Fire acting on Air (A.L. Samul)
In the book Wisdom in the Cards (inspired by the Hudes Tarot Deck / U.S. Game Systems, Inc.), A.L. Samul tells us that in the Hudes deck (as in many others), the suit of Swords is associated with the intellect, the rational mind, and with violent conflict. It symbolizes the element Air. Samul comments that Air is like the powers of the mind in that it is "light and disperses, traveling through the tiniest of holes and cracks."
Swords (again according to Samul but consistent with my view of the suit across a wide range of decks) are "an agent of separation. . . good at slicing. . . can help us compartmentalize things. . . make decisions. . . prioritize things." They "bring the energy of discriminatory judgment, logical, rational thought and the ability to cut through confusion and analyze a situation."
The ability to separate can also create divisiveness where it is not desirable or constructive. Swords are also connected to emotions such as rage and anger, which can lead to violence and fighting.
According to John Michael Greer (The New Encyclopedia of the Occult / Llewellyn Publications), Fire is positive, hot and dry B its nature is energy; Air is positive, hot and moist B its nature is separation. Note that both elements are considered "positive" and "hot."Fire and Air are considered to be strengthening, interactive, and/or synergetic.
In the Knight of Swords in my Tarot system, the element Air dominates, with Fire as an influence (Samul describes this as "Fire acting on Air."). Even in its role as the lesser element, Fire can still inspire and lift my thoughts to greater heights. It also warms Air, preventing a slight chill from turning deadly. The danger here is that Air, being stronger, might put out the Fire.
What we hope for in the Knight of Swords is a balance between thought and action. Samul gives the example of learning to ride a bicycle. You can watch others do it and contemplate how to do it, but if you really want to learn, you must get on the bike and try for yourself.
The Knight of Swords invites me to examine how I express or repress his traits and characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, in my own life or how I interact or communicate with another person who demonstrates these traits.