Friday, 30 March 2012

Celtic Tarot: King of Swords


The King of Swords from the Celtic Tarot (Courtney Davis, Aquarian 1990) is probably my favourite depiction of this court character. He is unlike any court card in the deck, and the best King of Swords I've seen in any deck so far. Obviously the first thing that strikes is the penetrating gaze of his huge blue eyes. They beam right out of the card straight into you. There is no doubt at all that he is looking right at you, that he sees you, that he understands what you are about, and that he is already at least three steps ahead of you. 


His chin is down slightly toward his chest, eyes raised. It is a steady gaze, with the slightest hint of a squint from beneath the eyes. He's studying you. Yet his brow is smooth and eyebrows relaxed. He is not afraid of you, and even curious about what behaviour you may display next. His hair,with its straight parting, accompanied by the beard, raises the inevitable comparison to the Shroud of Turin/Jesus image. There is a solemnity, a dignity, a purity and an authority associated with this image that is inescapable here. The purple mantle denotes his regal status and his authority. He holds his sword easily and familiarly. It is like an extension of himself; he is one with it, as he is one with his own mind and his own being. 


The King of Swords is a passionate man, but he is a man in control of himself. He believes:









1. A man's principles must be unassailable. 
2. There are causes worth sacrificing everything for. 
3. It is honorable to trust, but the wise will never be surprised at  betrayal. 
4. A man's word is priceless, but talk is cheap; therefore, keep your eyes open and your mouth shut, until the time comes to say what must be said. 
5. Life is brutal, and brief, and the world is mostly a very bleak place. But there are moments of beauty, love, grace and even hope, and those are worth the price of enduring all the rest. 


The King of Swords is keenly intelligent. He shows great insight into the minds and motivations of others. He is a fierce defender of his friends, allies, loved ones, but he would put ALL of them on the line for his principles. He is a cold and impartial judge, even in matters that cut him personally to his heart's core. He will never stint, he will unflinchingly do what is right in his own mind. 


Aragorn, Lord of the Ring
I like to associate my court cards with characters from film, music, books, TV, etc. I believe Aragorn of Lord of the Rings is a great example of the King of Swords type. He has all these stoic qualities of steely strength, quiet watchfulness, deep passions and unyielding honour. 


Other King of Swords characters:


Attticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

Spock, Star Trek

Can you think of any other King of Swords characters? How about this guy:

Ennis Delmar, Brokeback Mountain

Is Ennis Delmar a King of Swords? Why or why not?? 

3 comments:

  1. I like your description on the King of Swords, Carla. It's quite thorough. It also eerily mirrors the picture of Aragorn you have here.

    I have also compared celebrities to the courts. For the King of Swords, Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation has often come to mind. His role in the series is the head of the body (crew), one that weighs all the opinions of "his court" and makes a final decision from them. While Data can also be a candidate, he's not human. :)

    About Ennis, it's been a while since I've seen Brokeback Mountain, so can't really say if he's a King of Swords. :)

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  2. Yes, when I was staring at the Celtic King of Swords this morning, I realised there was photograph of Vigo Mortensson as Aragorn posed just like that--it had to be included!

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  3. that really is an intense stare in that card there :0

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