The Eight of Swords

The Eight of Swords comes after the choices and changes of the seven in the suit of Swords. All of the eights in the Minor Arcana foretell of having one’s dedication and capacity for impartial judgement examined. There is restriction all around him and he is bound by commitments and his own anxieties. There may also be an issue with health as the woman shown is bound, blindfolded, and surrounded by eight swords that seem to cage her in. There is nothing that the individual depicted in the card can do to free herself, and it seems that she is comfortable to stay put as she doesn’t seem to be struggling for escape like in the Seven of Swords. The eights show making up for uncertainty and bad or right choices from the preceding situation with the sevens. The Eight of Swords will then show the querent in a complete and utter state of submission where there is nothing to do but wait for the vultures to come and pick him clean. There is also a call to come to terms with one’s mortality and find the divine again for themselves.

When more than one eight appears in a tarot spread, there is extra information available to the querent. Pairs of eights show that timing is everything and that it is important to focus on details regarding their situation and how they arrived at this conclusion while three of them imply IQ testing or, in this circumstance, a test of one’s inner strength as well as their faith in their creator. Having four eights in a spread indicates taking a very serious look at the road the querent has travelled and what one has done well and what one has failed at so far. The Eight of Swords may show That the querent is now taking stock of the situation in order to learn from it.

The Eight of Swords in an Upright Position

The upright position of the Eight of Swords shows the inability to see things clearly. There is confusion, disillusionment, and a feeling of being overwhelmed by all of the trouble that has come the querent’s way. There may be health problems that the querent is dealing with that remind him that he can only do so much before having to relinquish his problems to his God, and in doing so, he may find the peace of mind he has been searching for since the very beginning of this tumultuous journey. There is disruption and disappointment here as well, and the querent has found himself to be stuck in his own emotional prison where he is trapped or limited by his unresolved issues. The querent may also see this as a card that denotes spending some time in jail for crimes he has committed or for his inability to drop detrimental addictions that can cause people to do things that land them in prison. The querent may find that he has put himself in a cage of swords. Either way, the querent will find that an Eight of Swords is showing him that he must surrender himself to the process of conflict in order to resolve the dispute he has been battling over for so long.

The meaning of all Minor Arcana cards can be modified by the cards that surround it. Court cards from the Minor Arcana (Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings) all represent people. They have corresponding physical characteristics as well as their own astrological correspondences. The Eight of Swords shows how the querent will need to submit to the forces at work or have the courage to take action to save herself. The court cards around her are symbolic of the people who have left an impression the querent with their words and actions throughout the entire ordeal. Major Arcana cards can help reinforce the meaning. The Hierophant heralds that the querent has abandoned their beliefs along the way, and the Devil shows where  the querent has used to trickery to deceive people into believing that there was anxiety when, in fact, they were merely guilty and trying to hide this from outsiders.

The Eight of Swords in a Reversed Position

The reversed position of each card of the Minor Arcana is really as it states: an inversion of the card’s meaning. The inverse Eight of Swords signifies a cowardly individual in the querent that is simply unwilling to save themselves out of fear of the unknown. There are powerful indications that this person is afraid to succeed because failure is such a familiar aspect of life to handle, and there is a different kind of energy at play with success that could be an uncomfortable thing for the querent to handle. The querent may be imagining the strife she is facing and the isolation she experiences could be her own doing rather than the doing of others. The querent is challenged to put themselves into action despite their feelings of inadequacy and the damage caused by betrayal and rejection when the Eight of Swords is encountered in its reversed position. Otherwise, she will remain where she stands, alone and destitute.

The querent is asked to use her other sense to tell her what she needs in order to free herself from her bondage. She may hear and see things in a distorted way, so it’s almost a necessity to block those senses in order for the querent to ultimately come to their senses in one matter or another. Perhaps the querent is so used to the concept of pain and disappointment that anything else seems to be a figment of her imagination when the truth is quite to the contrary. The querent needs to face reality and admit defeat while opting to tiptoe out in between the swords and free herself fro the bondage of negative attitudes she wears quite comfortably.

Key Terms

  • Bondage
  • Inability to save oneself
  • Health problems
  • Feeling trapped
  • A distorted sense of reality
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