Eight of Swords


As we’ve seen in many of the swords cards, the mind can play tricks on us. In the Eight of Swords, we see one of the most harmful consequences of this: immobilising insecurity.

A little like the Devil, this card gives us a picture of bondage. A figure with their hands tied, blindfolded, surrounded by sharp swords – it’s a difficult picture to see.

Especially when we realise that each of those swords represents a thought, a fear, an insecurity. This wall of sharp blades does not really exist – it is a figment of our mind.

There are so many reasons our minds may create these boundaries, hem us in in these ways. Hard times can teach us to stay small, or lead us to doubt our choices, our own minds. The person on this card feels as though they are a prisoner – unable to move forward or get free of the clutches of self-doubt. But the Eight of Swords holds a mirror to these delusions and encourages us to get free.

In a reading…

Though this is a caring card, it’s message can be a tough one, and it is focused on showing you that you have choices. You are not as trapped as you feel, there are options open to you. It can be hard, uncomfortable work to step out of a position of fear or powerlessness, but this is about you taking hold of something you’re afraid of. Reframing your situation so that you see options, not barriers. Ultimately, it’s empowering, if you can do it.

When you see this card, ask yourself what unnecessary boundaries are you creating around yourself. Where are you holding back out of fear or self-doubt? Where are you saying “I can’t…”, when you know you’d really like to try? Challenge yourself to overcome fear and step up to the challenge.

This card can also point to anxiety and/or depression, or other mental health issues. It can suggest that you or someone else has become trapped by your/their own mind, and could use some support to overcome this. The Eight of Swords doesn’t make light of mental health, but points to areas where you can bring in supportive, healing practices or people to help move you forwards.

It also points to self-harm, addiction and self-destructive behaviours – again, a little like the Devil. Remember that you hold the key to your own healing, and that the journey home begins with lifting your eyes and making positive choices.