Knights generally have a lot of ᚱ (Raidho) because they tend to be in motion. They are cards of ᛇ (Eiwaz) protection, rather than ᛉ (Algiz) protection, in that they are going out looking for the problem, rather than building the wall to keep the problem out.
I will discuss the Knights in order of how fast they appear to be going in the Waite-Smith picture.
Knight of Pentacles
The Knight of Pentacles is stopped. It is a time of I (Isa). He is on his horse, which is not moving, and contemplating the pentacle in his hands. In the background, his fields have been plowed and he is taking a well-deserved rest from ᛃ (Jera).
When it represents a person, ᚠ (Fehu, wealth) is always on his mind. He is willing to put in the ᛃ (Jera) hard work, but the money, the result, is what he thinks about.
When it represents a situation, I think of this card as a quiet ᚹ (Wunjo, joy), and a lack of ᚾ (Naudhiz, hunger/thirst/cold). This is different from the ᛃ Rune: Jera talks about the time of the harvest, when you get to reap your rewards. This is the time after all the planting is done, when all you can do has been done. It is time for rest, ᛁ (Isa).
In some decks, the interpretation of the Knight of Pentacles is a little different: thinking about how to spend that money. In one of the few cards of the Sexual Tarot that I will include in this family-friendly blog (seen above) the Knight of Pentacles is giving a gift to the lady on foot. This ᚷ (Gebo) energy is a possible interpretation of the Waite-Smith deck as well.
Knight of Cups
The Knight of Cups is walking or perhaps marching his horse. Cups tends to be a gentle suit, and its Knight is no exception. He does not look like he’s riding into battle, but into a parade. In his hands, he carries a cup as if to a ceremony. When I look at the way he is riding his horse, I think of the difference between ᛚ (Laguz) and (Raidho): Raidho is motion you control, like a car on a road. Laguz is motion beyond your control, like a boat being pulled by a river’s current. He is letting his horse carry him along like a river.
When it represents a person, the Knight of Cups is a bit of a daydreamer, the kind of guy I associate with ᛈ (Perthro). When your horse is moving, you’re supposed to look where you’re going. The Knight of Cups, on the other hand, is looking at his cup, just like the Knight of Pentacles was looking at his Pentacle.
When it represents a situation, the Knight of Cups is a card of ceremony, pomp, and circumstance. There is plenty of ᚹ (Wunjo), but no ᛃ (Jera): nothing is accomplished.
Knight of Wands
The Knight of Wands rides a rearing horse with apparent ease. In the Waite-Smith deck, he wears a plumed helmet and a sun-colored surcoat. The surcoat is covered in salamanders, and the plume of his helmet resembles a flame. In the Western Mystery Tradition, salamanders are associated with fire. In the Darkwood Tarot, above, he looks like he has just intentionally started a forest fire and is looking at the reader with a challenge on his face. This is clearly a card of the destructive power of ᚲ (Kenaz).
When it represents a person, it is someone who has perpetual ᚱ (Raidho) in their blood. The Knight of Wands is impulsive and always on the go. They are always looking for the next ᛞ (Dagaz), because the last one is boring now.
When it represents a situation, the Knight of Wands is a quest. Many quests are straight from the gods, giving this card a feel of ᚨ or ᛇ (Ansuz or Eiwaz), which are two different ways to connect to the gods.
Knight of Swords
The Knight of Swords is the second-most ᚱ (Raidho) card in the deck, after The Chariot in the Major Arcana. The Knight of Swords is just landing from having leapt over a river or something. He is in hot pursuit of his goal. His cape, the plume of his helmet, and his horse’s mane all trail behind him as he soars through the air.
When this card represents a person, that person is a go-getter. They love to do active things, like roller derby and sword-fighting. This is the kind of person you keep around because you legitimately don’t know what they are going to do next, but you know it’s going to be a good time.
When this card represents a situation, that situation is action-packed and will require quick wits, sharp reflexes, and probably a good throwing arm. Have fun with that!