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Eight of Swords - Tarot Card Meanings

Key Symbolism

  restrictions, obstacles, limiting beliefs, over-thinking, feeling trapped, staying in a limited situation, not knowing what to do, needing guidance, waiting for rescue, self-doubt, feeling as a victim, stagnation, crisis, seeing no way out, self-sabotage, fear, helplessness, punishment.

Eight of Swords tarot

Description and Symbolism


A woman in a red robe is standing surrounded by swords. She is blindfolded and tied up and it seems the swords are there to hinder her escape. But there is still a way out of her situation, since the swords do not encircle her completely and the ties seem to be wrapped around her loosely. The gray sky symbolizes her hopelessness and despair, and the water at her feet symbolizes emotions. The red color of her robe is a symbol for power and strength, indicating that she has the power to break free if she just tried. The buildings far away on the rocks represent her feeling of isolation.


General Meaning

In the Eight of Swords card the number 8 stands for rigidity. This card can represent situations where someone is feeling trapped or stuck. There could be limitations and obstacles from outside sources, but it could also be restricting thoughts and limiting beliefs that make it seem as if there is no way out, since the swords generally represent mental energies. But like in the picture, where the women might be able to get out of the situation if she was trying to instead of surrendering, this card could be a reminder to just look for a solution and to get aware that this feeling of entrapment must not be based on something truly posing a problem.

Love Meaning


In a love reading Eight of Swords can represent a situation where you feel restricted in your freedom. Maybe you have an overly jealous partner, or the relationship is limiting you in any other way. It can also mean that you feel powerless in a relationship. Maybe you are afraid to act freely because nothing you do seems to be right for your partner. Another situation represented by this card could be when you just can’t leave your partner even though you know you should because they are not good for you.



As Feelings


If you ask about how someone feels for you, Eight of Swords can indicate that the person in question feels restricted or powerless in a way. They might feel like they can't do what they want to. This person might also be fearful to take action because they expect negative consequences or they feel like there is nothing they can do anyways. Another meaning could be that they feel confused and disoriented. They might have so many thoughts in their head, that they cannot come to a decision. This can also be seen as a restriction.

The Major Arcana        The Wands        The Cups        The Swords        The Pentacles     

© Illustrations from the Radiant Rider-Waite 2015 reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems Inc., Stanford, CT 06902. c. 2015 by U.S. Games Systems Inc. All rights reserved.

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