Exploring the Minor Arcana: The Kings

In this series we'll be diving into the world of the Minor Arcana. Each segment will group the cards by number where we can engage in their themes and differences. For all the posts in the installment, click here.


I think I’ve been dragging my feet with this final post on the court cards because I don’t want to be done with my card meaning dictionary! But it’s a new year and the time has come to tackle The Kings once and for all, so let’s get to it.

The Kings are a fascinating group of cards and deal with questions of authority, expertise, and leadership. Like the Queens they are fully in control of their suit and element, having learned to master it after years of study, dedication, and real-life practice.

Yet while the Queens deal with a flexible and personal relationship to their suit, the Kings take their connection outwards, using their expertise in the social world.

Perhaps because of this they can tend towards being inflexible, though at their best they’re even-keeled, confident, and determined,

Let's take a closer look at how this stance is reflected in each suit:

Explore In-Depth Minor Arcana Meanings

The King of Wands is a passionate and noticeable leader. This is the kind of personality that loves to be in the vanguard, pioneering new ideas, sometimes without considering the feelings of others. Motivated by the thrill of doing, achievement, and success, this King values change, innovation, and creativity.

The King of Swords, in contrast, is a much more intellectual leader. They prefer to deal with concepts and principles over actions and value deliberation, knowledge, and planning. Sometimes abstract to a fault, the King of Swords can be thought of as a researcher whose intelligence is undeniable and inspires others.

The King of Cups has the fascinating ability to use healthy detachment to understand even the most complex emotional situations. Concerned with relationships and interpersonal dynamics, this card is deeply feeling, perceptive, and intuitive. A wonderful judge of character, this card speaks to bigger life questions and can inspire with his personal charm and equanimity.

And finally, the King of Pentacles is a jolly yet formidable leader. It’s not hard to see that this king has no problem cultivating abundance. Just look at those grapes twining throughout his card! A figure whose command of resources, money, and riches is unparalleled, the King of Pentacles also knows how to have a good time and values celebrating and using wealth for enjoyment, not just for himself but others as well.

Click on each card for the full meaning and share your take on the Kings below. How does their leadership and power show up in your life and your readings?