When I see this card in a spread, I know something has happened to cause the seeker worry to the point of despair. Classically, this card represents pressing angst that keeps you up at night. It can indicate dreams caused by stress.
Swords are all about thinking, pondering, and analyzing. This card can indicate an immense amount of time being taken analyzing problems and worrying about impending doom bringing the seeker to a very depressed state. It is also likely that these problems and worry about them has been going on for a good amount of time. The seeker may feel powerless to improve this situation.
The surrounding cards always tell the story. When the seeker is surrounded by Cups, this card indicates worry over love, relationships, and emotional ties—Wands can indicate problems at work or creative block, and Pentacles, money. Paired with a reversed Star card, this could be serious long-lasting depression that requires the help of a professional.
Always a relief, the 9 of Swords reversed means that troubled waters have passed. There has been a recovery and the seeker can move forward confidently. It’s a sigh of relief a long time coming.
Knights are about action. And what kind of action depends upon their suit. Knights are also court cards that can represent a person in the life of the seeker, if not the seeker himself. The Knight of Swords represents a young man or a man who acts young or, even though mentally strong, a bit naive because of lack of experience, and holds the energy of air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius). He can also be an even younger man with mental know and abilities beyond his years.
Straight up the Knight of Swords doesn’t have “defeat” in his vocabulary. This card represents action rather than sitting around a round table (sewing circle) and talking the situation to death. It comes from a mental view (as swords are about cerebral energy). This Knight can indicate a surgical procedure when the surroundings cards are right, courage, bravery, and conflict whether inner or environmental. It also represents a man who demands respect through his energy. A young leader. This card, as a personality in the seekers life, can encourage or inspire the seeker to act on his or her own beliefs and have the courage to stand up for what they believe.
While right-side-up this man may demand respect with his energy, up-side-down he craves it and demands it verbally, though he may not be looked upon with the respect that is needed for his wishes. He doesn’t follow through with his word, changes his mind, can be or be seen as fickle. He can also give off the impression of being someone who stirs up trouble. He’s pushy and doesn’t look out for others best interests. And, unlike the Five of Swords, it’s obvious. The seeker usually knows who this card represents in their life when his characteristics are explained. He is a thorn in their side somehow that is depicted by surrounding cards. His judgment is off because he’s letting the emotions of drama get in the way of objective decision. A pushy know-it-all that would be best avoided.