The Tarot Kings

Before delving into the King of Cups, King of Wands, King of Pentacles, and King of Swords: check out my previous posts in this Tarot court card series on the Tarot Pages, which includes general guidance on the entire Tarot court and sets the stage for this 4-part masterclass. You can also explore the Tarot Knights and the Tarot Queens.

We continue onwards with the Tarot Kings, the “dads” of the court family.

Now we move from the open, receptive, and reflective nature of the Queens back into the more active energy of the Kings. These confident guys are like the Tarot Knights but imbued with greater knowledge, wisdom, and discipline. The Kings have overcome the challenges of the Knights and they act from a place of confidence, self-assurance, and personal conviction.

But the Kings are not overpowering or dictatorial men — at least not when their energies are properly balanced. Sure, the King of Swords can become a bit confrontational at times, but generally speaking he’s someone who gives sound advice and who follows through on his word.

Sure, the King of Wands might act impulsively or be too loud, but generally speaking he’s a wonderful friend and someone who can refine and implement a raw idea to its completion.

Let’s look at each King individually.


King of Cups


Suit: Cups (emotions, relationships)
Element: Water
Gender: Male
Family Role: Father/Masculine Energy/Yang

Tarot King of Cups

Out of the four Kings, the King of Cups is the most in touch with his own emotions. He checks in with himself every day, performing an emotional inventory and addressing any feelings or situations that need to be resolved.

If we look at the Kings as the final cards in each suit (which they are), we can associate them with a sense of completion. The King of Cups, for example, has mastered the energies, interests, and qualities of the suit of Cups. This means he’s aware of his emotions, he can express them articulately, he knows when to open up his heart and when to protect it, and he’s a master of human relationships.

He can set clear boundaries when he needs to. He can ask for what he needs. He can flow with the current of life, or redirect it any way he wants.

As you can see on this card, the King of Cups has built a solid foundation for himself. This is what keeps him stable during periods of emotional intensity or turmoil. He goes back again and again to his foundation, which consists of the practices and tools that keep him grounded and at peace regardless of external circumstances.

Specific questions to work with the energy of the King of Cups:

  • What foundation have I built within myself for those times when life is emotionally challenging?
  • How am I checking in with my own emotions throughout the day?
  • Do I feel I can trust and follow my own intuition?
  • What can I do to feel more stable and grounded every day, regardless of what’s going on around me?


King of Swords


Suit: Swords (intellect, the mind, thought processes & patterns)
Element: Air
Gender: Male
Family Role: Father/Masculine Energy/Yang

Tarot King of Swords

The King of Swords is the most “confrontational” of the Kings, since he looks at us directly (none of the other Kings do). Whereas the Queen of Swords beckons to you indirectly — you can only see her side profile on her card — the King directly asks you to confront or finally deal with some important aspect in your life. Something you’ve been putting off or delaying.

Maybe this King is challenging you to open those bills that have been piling up. Maybe he’s challenging you to walk into work next week and finally share your ideas. Maybe he’s challenging you to leave a soul-killing career and pursue your true calling.

Since Swords are the suit related to the mind and thought patterns, this King also challenges you — most of all — to consider the thoughts you’re thinking throughout the day and putting out into the world.

“What kind of vibration are you emitting?” This King asks you directly. “Is it aligned with what you say you want? If not, what adjustment do you need to make?”

As far as the King of Swords is concerned, there’s no time to waste. You must begin to shift or remove all the things that no longer serve you. You must let the old go. You must cut down anything that isn’t aligned with you. There’s no more time to, let’s say, dilly dally.

Specific questions to work with the energy of the King of Swords:

  • Are my choices/behavior aligned with what I say I want?
  • Which thought patterns do I need to examine or release?
  • Where am I not being true to myself in my life?
  • How can I challenge myself to act with more integrity and authenticity this week?


King of  Wands


Suit: Wands (creativity, spark of life, energy)
Element: Fire
Gender: Male
Family Role: Father/Masculine Energy/Yang

Tarot King of Wands

Just like the other members of his family (the Page, the Knight, and the Queen), the King of Wands is adventurous and a bit of a risk-taker. But this King is also the most confident and self-assured of the Wands family. He can even be a little arrogant sometimes. But, in a way, that’s ok — the lesson with the King of Wands is to “fake it till you make it.”

This King challenges you to move forward and take action even when you’re not 100% confident in your skills or knowledge. There comes a point where you don’t need to do any more research, or go over a pro/con list again, or get a third opinion. You need to use your own inner wisdom and jump into action. This King encourages you to do that.

He also reminds you that your ideas are valuable and worthy. Your unique perspective matters. Next time you feel an idea bubbling up during a work meeting, speak up. Next time you’re at home and an idea or insight comes to you, share it. The King of Wands asks you to become more of a leader and less of a follower in your life.

Specific questions to work with the energy of the King of Wands:

  • Where do I lack confidence in my life?
  • How can I increase my confidence and feelings of worthiness?
  • Where have I allowed my fear of “not knowing enough” to hold me back?
  • What action can I take this week to move forward in achieving my goals?


King of Pentacles


Suit: Pentacles (the material world, finances, career)
Element: Earth
Gender: Male
Family Role: Father/Masculine Energy/Yang

Tarot King of Pentacles

And, finally, the King of Pentacles. He’s the most solid and practical of the Tarot Kings; the female side of the down-to-earth Queen of Pentacles. This King is a financial genius and a savvy investor. He’s figured out precisely how to work with the energy of money in a balanced, healthy, empowering way. This is because he understands that money is energy and that it represents freedom and autonomy.

The King is also a generous father, friend, and mentor. He shares his abundant wealth and offers sound guidance to anyone who asks for it. He enjoys making money and also spending it on travel, gifts, and fine food. This quality reminds you that you must sometimes invest in yourself, because you’re worth it. Thinking of taking a workshop or class, or upgrading your business in some way, or spending money to make your life better and more aligned? The King of Pentacles says, “yes — YOU must be your own most precious investment.”

The most crucial lesson this King teaches us is to believe in our own abundance and to open up to it. Invest in yourself wisely, plan for your financial future, and always stay receptive to the Universe’s infinite abundance for you. Above all, find a way to release a mentality of poverty or lack and make yourself feel abundant wherever you are right now.

Specific questions to work with the energy of the King of Pentacles:

  • What are my money beliefs right now? Do they help or hinder me?
  • Would it benefit me to reach out to a financial advisor or mentor?
  • Am I wisely investing in myself when needed?
  • What can I do to become more abundant and share that abundance with others?

Happy shuffling!

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*Illustrations from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, known also as the Rider Tarot and the Waite Tarot, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. 1971 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. The Rider-Waite Tarot deck is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

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