Eight of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

eight of swords tarot card meaning
8 of Swords


Depression, Lack of Freedom, Doubt Blocks Clear Thinking, Not Understanding What is Happening, Inability to Escape Problems, Bound by Personal Fears, Being Fenced in by Obstacles, Prison of your Own Making, Staying in a Limited Situation, Feeling Overwhelmed, Inability to Control the Current Situation, Being Held at a Disadvantage, Feeling Victimized, Lack of Choice, There Seems to Be No Way Out, Feeling Trapped by Circumstances, Lack of Persistence, Being Blind to Freedom, You Feel like You Bound and Trapped, Lacking Direction, Waiting for Outside Rescue, Blindness, Indecision, Helplessness, Feeling Persecuted, Feeling Powerless, Mental Confusion, Experiencing Few Options.


Relaxation, Being able to take Action on a Situation after having hands tied, Change and Liberation, Release from Feelings of Helplessness, Clear Thinking, New Beginnings are Possible, Freedom, Breaking Free, Treachery in the Past, Victory over Fears, Relief, Moving on to a Better Situation.

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Brianna Stoker

This card depicts a figure standing on a beach, bound and blindfolded, with head bowed. Around the figure are eight swords, sticking upright in the sand, as if to form a cage. In the background atop a cliff is a small castle. The sky is gray and overcast, and it appears from the puddles of water around the figure, that the tide has recently gone out. The immediate impact of the card is one of Bondage, Imprisonment, Captivity, Servitude. In a legal context, the card could well indicate a jail sentence, perhaps a long one. However, as usual in Tarot, we have to look for deeper, more subtle interpretations. Remember the two of Swords? The figure represented there is also blindfolded. But, whereas the two of Swords indicates being between the devil and the deep blue sea – facing two, perhaps more choices, none of which are desireable, the eight of Swords suggests that there are no choices available. The blindfold is tied tighter, and the darkness is still darker. The blindfold not only indicates not being able to see options or choices. It is also suggestive of seeing no future. The bonds may be of the querent’s only making, or may have been tied by someone else. In any event, the querent is unable to act, unable to move forward, unable to find any solution to his problems. The querent may feel that he is in check-mate – game over as it were. The eight Swords surrounding the figure, although possibly indicative of a cage, could also represent solutions to the querent’s problems, but the querent is unable to see them, and even if he could, would not be able to reach them due to the bonds that hold him. The puddles of water at the figure’s feet suggest that the tide has gone out, which implies perhaps that the querent has been left behind. Perhaps life is passing him/her by, and there appears to be nothing he/she can do about it. Needless to say, the gray sky is indicative of depression, unhappiness, perhaps tedium and boredom. The querent is bogged down in the mire, in the doldrums. The card may indicate a person in a dead-end job, who can see no way of improving his situation. Perhaps an aging or elderly person who lives alone and can see no future as far as making new friends or romance goes.

The reversed card may suggest Escape, Liberation, breaking the chains, breaking free. After a difficult time, the querent has found a solution to his problems. Perhaps rejoining the tide of life after a long period of isolation.

Tarot Goddess

Title: Lord of Shortened Force
Element: Air
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Decan: Jupiter in Gemini; May 21 – 31
Thumbnail Meaning: Interference, uncertainty, opposition, analysis paralysis, indecision.

In the Rider-Waite tarot, the Eight of Swords is represented by a young woman, bound and blindfolded, with swords on either side of her. She is standing on wet ground, far away from a castle. It is an ominous image, and touches the heart of this card’s meaning.

This card represents self-imprisonment through lack of discipline and isolation. This can take many forms:

Working on too many projects at once.
Too much attention to detail, at the expense of the fundamental points.
Giving up easily.
Creating obstacles where there are none.
Waffling, over-analyzing, worrying.

Above all, the Eight of Swords refers to the “mind-forged manacles” which constrain action and imperil happiness.

The Eight of Swords implies a lack of persistence and patient work. If you draw this card, remember the tortoise and the hare.

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