April 15, 2021
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Butterflies, seaguls, and hooded falcons abound in Waite’s Knight of Sword, but the Gemini nature of this card is not directly indicated in any of these symbols.  Two Golden Dawn symbols from Book T are used by Waite in this card; the driving clouds in the sky and the hexagram decorating the helmet, which is the designated crest for the Knight of Swords.  The horse, however, should be brown, but Waite again uses gray.   (Hulse, The Western Mysteries, p. 456)

The Knight brandishes his Sword high in the air as he charges, learning forward over the saddle of his gray, wild-eyed horse.  The Knight wears a feathered plume and a red cape.  The horse’s mane is jagged like the clouds above; the reins are decorated with the same birds that wheel in the sky.  Birds, clouds and trees are blown about by a fierce wind. (Amy M. Wall, The Tarot of Awakening, p. 286)

Both Knights and the Suit of Wands are associated with the intellect and the element or air.  This card is assigned to the path between Keter, symbolizing will or desire, and Chesed, which is mercy and compassion.  The card’s air symbols are the butterflies, feather, clouds and wind. (Amy M. Wall, The Tarot of Awakening, p. 286)

The Knight of Swords represents the unbridled power of the intellect.  The mind, like its Sword symbol, likes to engage in battle.  The Knight of Swords is frenetic and crazed, galloping as fast and hard as he can.  With his quick, honed mind always unsheathed and ready, this Knight charges at the world, heedless of who or what might be in his way.  The Knight of Swords represents sharpness of mind.  But this may be intellect employed as a destructive force, used as a weapon rather than as a tool for discernment. (Amy M. Wall, The Tarot of Awakening, p. 286)

While the intellect’s power is undeniable, we must remember that it isn’t an all-purpose tool.  A Sword may be good for cutting, but a Cup does a better job of holding emotion.  The card’s assignment to the path from Kether to Chesed suggests that the energy of this card – fast, sharp, destructive – must be softened by the energy of Chesed.  Remembering that swordplay should be tempered by mercy will provide the necessary correction. (Amy M. Wall, The Tarot of Awakening, p. 286-287)

When seen externally, this aspect is a quick, sarcastic and often funny colleague.  While laughing at the exhibition of verbal swordplay or admiring the keen, pointed criticism, we can lose sight of the inevitable consequences of warfare.  A Sword can hurt; the damage it inflicts on others or on ourselves is not easily undone. (Amy M. Wall, The Tarot of Awakening, p. 287)

The razor-sharp, fast intellect of the Knight of Swords can be of benefit on the Path of Knowledge, where illusions and misapprehension will fail quickly beneath his blade; but his tendency to cut and slice into others must be neutralized by the deliberate cultivation of compassion. (Amy M. Wall, The Tarot of Awakening, p. 287)


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