King of Pentacles: The Provider / Miser

walk your soul’s path, offering your mastery to others

Kings exercise maturity and leadership in their element + Pentacles represent the material world and how we as spirits navigate it

from The Relative Tarot by Carrie Paris

The King of Pentacles has learned to truly walk the path of their soul’s work, and therefore able to help others. Their down-to-earth nature prefers a certain humanity and is responsive to others and their needs. There is a grounded wisdom to this king, and their material security may be financial, or it may be their trade or their family or something else far more meaningful to them than money or material possessions. Kind and pragmatic, they will mentor others in their field (“field” being a carefully chosen word, here; it may be literal!). Their grounded nature tends to be more practical and realistic, with an eye for what is necessary and the patience to see it through. Their persistence has paid off and they enjoy success and respect, though a conservative nature may guard it cautiously.

In personality typing, the King of Pentacles fits neatly into the ESFJ description, which seeks stable lives rich in contact with friends and family, and are happiest when serving others. Their supportive and sensitive nature makes others feel good about themselves. Dependable, they may see what needs to be done before others do, and see that it gets done. They do have a need for structure and organization, they enjoy being in control of their environment, and may need to be careful of controlling those who do not need or wish to be controlled. As providers, they not only indulge in good food and wine, but are generous in sharing it. They are genuinely kind and generous– the type who would give you the shirt off their back. Traditionalists, they respect the established system of rules and authority rather than wade into unchartered territory — which may cause them to blindly accept these lines without questioning (or even understanding) them.

(-) In resistance, they hold their resources close to home, gaining the reputation of the miser. Their avarice applies not only to money, but to their wealth of talent or other knowledge that they withhold.

(+) In excess, their conservative and stubborn need to control creates rigid structures and resists change. An overimportance on material wealth and possessions may show in an ostentatious display of luxury. They may exploit the labor or resources of others.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • Where are you fixed in controlling your environment?
  • Do you keep your resources tightly secured, unwilling to share?
  • Do you feel the need to display wealth in a fancy car or designer clothes? What insecurity is this masking?
  • Conversely, do you deny yourself things that could make your life easier?
  • Do you feel that you balance the material with the spiritual? How are you walking your path?
  • What would you like to be known for? How are you passing that on?

What else? Court cards are complex and multifaceted, including more than these labels, and you may have other insights. What historic or fictional characters does this king remind you of? What part of yourself is represented, here?

King of Swords: The Judge / Bigot

speak what must be spoken

Kings exercise maturity and leadership in their element + Swords represent the mental realm with its words and our sense of justice

from Leonardo Da Vinci Tarot (Lo Scarabeo)

King of the suit of logic and reason, they are concerned mostly with truth and knowledge, and the rules of society. Knowledgeable, philosophical, impartial, strategic, responsible, direct, and judicious, they use their position to speak truth, including truth to power. They offer good, clear advice more fairly than the Queen; although Swords lack the compassion seen in other suits, they are able to see the complexities of situations more abstractly and is more apt to compromise. (Note that in Smith-Waite the Queen sits confined by her throne on a block of immovable stone, whereas the King’s throne is more open, and rests on the softer earth.)

As the master of the Thinking court, they are the quintessential ESTJ, which are the honest rule-followers who value competence and efficiency with a clear sense of how things should be and enjoy creating order according to these standards and beliefs. Impersonal and straightforward, they view the world through reason rather than emotion with little tolerance for the dreamers and rebels of the world, and have no problem disciplining those who do not abide by the standards they uphold.

(-) In resistance, they lack the principle of fairness, becoming the bigot intolerant of differing beliefs and opinions, and inflexible in their reasoning. The truth they speak is skewed to suit their own bias.

(+) In excess, they are judgemental and unforgiving in their standards.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • Where are you inflexible in your beliefs? Where are your prejudices? Can you ever consider the other perspective, or do you remain rigid?
  • Do you judge others based on some criteria that you hold?
  • When do you feel judged?
  • Who establishes the rules in your life?
  • What is your relationship with authority and it’s rules?
  • Are there rules of order that you expect others to follow? Are you the only one who knows these rules?

What else? Court cards are complex and multifaceted, including more than these labels, and you may have other insights. What historic or fictional characters does this king remind you of? What part of yourself is represented, here?

King of Cups: The Teacher / Savior

hold space for others to support their growth

Kings exercise maturity and leadership in their element + Cups represent our emotional life and how we relate to others

from Shakespeare Tarot

Focused on understanding, supporting, and encouraging others’ growth, the King of Cups provides emotional support from a position of strength. The most sensitive of the kings, their watery nature allows them to be intuitive and gentle, though more discreet with their own feelings, appearing aloof and hiding their own vulnerability. They enjoy helping others and are excellent group leaders. Diplomatic, they maintain harmony and are most apt to act from a place of emotion than cold logic or authority, and may be viewed by the more masculine kings as impotent. Drawn more to spirituality, counseling, and the arts, they are more likely found in academia, faith circles, or private practice.

Leadership is not being in charge; it’s about taking care of the people in your charge. Simon Sinek

With water / Cups correlating to the NF personality types, this king is the ENFJ, whose understanding and love of people makes them fun to be with. They are likely to interact with others on their level, chameleon-like, and tend to define their life’s direction by other people’s needs, unaware of their own. Do not force them to deal with logic and facts without any connection to a human element. They have a strong need for close, intimate relationships, and put effort into creating and maintaining them. Those who have not found their place in the world may be extremely sensitive to criticism, may worry excessively, and feel guilty.

(-) In resistance, they are emotionally unavailable, detached; perhaps hiding behind the facade of a caring role. Disloyal, they violate our trust.

(+) In excess, they may be melancholy, maudlin, wearing their heart on their sleeve — or perhaps they’re wearing our heart on their sleeve, taking great pride in their humanitarian nature and of their role as savior.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • Are you always the one holding emotional space for others? Are you also tending your own emotional needs?
  • Does the Wounded Healer archetype hold special significance to you?
  • Is it difficult for you to tap into your own emotions?
  • Do you showcase your tendency to help others, proud to be their savior? Do you think it, privately? What part is served by that?

What else? Court cards are complex and multifaceted, including more than these labels, and you may have other insights. What historic or fictional characters does this king remind you of? What part of yourself is represented, here?

King of Wands: The Leader / Despot

take your vision out into the world

Kings exercise maturity and leadership in their element + Wands represent our identity and energy, and how we enact our inner flame

from Art History Tarot for Past Lives, by Red Orchid Press

The King of Wands is the master of taking our creative vision out into the world. It may be bold and it may never have been done before, but this king will show us how it’s done, for they are the trailblazer with the drive and the ego to do it; the entrepreneur who likes a good challenge and moves quickly on his intuition. Confident and successful, they’re the natural leader who gets results but may not always be a team player. They will not suffer fools, and grow impatient with those not quick enough for them. They are passionate in their endeavors as long as they are not restricted by demanding colleagues or partners.

In personality typing, each of the kings fits the E/J type of their suit’s Jungian function, and the King of Wands is textbook ENTJ, the idea people who tend to assume leadership roles but tend to be pushy when putting their ideas forward; the take-charge types who live in a world of challenges to be surmounted, but they need to be the ones surmounting them. Impersonal, their emotional lives are accidental and social lives incidental. As extraverts, they enjoy interactions and appreciate challenging conversation, but don’t like explaining themselves and their dynamic personalities and self-confidence may come off as cold, intimidating, forceful, and authoritative.

(-) In resistance, they lack the drive for competition or achievement, or deny their power, perhaps out of a fear of a lack of expertise.

(+) In excess, their domineering need to be in charge must not be questioned. They may be grandiose, arrogant, egocentric — even narcissistic. This is the baby king who needs to be the only one shining.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • What role of yours is always in charge? What internal part has this need?
  • Does having power or a leadership role frighten you? Why?
  • Do you fear that you do not have what it takes to enact your vision? What would it take for you to do so?

What else? Court cards are complex and multifaceted, including more than these labels, and you may have other insights. What historic or fictional characters does this king remind you of? What part of yourself is represented, here?