Card by Card – Eight of Swords

Radiant Rider-Waite Eight of Swords

If you missed last weeks card by card post on the Ten of Cups, you can read about it here.

Just like last week, I’ll be taking a look at several variations from different decks and gathering that particular Author and/or Artists thoughts and perspectives.

The Eight of Swords is the randomly drawn COTW-card of the week.   What does it mean when you receive this card in a one card daily drawing or it turns up in a spread?

The first Eight of Swords we’ll be looking at is from the Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. 2003.  Waite called this card “Shortened Force”.

In Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom (Weiser Books 2007) Rachel Pollack writes:

“The clue to this card is the blindfold – symbolizing confusion, opressive ideas, isolation from other people in similar situations; what political liberationists call ‘mystification’ – keeping people down not by direct force, but by training them to believe in their own helplessness.”   

Numerologicallyeights are movement, action, change, power, maturity, and peak of ability.  The suit of Swords corresponds to the element of Air and our intellect and is sometimes thought of as the most difficult suit of the Tarot – sorrow, pain, anger – the stormy side of Air.   In a reading, the Eight of Swords can indicate feelings of helplessness, weakness, and being trapped.  Negative repetitious thought processes, mental abuse by yourself or others. 

The image shows a woman loosely bound in a semi-circle of swords and blindfolded.  It’s pretty obvious (to me, anyway) that she can leave of her own free will any time she pleases.  So, what’s keeping her a prisoner?  Let’s explore this, shall we?

The first Eight of Swords pair we will take a look at are from the Tarot of a Moon Garden by Karen Marie Sweikhardt (U.S. Games Systems, Inc. 1993) & the Cat’s Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin DVM (U.S. Games Systems, Inc. 2011).

Eight of Swords - Tarot of a Moon Garden & Cat's Eye Tarot

Tarot of a Moon Garden:  Crisis. Conflict. Domination. Imprisonment. Turmoil. Bad news. Criticism. Sickness. Calumny.

Cat’s Eye Tarot:  Restriction; Confusion; Powerlessness.  This distressed cat does not know what to do about that new baby gate.  Is it to keep her out?  Household routines have suddenly changed and she has no sense of control.  it feels terrible not know what is going on.   The Eight of Swords reminds you to stop and think.  You are only trapped if you allow you emotions to rule your actions.

Up next are the Eight of Swords from The Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza (U.S. Games Systems Inc. 2008) & Tarot of the Elves by Mark Mcelroy – illustrated by Davide Corsi – (Lo Scarabeo 2007)

Eight of Swords - Deviant Moon Tarot & Tarot of the Elves

Deviant Moon:  Bondage. Being controlled by outside forces.  Censorship.  Restriction.  Bound by the trance of sleep, a woman is beckoned by the deviant moon.  The moon’s influence over her dreams will soon come to an end, for the daybreak is near.

Tarot of the Elves:  Restriction.  If you have drawn the Eight of Swrods, you are facing some kind of limitation or restriction.  Choices are limited.  Options have dried up.  You may feel trapped, tied down, or surrounded.  For you, moving on may well be a matter of re-evaluating your situation, changing your goals, and revising your course of action.

The last pair are from the Tarot Nova by Dennis Fairchild and Julie Paschkis (Running Press 1996) & The Shining Tribe Tarot by Rachel Pollack (Llewellyn Publishing 2001).

Eight of Swords - Tarot Nova  & The Shining Tribe Tarot

Tarot Nova:  Gossip is in the air.  Try to be easy going when you encounter opposition from those who are set in their ways.  Postpone ultimatums and don’t accept everything as a fact.  Update your resume and keep your mind open to new business deals.  Think about your financial needs–current and future.

The Shining Tribe Tarot:  The woman sits before the volcano of her rage while the birds, symbols of liberation, fly above her.  She cannot just become a bird.  While we always carry the Fool within us, the child who can fly, we often do not know the way back to that child.  For the woman in the picture, her path to freedom lies through the volcano itself.   Anger, difficulty expressing feelings, oppression.  The painful process of discovering your wisdom.

The Eight of Swords is Card 62 in the Tarot Dynamics system and is about Challenging/Renovation.  There’s some extra work, or news coming your way that could upset your day, preempt you agenda, and lead you to feel momentarily, “bound and tied” by circumstances that you can neither prevent or control.  The longer you wait to confront your inhibitions, or irritation the longer you’ll have to settle for just getting by in matters where you could and should have come out ahead.  ~Anna Burroughs Cook, Tarot Dynamics Unleashed, 2011

Reversed or ill-dignified.  Liberation.  Breaking through constraints, taking the limits off experience. Start loosening the bonds and free yourself from a confining situation.  Get organized.

Please join me over the next week as I’ll be looking at the Eight of Swords more in depth and combined with a new COTD each day.  Stop over to the New Paths Tarot -Facebook page and get in the discussion!

I hope this has shed some new light on the Eight of Swords!

Until next time, Happy Tarot’ing and May Your Journey be an Enchanted one.