The King of Swords

Acting on your best behavior/ Turn your back on Mother Nature/ Everybody wants to rule the world. The King of Swords weirds me out. I’m scared of some cards, wary of others, and on rocky terms with a bunch more, but this is different. Part of it is that the only way I know how to describe the King of Swords is in relation to other cards. She’s like a crossover ep of The Emperor and the Knight of Swords. The Emperor: a great leader, but young and foolish and privileged and has to be reminded that what’s best for the greatest number of people is not actually what’s best for the world. The Knight of Swords: charging towards what they want, swinging their sword precisely to remove anything in their way, not paying attention to what they’re cutting. Neither are cruel on purpose, but their carelessness and self-centeredness makes purpose not matter much. The King of Swords is more aware of the danger their leadership can pose to others. They’re mature, calculated in their moves and motions. But maturity isn’t the same as morality, and if the King of Swords has shitty values they can be incredibly dangerous.


So you can stick your little pins/ In that voodoo doll/ I’m very sorry, baby, doesn't look like me at all/ I’m standing by the window/ Where the light is strong/ They don't let a woman kill you/ Not in the Tower of Song. I wouldn’t have called myself a visual person before I started writing these, but it turns out I have visuals for a ton of the cards, and that those visuals are very bright. The only way I can think to describe it is that they’re like visual flashbacks, except they have nothing in common with visual flashbacks. I will work on this.

I picture the King of Swords, who is unpictureable, above a never-ending block of hedges. Bird’s eye view— they can see everything. They have a giant sword, and they can see the cuts to make. They are going to create a world, and they are going to do it with destruction. They kinda have to; you don’t need a sword to clear spaces in hedges, but you do have to re/move things that were once there. Unlike the Knight and The Emperor, the King knows exactly who and what is below them, and he knows that he’s going to have to cut someone when he makes his maze. She knows that everything is a choice, and she is going to make them.


There’s a limit to your love. This is not a hammer/nail situation. The King may only have a sword, but they know that there are others out there with other tools. Clearly, there are benefits to alliances, both to balance out the King of Swords’s potential for violence and to help others take decisive action. But even when the King of Swords exists in direct relation to other cards, it has boundaries. It can always be pulled on its own. The King of Swords is asking us to separate out these capabilities in ourselves and look at them on their own terms. Where are they warning us, and where are they encouraging us? Where have we been unwilling to acknowledge them, and where have we focused too heavily on them?


Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Tears For Fears

Tower of Song, Leonard Cohen

Limit To Your Love, James Blake


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