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Knight of Swords Meaning – Smith-Waite Centennial

The Knight of Swords appears as our tarot card of the day, and they're in the reversed position. We've been seeing a few reversed cards lately, which means a chance to consider our impact on others.

Knights stand for courage, moving forward, and hard work. Meanwhile, Swords are the suit of logic and the mind. So today's card asks you if you're being receptive enough with other people's thoughts and ideas. Let's take a closer look at the Knight of Swords before we unpack its meaning in today's free reading.

Knight of Swords tarot card reversed meaning with Smith-Waite Centennial deck on dark background. You'll find a detailed image description of the card in the body text of this article.

The Knight of Swords card in the Smith-Waite Centennial deck

In my favourite version of the iconic Rider-Waite-Smith tarot cards, the Smith-Waite Centennial deck, we see the Knight of Swords charging on a majestic white sword. Like all the tarot Knights, this figure is both mounted and ornately armoured. A streaming cloak and helmet plume of red underscore this figure's courtly elevation. The horse is likewise decked out in elaborate barding.

Readers might be interested in comparing this extremely active Knight with the gentler Knight of Cups, with whom we began our daily tarot blog. While the Knight of Cups moves forward with a steady, thoughtful pace, the Knight of Swords surges backward with their mouth open as if shouting and their sword held aloft. These differences are fitting. Cups are the tarot suit of feelings and introspection, while Swords are the suit of decision-making and ideals. And while Swords can be slow and calculating, too (as we saw with the Two of Swords), today's Knight represents the decisive aspect of the suit.

A chaotic yet bright sky emphasizes the intensity and potential of the Knight of Swords' agenda. Jagged white clouds streak across a field of lively blue. Behind the Knight, a few lanky trees jut out from sandy hills. They bend dramatically in the wind, reminding us that Swords are associated, in the tarot, with the element of Air.

The trees also show us that the Knight is riding against the wind, suggesting bold courage with one's own convictions—as well as a willingness to go against the flow. In this respect, the Knight of Swords has some commonalities with The Hanged Man. While the Knight surges forward to champion their beliefs, The Hanged Man endures vicious punishment for refusing to abandon their ideals.

Are you open to bold ideas?

The reversed appearance of today's tarot card suggests the presence of a Knight of Swords figure in your life and a degree of disharmony between the two of you. Are you open to other people's passionate ideals? 

If so, how can you aid them in their quest? The Knight of Swords reminds you that it isn't always enough to agree with somebody. If folks are out there fighting for ideals you believe in, how can you support them? Look for ways to use your own voice to amplify leaders or protestors whose work you believe in.

Does ideological intensity put you off?

If, on the other hand, you find yourself resisting the Knights of Swords in this world, today's card invites you to explore why that is. Of course, we all have our own convictions. And invariably, these beliefs come into conflict with others. If you're clashing with passionate idealogues because they conflict with your own beliefs, then today's card invites you to explore opportunities for collaboration or middle ground. If there simply isn't any space for compromise, then remember that you don't have to accept everyone else's agenda. But at the same time, it's worth thinking deeply about why an opponent has taken up their sword.

You might find, instead, that it isn't so much rational disagreement that's putting you in opposition to a Knight of Swords figure in your life. For many of us, intense arguments and extreme sincerity about beliefs can be offputting—even scary. The Knight of Swords represents people who aren't afraid to ruffle feathers, and many of us just don't tend to get along with people who rock the boat. If that sounds like you, today's card is an invitation to try to set your discomfort or outrage aside and look instead at the actual message this person is backing. You don't have to be okay with the tactics or communication styles they're using. But the Knight of Swords reversed reminds you not to lose track of their actual argument. If you consider the message alone, without all the conflict or discomfort you're feeling, are you actually against it? Think about this today.


Today's card went in several different directions, and that happens sometimes on our Card of the Day blog. That's because everyone's different, so everyone relates differently with each tarot card. Daily collective readings are a lot of fun, but they only scratch the surface. The real magic of tarot is how you relate to the cards as a unique person. If you'd like to explore a one-on-one reading and get a deeper message from the cards, why not book a Witch Hazel Tarot reading