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Knight of Swords
by jmd

Card Meaning
Artistic Media
Artist's Bio


I was reflecting on the recent death of a friend - only in his thirties, and for whom the funeral was the next day - when I also happened to be working on the card. His Parzival-like innocence and impulsiveness also reminded me of that of a Knight errant - half way between the higher gifts of Perceval and Don Quixote.

Setting to work on the card, which I had already previously determined would have, if possible, a depiction of the Red Knight which Perceval becomes following his defeat of the same, proved easier than expected: an image of Parzival as Red Knight was found readily.

Following the Marseille tradition, the sword depicted also needed to be curved. Properly a scimitar, or else a sabre close in design to it. Again, the find was rather quickly made.

The Knight and the Sword both needed to become central to the overall image... achieved by allowing only each to remain in the final version.


Personally, I often associate Swords with the element of Fire. Many tend to prefer other elemental attributions, and each and every of the four elements has been linked to Swords by various authors or card designers. In this one, it remains Fire... the Fire of the Spirit. The Fire burning in one who has the impulse of the spiritual Quest - hence Perceval. The Knight has an inherent uprightness which makes his striving not only just, but also morally motivated by the highest ideals of chivalry. The upright sword shows the activity of the overall card, for even when at rest, the Knight is inwardly mobile, striving to serve.

Card Meaning

In readings, I often make use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (also commonly referred to by its acronym, MBTI). The Knight of Swords is, for me, the Extroverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceptive (ENFP) individual. In more detailed terms, it refers either to someone who tends to be, or needs to use, any of these individual qualities as they become tinted with the specific others in the set.

As Extrovert, to go outwards and, as Perceptive, to look - rather than make decisions - at what the possibilities (iNtuitive) are in the situation at hand, being mindful of how others and oneself emotionally respond (Feeling) to the possible developments.

Artistic Media

Having been inspired by two recently released decks which have used an electronic collage technique, I thought I would make an attempt along the same lines. Things flowed well and easily for both this card and the Queen which followed the next day. I must have spent only two hours compiling the image, having previously determined what to look for: images on the .net from renditions of Perceval/Parzival, a scimitar, and whatever else happened on the way. My first attempt included too many details and, as I reduced these using Apple's AppleWorks 6 Painting and Drawing programmes, the image soon took its final shape.

Artist's Bio

Jmd has been exposed to the Tarot since birth, but only began serious investigation of this and other esoteric arts and sciences since his early twenties. Since 1982, he has also held various ritualistic positions in a number of esoteric orders located in Melbourne, Australia. In addition to previously teaching philosophy at University, he has also taught Tarot, Astrology, and Kabbalah courses at various other adult educational institutions. Jmd now teaches in a Steiner (Waldorf) high school and teacher-training institute.

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