The Thoth-KNIGHT OF SWORDS:
(King of Swords in Ryder-Waite and Golden Dawn decks)
Knight of Swords is the fiery part of Air and rules from 21 degrees
Taurus to 20 degrees Gemini and is the personification of the activating
Force behind the World of Astral images and ideas. The Knight is
attributed to subtle actions and craftiness, as the element- Air refers
to the conscious mind.
The Thoth Deck Card shows the Knight
on a charger (symbolizes the dynamic energy of Taurus) with swords
extended which represents the violent cutting power of this Force.
Knight of Swords: Mastery of Passionate Thinking and Intentionality.
By now many of us know that the Court Cards represent personality Archetypes.
In the book: TAROT-Dictionary and Compendium, Jana Riley describes Archetypes ;
The original Archetype was a thought in the Mind of God-male and
female. The Supreme Mind became enamored with this thought and created
life in Its image by the friction of Its Word-or by the motion of Its
sound. This caused the Universe to divide into ordered strata, and
because creation is within the Mind of God, everything is a model or a copy of the original pattern, which is God.
court cards are pictures of 16 different personality
proven by Carl Jung, and later 8 more by Katherine Briggs and Isabel
Myers who devised the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ( MBTI) which is the
most accurate tool used by counseling centers around the world. Proving
once again the Ancient Wisdom of the Tarot.
The Knight of Swords
is seen to be flying over water. In alchemy, elemental air is
associated with the Mind and elemental Water is emotion/unconscious. This
combination of air and water represents passionate thinking.
Three swallows represent the union of mind and heart with all action proceeding in united direction. This serves to remind us that focus, will, and intention must be aligned to achieve any goal. Swallows are also the sacred bird of liberty and freedom and therefore reinforcing the "free mind" concept.[ Scholars think this bird as a freedom symbol is because the swallow lives in both house and field.]
The dagger in the left hand
the sword in the right hand, represent yin/yang, the Six pointed star and/or the feminine/masculine
forces of the One energy. Female is considered magnetic , as it is receptive and male is electric as it is expressive, both must be combined to create a balanced unity called life, which is formed electromagnetic force.
Four wings, are four directions, north, south, east and west; each represent four levels of conscious: mental, emotional, spiritual and physical.
The six pointed star
at the center of the wings, symbolizes illumined clarity and spiritual
guidance, as well as, the Divine Creative.
Golden armor represents powerful fluid thinking.
a personality archetype, the Knight of Swords represents a mature male with a
cutting edge consciousness at its ultimate phase of creative control and
will. Often involved in matters of justice, discipline, civic and
In Hindu Mythology,
The Knight of Swords is the personification of Yama the Bull God (God of Death-shown here as confronting Shiva who is defending his devotee.) who
gave up his Earth life to become King of the Underworld. A powerful
judge, a godlike authority, and an embodiment of discipline and order.
Because of the dual nature of Gemini
this personality can either absorb
his/her entire life in concentrated aspiration, or can go the entirely
opposite way and become incapable of decision or purpose becoming weak
in action. Again the surrounding cards will show which aspect of Gemini
is directing the Dynamic power of Taurus.
The Babylonian Tarot- King of Arrows-Ellil,
depicts the son of Anu and Ki, was the lord of wind and storm in ancient Babylon. Ellil means "lord wind", therefore the reference to the element Air, symbolizing the consciousness.
His Sumerian name was Enlil, and after 2500 B.C.E. he was effectively the national god of Sumer. His father, Anu was King of Heaven and Ellil was considered King of earth and/or "king of all lands", "raging storm", "great mountain", "wild bull", "father of the gods" (the newer generation of gods), "establisher of Kingship", and "king of heaven and earth". As one can see, his titles grew with time.
Ellil, had a promenade in heaven but usual habitat was the Great Mountain of the East. Therefore, he symbolized the Forces of Nature, and was considered the master of humanities fate; he ruled over disasters, prosperity, abundance and destiny.
Besides bestowing kingship on Sumerian rulers, Ellil, the keeper of the tablet of destiny, was considered a benevolent god. He watched over the welfare of all, and produce the most fruitful aspects of the universe: He brought forth the dawn, he created seeds, plants, trees and fruitful harvest. By creating the pick ax and the plough, Ellil was also considered the one who resided over the productivity of the land and made agriculture possible.
Going along with the Thoth Qabalistic description of this personality archetype, Ellil could also be aroused to anger and wrath when confronted with human wickedness. In fact, Ellil advocated that the gods unleash the great flood on mankind (the story of Atrahasis). Allkinds of unpleasant enforcement, decreed by the assemblies of gods, fell upon Ellil.
When this Sword or Arrow card is thrown, it indicates the fiery part of air, which states that the querent is:
- A passionate thinker and/or stubborn and defensive.
- A mature male who is in possession of a cutting- edge mind promotes creative control and will.
- Often involves matters of justice, discipline, civic and personal order. Or that the querent is involved with such a male.
- Esoterically this card represents the Will to Transcend:
- A highly analytical period for the querent, that is exacting, precise, brilliant and highly rational.
- Since both
the Knight of Swords and the King of Arrows represent fiery emotions and powerful thought,
there is potential for dangerous thought that is both inhumane and
perverse. The surrounding cards would show if this card is well or ill
- This card also represents the lecture, preacher, and teacher of sharp wit and indomitable will. A very strong mentalist card.
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