King of Swords

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Synthetic Meaning

            In his right hand he holds a sword with a flesh-colored blade, and in his left is a scepter of authority; he wears a hat with a white interior and a blue and red on the outside, with an actual crown for the crown of the hat; his head is turned to the right and he is in a semi-sitting posture. The King of Swords suggests preparation for lucid action carried out with the higher knowledge that comes from mental activity.

Analytic Meaning

            The parts of the King of Swords depicted in white indicate, on the one hand, his impersonality and, without specifying a particular action, reveal a state of consciousness of Being, fit for being adapted to the invitations implied by the calls towards evolution and, on the other hand, an impregnation of light in the intimate organization of the part of his conceptions realized by the universal [?] (the white interior of his hat), in his mental activity (his white hair), in the balance of his desires with their physical operations (his white belt) and in the direction of his actions (the white scepter).

Specific Analogies

            The King is turned towards the left, his head towards the right and sitting with one foot forward; that is to say, that he is passive and stable, but ready for action.

            The sword is flesh-colored, showing that the action of the King is being exercised with a lively dynamism and extends to humanity, that is to say, that he is dressed in altruism; he animates the things which are presented to him. The hilt guard, large and yellow, symbolizes the intelligence behind his activity.

            On the other hand, his sword is resting on his knee. The circle depicted there is relate to activity, just as the two circles on his other knee relate to passivity. These circles reinforce their reciprocating effects when they meet each other.

            His scepter of authority, white with black stripes, suggests mastery over his subconscious, just as he has over his superconscious [superconscient], because it is held in his left hand, and indicates by that fact that the king no longer has to worry about acting outside of his own will. The black stripes show that his own impersonality remains below the divine impersonality, which is absolute. Finally, its gold pommel is similar to the pommel of the sword.

            The hat, with a wavy shape, specifies that the mental constructs of the King put him in touch with cosmic infinity. The crown on the interior of his hat and partly hidden shows that, while partly manifesting itself, there are spontaneous exchanges between the cosmic elements and the subconscious acquisitions of the mind.

            The two different masks on his shoulders indicates his action on contrary planes, because they are contrasting in their expressions.

            The twelve twists on his belt refer to the twelve Major Arcana, marking the balance of these 12 principles between the animistic and the physical, as the points on the belt of the Queen of Swords. But since these later are points—that is, abstractions—they are associated with the intimate and deep role of the Major Arcana, while the twists are connected with the practical role of the King. The other points appearing on his garb are the fluid centers of condensation manifesting the action of the King on different planes, corresponding to the parts of of his clothing on which they are found, and in the reference implied by the number of points: the four placed under the mask which covers his right shoulder signify their role in the quaternary of elements, which is to say, in matter. The six points on his breastplate, on the left, show that which he must do to evolve through physical sacrifice or his animistic evolutionary role, and the eight on the right represent that which he must do to evolve through the rectitude of his judgement.

            The chair on which the King is seated is flesh colored with a yellow border, of which a part is striped with black lines, repeated on the ground under his feet, recalling the karmic shadows which contain a certain fatality as well as the resistances to overcome on the material plane.

            The black cracks traced at the bottom of the chair show the workings of the material world, based on past experience, as the chair is made of matter and providing support for the benefit of internal work. These cracks are composed of a spiral and some leaves, indicating by this that this work is manifested by geometric laws applied to the evolution of matter or nature, as the spiral is an extension of (nebulous) forces, and the leaves an expansion of vegetative life.

            Their black color indicates their hidden role and the karmic darkness which can ensue from it.

            The figure on the right shoulder, surrounded and framed in black lines, seems to smile; on the other side, the figure with lines has its mouth closed; these are the two faces of an issue, that on the left representing psychic activity; that on the right recalls, with its lines, the destiny which weighs on the King of Swords.

            All of his clothing, analogous to that of the personage of the Chariot, speaks to setting something in motion and to a psychic energy, reinforcing his mental activities and appropriate to the Sword.

Meanings As They Relate to the Three Planes

            MENTAL. Rich, complicated input, characterized by the importance of skill. His judgement is fair and profound. Influence in all domains. The ability to take stock, to give solutions for different things (action defined by the two masks on his shoulders).

            ANIMISTIC. Protection and solace.

            PHYSICAL. This card has rapport with the Major Arcana V, VI, and VIII. If some matter has been dormant, it is revived. State of questionable health, for the black flower on the chair indicates a danger coming from the past. The black lines of the chair, on the other hand, are the shadows of which the flower is the outcome and the part in the shape of a 9 is an element which detaches itself, a disintegration of this past. All together this indicates a certain fatalism in this card.

            INVERTED. The heaviness of this massive chair entails angers, profanities, low pleasures.

            In sum, in his Elementary Sense, the King of Swords represents the success of Man in every movement of his mental activities, whenever this is accompanied by reflection.

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