Prince of Swords: The Inaccessible, Rational Intellectual
The Prince of Swords (Knight in the Rider-Waite tradition) represents the personality that forms from the airiest part of Air; the Air of Air. He is the most abstract and principled person once can imagine. His personality is the expression of ultimate Air and Swords; he is the pinnacle of Abstraction, Principles, and Thought. He is the Philosopher and the Intellectual. He is aloof and detached from society, but not because he chooses to; he works on another plane, thinking above most others, and his ideas are so abstract that they have no practical basis. He lives in a rational fantasy, and has no clear purpose save to think. He is full of ideas, but most of them are impractical. He is inaccessible and not understood; he is the genius who lives by himself. Often brilliant, he is unable to effectively communicate his thoughts, and his genius may then be lost to the world. Einstein was in many ways a Prince of Swords; he thought in very abstract terms and was inaccessible to most, his mind functioning on a higher plane; the KANSAS song “Portrait (He Knew)” also reflects this card.
The Rider-Waite art shows a knight charging forward, and is much more reminiscent of the Thoth Knight than the Thoth Prince. The Thoth art, however, shows a very geometrical man in an awkward position, towering above the men pulling his chariot. The thoughts of men drive his chariot onward, and yet he functions in a realm above them, ruled by his own rationality and fantasy.
In a reading, the Prince of Swords asks you to examine the role that anyone in your life that has the Prince’s personality may play. Do you know anyone who seems to be extremely gifted, but often seems lost on another plane? Someone with great ideas but no ideas for how to apply them? Reversed, this personality is hidden or blocked; perhaps one’s ideas are not so practical as they look, or maybe this person’s ideas are not as useful as they look, and they truly are misunderstood.