Eight of Swords At A Glance
Keywords: Feeling trapped, restrictions, powerless, harsh consequences, imprisonment, analysis paralysis, freedom, release, control, facing fears
Element: Air (thoughts, ideas and communication)
Eight of Swords Tarot Card Description
The Eight of Swords is the eighth card in the suit of Swords. It is a minor arcana card within tarot. The traditional imagery of the Eight of Swords shows 8 Swords protruding upright from the ground around a woman who is rope bound and blindfolded.
The swords are placed around her like the bars of a jail. However the swords are not actually preventing her escape. Visible to us there are several gaps between the swords large enough to allow the woman to escape through.
Due to her blindfold and the ropes binding her she has little to no visibility and severely restricted movement. This means she is unable to find her way out as she cannot see and maneuver her way around. the dangerously sharp swords. A stark background and gray sky show that she is out of ideas and either frozen in panic or about to give up and consign herself to her imprisonment.
Eight of Swords Upright Meaning
When we are faced with this card we are being asked to analyze our internal thought processes. We all carry self-limiting beliefs like “I’m not X enough,” “I cant do Y” “other people can Z, but not me.” These limiting beliefs are not true but somewhere along the way we have convinced ourselves they are. Much like the swords surrounding the woman in the art work our beliefs hold us back from even trying.
This means we tend to prove them right because not trying is the only guaranteed way to fail. The Eight of Swords asks us to identify what thoughts we carry around that limit us and it asks us to remove the blindfold.
We do this by listening out for them in our thoughts and actively trying to prove them wrong. “I’m not skilled enough” becomes “I’m going to research and learn the skills I need.” Other people can but I can’t” becomes “even experts were new at this once, if they can do it so can I.” At first it is difficult to question these thoughts but we start to spot them quickly and challenge them.
“The only thing limiting you is yourself.” - Ken Poirot
Eight of Swords Reversed Meaning
Usually reversed cards are the negatives of their upright counterparts. But that is not the case with the Eight of Swords. When upright the Eight of Swords can be quite a negative card but reversed it’s an incredibly positive and happy card to receive in a reading.
It suggests we have accepted a part of ourselves and therefore are able to accept and utilize our own power and responsibilities. We have dealt with the insecurities and self-limiting beliefs we used to hold and are more confident as we go about our daily life. Seeing the Eight of Swords reversed is the universe confirming that we are on the right track with improving our self-esteem.
“Courage is your natural setting. You do not need to become courageous, but rather peel back the layers of self-protective, limiting beliefs that keep you small.” - Vironika Tugaleva
Eight of Swords: Yes or No
When reversed this is a strong no card from the universe. It suggests we have a lot of mental and emotional homework to do before we can accept anymore opportunities.
If reversed then the Eight of Swords is a yes. However it comes with the caveat that we need to continue to work on ourselves whilst we go forth with the result of saying yes.
Let’s Break Down the Eight of Swords In Our Lives
The meanings of tarot cards differ slightly depending on what questions they are answering. Here’s how the Eight of Swords applies more specifically to isolated areas of our life.
Eight of Swords In Love
A relationship that feels stuffy and suffocating. Or perhaps boring and samey. We are being shown that we should find creative ways to inject a little fun into our relationships, whether they are romantic or platonic.
Reversed the Eight of Swords can signify we have gained a clearer insight to what drives a partner or a loved one. Knowing this we are able to align together and our lives join more smoothly. The clearer perspective allows us to play a more active and fulfilling role in our relationships as we both support and be supported by our loved ones.
Eight of Swords With Money
We are so anxious about money that we are unable to think clearly when making financial choices. This furthers our stress levels and can cause our finances to spiral out of control.
The Eight of Swords asks us to get out of our heads and consult a trusted person so we can gain a fresh perspective on this matter. It likely isn’t as bad as we think it is and someone with fresh eyes may be able to see something we have missed.
Reversed the Eight of Swords suggests we have managed to untangle our emotions and fears from our financial decisions and this clearer head allows us to make better choices surrounding money. This step quickly begins to improve our financial situation. It could also be urging us to do start doing this as soon as possible if we haven’t yet.
Eight of Swords At Work
The Eight of Swords in work or career questions suggests we are trapped in our current job role. This is likely due to financial commitments, dependents or other responsibilities. We feel frustrated and stuck simply because we are unable to make a change at this time. But we are being asked to confront this notion: if a change was on the table would we truly want it or is the resentment we feel just because we don’t have a choice right now?
Reversed the Eight of Swords means we have unlocked a new level of potential in our career that can be reached. When we take a step the distance becomes a little closer and eventually we can see it clearer. The same is true with our career goals. When we complete a step we are able to see the next aspirational goal in our career become tangibly close.
The 8 of Swords reversed asks us to focus on this and keep going. The steps to follow will be revealed when it is time to take them, for now we should focus on performing the current step to the best of our abilities.
Eight of Swords With Others
When we see this card in relation to questions about others or society in general it can suggest we are overly praising others (whether that’s internally or aloud) but in the process we are inadvertently putting ourselves down. It can be seen in compliments to others like “you’re so talented, I could never do what you do.”
Though we mean it with the best of intentions to praise another it subconsciously makes us feel less than. These small actions compile to make us scared to try anything new and eventually they lower our self-esteem.
Reversed it can mean we beginning to positively acknowledge our own skills and graciously accept praise and compliments from others. It can be embarrassing to accept compliments, especially if we aren’t used to it. But when we brush off these compliments we subconsciously show ourselves we don’t deserve them.
Countering that, when we accept them with grace we begin to start believing them. Over time our confidence and self-esteem blooms.
Eight of Swords With Self
The Eight of Swords with self-based questions can imply we are stuck in a trap of our own making. We have put false limitations on a situation where there are none. We are the only thing stopping ourselves get through this situation so we must be open minded and step out of our own way so we can see the solution shine through.
Reversed the Eight of Swords means we are about to experience a spiritual awakening which will lead to us becoming self-actualized. We finally discover a deep truth or epiphany about ourselves which heals a part of us that was previously making us stuck in life.
This epiphany allows us to go on and find better life fulfillment.
Eight of Swords As Feelings
The Eight of Swords feels like being stuck between only terrible choices and not being able to think of any new ideas for the solution.
We feel tempted to give up but a little part of us chooses to fight on. It also feels like elation when we finally figure out a solution and we feel triumphant as we enact the plan we have created.