This week’s card to study is the Eight of Swords.
Esoteric Title: The Lord of Bondage
In the Eight of Swords from the Nigel Jackson Tarot, we see a young blindfolded woman down on her knees with her hands bound behind her back. A bunch of jagged pillars, popping up from the ground, completely surround her in a circular manner. Directly above her head are the eight swords; four swords on each side, crossing each other evenly.
Rider-Waite-Smith Eight of Swords for comparison:
The Eight of Swords card lies among the Minor Arcana, which represents day-to-day life and its ups and downs, challenges and opportunities.
Swords Suit –
The Swords suit is associated with the element Air which represents the intellect: thoughts, words, double-edged swords, conflict, strife, challenge, communication, idea, plans, and clarity.
Astrological Correspondences – Aquarius, Gemini, Libra (Air signs)
The Golden Dawn correspondences for the Four of Swords: Jupiter in Gemini.
The Sevens are a time to look within and the Eights are a time to reach outward and expand. They are about power and abundance. The Eight’s energy is strength (Major Arcana #8) and vision and seeing it through to the Nine. Keywords: Achievement, movement, authority, expanding, maturity, prosperity, mastery.
Limitations, feeling trapped, restrictions, complex problems, helplessness, fear of the unknown, lacking confidence, confusion, self-pity.
- Blindfold – You must rely on your intellect and other senses or self-limitation. On the flip side, it can prevent you from seeing and being influenced by distractions.
- Pillars – Act as bars in a prison and represent being imprisoned by her own thoughts.
The Eight of Swords represents feeling limited, trapped, or stuck leaving you unsure how to get out this situation or to release yourself from these feelings.
We can all feel trapped from time to time in so many ways and in so many scenarios. You may feel like you’re in a situation that you can’t change or get out of, and although you’re having a difficult time seeing it, you do have the ability to make steps towards breaking free.
These feelings can effect you even further making you feel insecure and the reason why you might be having a hard time seeing the way out, is you’re fear and anxiety is trapping you farther down the rabbit hole. These thoughts can turn even uglier and make you feel unsafe or even make you feel as if you’ve lost your identity. Although these initial feelings are due to real issues, situations, or circumstances, our mind has the potential to make it so much worse. Our worries, doubt, and stress can lead to illusionary thinking, again, restricting us even more causing confusion, clouded judgment, misperception, and even delusions.
The Eight of Swords message is that you do have the power to break free from these chains. Once you believe in yourself and that it is possible and your mind has cleared, you’ll be able to make that first step and then you’ll be surprised that is was easier that you thought. It may not be ‘easy’ per se but, it wasn’t as difficult or as awful as your mind was making it out to be and you’ll realize that your fear was holding you back.
Career: Your job may be a source of stress or you simply hate your job yet you’re too scared or nervous to make a change and you’re feeling stuck. You might be concerned about your finances, your schedule, your family and so on. But your fear is clouding your thinking and restricting you. The Eight of Swords suggests this may be the perfect time to make the change and that you can do it. This may involve a complete career change or even going back to school to learn a new skill and taking your career in a new direction.
If you’ve been looking for a job, you may be feeling like you’re never going to find/land one and you’re feeling trapped in a cycle of failure. The Eight of Swords message is this may be a good time to change strategy and tactics. You have the ability and the power to make this happen. Don’t let the past attempts limit you mentally. Believe in yourself and that you can do this!
Romance: If you are in an established relationship, the Eight of Swords suggests this is not a positive relationship and that you want out but you don’t know how to get out. This may be an abusive relationship, whether it’s physical or verbal, you’re feeling imprisoned or constrained by your partner. He may have completely control over you and you have lost all of your power, your independence, and possibly your identity. This card is telling you to get your power back and that you have the ability to do so. You may be scared and may even think it’s impossible, but it’s not; it is absolutely doable. You can leave him/her and feel safe again and feel like your old self again. Thank goodness in modern times, there are support groups to help you and your children (if have children) to get out safely and do it in a secure, strategic manor.
On a lighter side, you may not be with an abusive partner but still, they don’t allow you to be your true self or it’s unhealthy in some other way. Another possibility is that you’re feeling bogged down by bills, obligations, your job, your home, et cetera and maybe it’s affecting both of you or just you and you feel alone it the relationship. Again, you have the ability to change this path.
If you are looking for love, this is a good time to ask yourself if you have been limiting yourself by being too picky. Are you boxing yourself in an impossible corner by having requirements that are just too difficult for someone to meet. You may have met the greatest guy but because he didn’t drive a flashy car you didn’t give him a second thought. Or, you may have met the perfect woman but because she didn’t look like a supermodel you wouldn’t ask her for her number. Rethink what’s the most important to you in a partner and then make a list of flexible requirements and you may find, your options open up.
Questions to ask:
- How can I regain control and get my power back?
- Are you fully expressing yourself or is something holding you back?
- Where are feeling limited or stuck?
“There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.”
This is my interpretation of this card. It may differ from other Tarotists, and yours as well, and that’s okay. Please work to create your own card meanings; learning the Tarot is not about memorizing.
In addition, remember nuances of the interpretation may differ depending on the Querent’s question, the spread, the surrounding cards, and what your intuition may be telling you at the time.
The Tarot card use above is from The Nigel Jackson Tarot by Nigel Jackson 2000 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125. All rights reserved, used by permission.
Rider-Waite used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Rider-Waite is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems.