Visconti-Sforza Tarot (Pierpont-Morgan Bergamo 1451): King of Swords
Swords were typically depicted with curved blades in ancient tarot decks to distinguish them from staves. They correspond to the playing card suit of Spades, (in Italian, spada means sword). This suit represents the element Air, and the social classes of Nobility and Military. Swords are considered a Masculine suit. Swords typically represent intellect, reason, mental clarity, and the sciences. They may also represent conflicts surrounding the questioner.
The Kings typically concern men: fathers, brothers, or male friends. They may represent maturity, social, political and economic power, strength and intellect, and kind-hearted fatherly benevolence.
Clear thinking. Intellectual power. Authority. Truth.
The King of Swords is often used to depict a mature man with sound intellectual understanding and reasoning. This card depicts a man who is strong-hearted, decisive, and intellectually oriented. This card can also depict a man who is ruthless or excessively judgmental; the questioner is therefore advised to balance intellectual orientation with a bit of emotional understanding.
Reversed Meaning: Manipulative. Tyrannical. Abusive.
This card can be a warning not to become overly emotional in a situation that requires rational judgement. It can also function as a warning against an apparently calm and rational individual who may become manipulative, or tyrannical when provoked.