The Knight of Swords

I am a master hunter/ I cured my skin/ Now nothing gets in/ Nothing, not as hard as it tries. The Knight of Swords wants something. Not a warm want, but the kind of desire that feels cold. A desire that necessitates you blocking something out. Maybe you’re blocking out a part of yourself, or something else that you want, or the ethics that would stop you from getting what you want. The Knight climbs up on her horse and goes full speed at her target, sword slashing anything and everything out of her way. She carries the same warning as many Swords cards— make sure you’re not cutting other people accidentally, make sure whatever you’re doing is worth it— but this card is focused more on the all-encompassing nature of the wanting. I know I’ve talked about Knights as having a stubborn teenage energy, but another teen vibe Knights have is self-centeredness. Teenagers’ self-focus is obnoxious, but it’s also developmentally appropriate. It’s the Knight of Swords’ job to figure out why she’s hyperfocused on what she wants, or at the very least acknowledge and work with that focus. 


Don’t ever fucking question that. Knights are loners, or maybe they’re isolated. Whatever the reason, they don’t fuck with a sense of community. Sometimes I like to think about the Knight of Swords being dropped into some sort of larger collective, maybe by one of those pincers from Rollercoaster Tycoon. I can understand how people might learn to interact with the Knight’s way of doing things, but I’m trying to imagine how the Knight could adapt and stay himself. Is there room to grow and change, or is the Knight an identity that you lose once you start to deviate? 


Everybody’s playing the game/ But nobody’s rules are the same/ Nobody’s on nobody’s side. One time, an academic used his research funds to pay me to code all 186 ACT UP NY oral histories for a paper on racial disparity in early HIV/AIDS treatment. I coded them and we had a billion meetings and I even wrote part of the paper itself and then he just kinda trailed off and forgot about the whole thing. I didn’t, though, and it’s had a gigantic impact on how I think about organizing and community and also tarot, which I was learning around the same time. One of the theories of the splintering of ACT UP is that it fell apart because the members with the most structural power stopped using their access to create change because they were no longer in immediate personal crisis. When I think of the Knight of Swords, I think of these men.


I want to be a woman of regimen. It has just occurred to me that there are sixteen court cards and sixteen Myers-Briggs types (yup, we’re going there). Unsurprisingly, I am not the only person to have had this idea. Surprisingly, everything else I read has the Knight of Swords as an extrovert. I’m really curious about this. I would say that the Knight of Swords is an INTJ— cold, calculated, a loner, and extremely effective. I wonder if there’s some sort of inherent disconnect in Knights. Maybe they like to be around people but don’t quite know how, maybe they hate being around people but often must.


Master Hunter, Laura Marling

Don’t Ever Fucking Question That, Atmosphere

Diving Woman, Japanese Breakfast

Nobody’s Side, from Chess 


Hahahaha this is the last Swords card wtf??? Less than a month left so I’m not going to advertise subscription anymore, but get in touch any time for a tarot reading, tarot tutoring, or if have any questions, and you can tip me at @james0ctober on Venmo and Cash App and at jamiebeckenstein at gmail dot com on PayPal. Be safe, watch TV. <3