Mind / Thoughts / Communication
EIGHT OF SWORDS POWERWORDS
The Eight of Swords indicates a feeling of being stuck and overwhelmed. It feels like there is no escape from the currant situation.
Traditionally this card means fear, a sensation of being trapped, confusion and a desire to be rescued.
We see a woman tied and blindfolded surrounded by a semi circle of swords which are partially buried in the ground.
The woman is blindfold. She cannot see where she is or what is around her. Because the suit is Swords and represents the mind, we can understand this representing her perception of reality.
Tied and Bound
The woman is also tied/bound. She cannot untie herself. She looks trapped. But is she? The question one must always ask with the eight of swords is ‘How much of this situation is real’?
The eight swords surround the woman but there is space to escape. On her right are three swords (grief) and on her left are five swords (feeling defeated). She is not really stuck – she THINKS she is stuck. She can walk away, even if she is blindfolded. She is not really trapped. It is an illusion created by her mind because she is feeling stuck and so overwhelmed.
Water around the woman’s feet
Water lies in puddles around the woman’s feet. On one hand we can say she is standing on her intuitive powers (water) and she simply needs to tune in. On the other hand we could postulate that the water is stagnant, just as her own power and decision making is.
The ground is uneven. The woman’s foundation is uneven. She is probably anxious and fearful.
Castle in the background
The castle in the background lies high up on a cliff. It seems hard to reach. Sometimes the solutions that will pull us out of the mud are often hard to find and grab.
Sea in the background
We see the sea far in the background. The sea shows the ocean of possibilities if the woman ever manages to get free.
QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU EXPLORE THIS CARD MORE
The Eight of Swords is a difficult card to experience and like many Swords cards is not welcomed in a Tarot reading. However, pain and suffering are often part of life and to understand this card and its energy can help us break free from its chains.
I see this card often come up when women describe their situation, “I feel totally overwhelmed and stuck. I simply do not know what to do and I feel so alone in this situation. If I move forward I might suffer more and I am frightened of this. If I stay I feel it will get even worse. I don’t know what to do. I am so exhausted and overwhelmed and I cannot make a decision”. There is a neediness as they speak and they feel totally trapped. There may even be victim energy around them though sometimes its simply a reaction to a hard situation.
I see this card come up with battered women and those in hard domestic situations. I see it in women who work crazy hours and try to do everything else also. It shows up as bullying in the workplace, radical religious paths and any overwhelming stuck situation a woman finds herself in. This card can come up ANY TIME a woman has to make a really hard choice and the more she frets about it, the harder it is to move. She becomes stagnated in her own worry and fear and cannot make a choice and move forward. When women get this card I want them to finish the session with a clearer direction of what to do next.
My heart goes out to women when they pull this card, because from the outside the solution can often be very clear. However the woman herself must find the resources to pull out her inner power and make the choice her intuition tells her she must make. Our job as Tarot readers is to help her see what her intuition is trying to say.
Do I feel incredibly stuck with no way forward?
What would happen if I make the choice?
Have I got any idea where I can get extra help and resources to help me make a decision?
Am I stuck because of myself or because of external circumstances that I have no control over?
Am I so worried about the consequences of my decision that I simply cannot make it?
What is real and what is simply a perception that could be wrong?
Who can I talk to, so my mind feels clearer and I feel calmer?
Is there a helpline I can ring? Can I do it today?
GOLDEN DAWN / QABALA
The Hermetic title for this card is ‘Lord of Shortened Force’.
On the Tree of Life, the Number Eight cards sit on the Sphiroth Hod which represents Splendor. After the energy from the Divine enters Kether at the top of the Tree of Life, it next flows to Chokhmah. Chokhmah is the place of wisdom. The energy then flows onto Binah which is the energy of understanding. Then the energy leaves this upper triangle of energy (called the Supernal) and flows down to Chesed, the energy of Mercy. Then the energy flows to Gevurah which is a difficult Sphiroth representing severity and possibly suffering. Then the energy flows to Tiferet which is at the center of the Tree of Life. It represents balance and harmony. Next we move to Netzach which is victory and then onto Hod which is splendor. The energy of Hod is explained as an analogy – that instead of “conquering” an obstacle in one’s way, (which is the idea of Netzach), subduing oneself to that “obstacle” is related to the quality of Hod. So submission to ‘what is’ represents this card.
Ruled by Jupiter in Gemini
EIGHT OF SWORDS REVERSED
When this card is reversed the energy is stagnant or is trying to move itself because you will not.
Sometimes when we do not make a decision, the universe will do it for us. Nothing can stay stuck forever – energy must move and change. Waite, who created the Rider Waite deck claimed that the eight of swords card reversed could mean an accident or even death. I do not feel that this is always literally the case but I do see women who stay in unhappy stuck situations getting sick, and sometimes seriously sick. Energy is always better when it flows even if moving forward will be painful at first.
Two important questions to consider with a reversed Eight of Swords:
Do I have the courage to reach for help so I am not alone and start making choices that I KNOW I need to make?
Can I see that making no choice can be more destructive on myself and those surrounding me?