a fair-minded ruler with clear vision, who takes his responsibilities very seriously.
In his hands, the sword and the skull represent the contrasts in human essence. While the sword pointing upwards is a symbol of his authority as an intellectual wise man; the skull is a common symbol of vanity and ardent desires that we made sure he holds firmly, taking control of those impulses.
These two elements are curiously related to the two elements that rule the card: the sword is the Air, the mental plan and the skull is the Fire, the passion and dedication. Both are active in their essence. That idea unveils an interesting connection and balance between thinking with clarity, studying the possibilities and acting accordingly, all for the best outcome. The discipline that the King imposes is well represented by that philosophy and it clearly affirms his experience as a trustful sovereign.
On the other hand, the King of Swords is too rational, stepping away from his emotional side. This perfectionistic attitude may reveal some traces of tyranny in order to get things well organised and to make sure laws are enforced. Some interpretations suggest that he does not work that well outside the routine and within environments poorly structured, where he does not control everything.
Oppressive, Lack of Structure, Unethical.
The negative attributes of the King of Swords are intensified in the reversed position. We may see an authoritarian person who is cruel sometimes, demanding the enforcement of law at all costs. His obsession with discipline and control reveals someone who is trying to keep his own structure oppressing the others. This abusive ruler, contrary to the upright King, is generally irrational and uses his mental skills in an unethical and manipulative way.
It is common to see this King exhibiting his intelligence with big words and eloquence only to argue about ordinary and dull things. On the surface he may look responsible and candid, but he is far from being organised or having good intentions.
It could also depict someone who, in fact, is intelligent and likes to show off with frivolous vanity. In reality, it may indicate someone selfish, a lousy boss or a corrupt politician who exploits his staff, entourage or crew disrespectfully.