Upright: Isolation, self-imposed restriction, imprisonment
Reversed: Open to new perspectives, release

The Eight of Swords shows a woman tied up, blindfolded, and surrounded by swords that act as a kind of prison or enclosure. It appears that there is no possibility of escape. She appears isolated and alone as she stands in the midst of a barren, watery wasteland far from the town in the distance. The sky is grey and cloudy, indicating despair and a lack of hope. The woman’s feet do not touch the water, indicating that the feeling of being restricted in the Eight of Swords is based on an intellectual assessment of the situation and not an emotional one. There is a path cleared before her, so there is actually a way out of this situation but the blindfolds prevent the woman from seeing her way out.

The Eight of Swords reflects that you feel trapped by your own thoughts and perspectives. The woman in this card is blindfolded and bound, trapping her into thinking that she has no way out. However, if only she could remove the blindfold and change her thinking, she would see that she does indeed have options. So, the Eight of Swords suggests that you need to look at a difficult situation from a new angle. Draw upon your intellectual self and your emotional self to determine the best path forward, one that avoids any possible victimisation or restriction.
The Eight of Swords is often a sign that it is best not to make any important decisions at this point because your thinking has been limited and constrained by self-imposed boundaries. You are struggling to see a situation for what it is and have been lead to believe certain things that may or may not be true. There are choices available but first you must be within the right mindset to know which option to choose. This means releasing the bindings and the blindfold to see the situation from a different, less imposing angle. There may also be too many ideas running through your head, thus it is best to wait until you feel more secure and certain about a situation before making important decisions and taking action.
The woman in the Eight of Swords is often seen as powerless. She has surrendered her power to an unknown entity, thus rendering herself completely powerless. She has become the victim and is now waiting to be rescued. If you see part of this woman in yourself, then it is imperative you take back your power and personal accountability and open your eyes to the options that lie in front of you. The fact is that you do have options, even if you do not like those options. This is fine, so long as you accept that you do indeed have options and you do not have to be the victim here.
The Eight of Swords portrays a dilemma whereby you are faced with the difficulty of a painful decision and you are at an impasse, uncertain of which way to go. However, what you may not realise is that the decision in the Eight is the result of our own actions. Despite the fact that you have boxed yourself into a corner, there is a way out. The solution is simply to deal with the situation in the most direct yet tactful manner possible, and face your choice with inner strength. It is time to be honest with yourself and others in order to be free of the burden of fear or guilt that is implied with the Eight of Swords.
The Eight of Swords can indicate that your interests will be opposed by other people, and this may create restrictions to what it is you want to achieve. Take back your power and realise that you have options whether others oppose you or not. You do not have to be constrained by their way of thinking or their rules.

The Eight of Swords reversed indicates that you have come through a difficult time and you are becoming more open to change and self-acceptance. You have been able to reflect on what did and did not work in the past and have changed your perspective and approach. You acknowledge that you do indeed have options, and you are refusing to play the role of ‘the victim’, taking greater accountability for where you are in life.
The Eight of Swords reversed indicates that you need to free yourself from some of the limiting factors of your past. You have some skeletons in the closet that need clearing out. Allow yourself to let go of old patterns of behaviour and belief systems that have previously held you back.



Eight of Swords Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Feeling trapped, restricted, backed into a corner, hands tied, victimised, paralysed by fear/terror, anxiety, feeling pressure, hopeless, helpless , powerless, silenced, crisis, dilemma, drama, imprisonment, punishment, slavery, persecution, judgement, trial by jury, consequences, negative attitudes, psychological issues, major weightloss.

General meaning and interpretation
In a general context, the Eight of Swords can represent feeling trapped, confined, restricted or backed into a corner or having your hands tied. It signifies fear, terror, anxiety and psychological issues. It is a Minor Arcana card of hopelessness, helplessness, powerlessness, slavery, persecution and being silenced or censored. You will be feeling the pressure when this appears and may be in crisis or going through a dilemma or drama. However, the overall theme of this card is that you are the one keeping yourself in this situation through negative thinking and allowing yourself to be paralysed by fear. The swords depicted in the card are surrounding you but you can take the blindfold off and walk away at any time! This card also represents consequences and judgement which may take the form of trial by jury, imprisonment and punishment.

In a health Tarot spread, the Eight of Swords can in some cases be an indication of mental health and anxiety disorders such as PTSD, agoraphobia, depression or panic attacks. However, it is also the card of major weight-loss so if you are trying to lose some weight it is a very welcome card to get! This card can also be an indicator of eyesight problems or blindness.

Love & Relationships
In a love Tarot spread, if you are in a relationship the Eight of Swords is not a great omen as it can represent feeling trapped, confined or backed into a corner in your relationship. You may be feeling like you cannot escape but that is only your perception! It may not be easy but you can find a way to leave if you want to. This Minor Arcana card can also signify a relationship in crisis, drama, dilemmas and negativity so your relationship may not be in a great place at the moment. In the extreme negative, it can indicate an abusive relationship as it represents being victimised and feeling powerless and hopeless. Remember, there are organisations that can help if you are in that situation. It can also represent judgement and consequences so if there has been any cheating in the relationship, this card sees the betrayal coming to light. If you are single, the Eight of Swords indicates that you may be waiting for someone to swoop in and right everything that you feel has gone wrong in your life. Remember that true happiness comes from within. It is not a partner’s job to fix your life and if that’s what you are waiting for you are likely to either put potential partners off as they sense your desperation or to attract the wrong type of relationship. You need to work on finding inner contentment for yourself. When you find that, you will be ready to welcome the right kind of partner into your life.

Money & Career
In a career Tarot reading, the Eight of Swords suggests that you are feeling trapped in your career or current position. You may be feeling powerless, hopeless and helpless to improve you situation at the moment but you are the master of your own destiny. If you hate your current situation that much, you do have the power to change it. In a financial Tarot spread, the Eight of Swords again indicates that you are trapped or restricted by your current financial status but again this is more to do with your anxiety than the reality of your situation. You need to get creative and think outside of the box if you want to make more money. There are ways to get what you want, don’t give into fear.

In a spiritual context, the Eight of Swords tells you not to allow yourself to be restricted. You may be feeling powerless when it appears, this can take the form of feeling trapped in your life or confined to a religion or spiritual path. However, this is just a matter of your perception. You can choose to change your direction whenever you want, if you will it to be so. The power is in your hands.
Reversed Meaning Guide
Eight of Swords Reversed Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Escape, freedom, release , finding solutions/ options, relief, taking control, standing up to abuse, self-belief, survivor, facing fears/ truth, releasing anxiety, hopeful, empowered, healing, mental strength, clear mind, overcome obstacles, prison release, end of punishment, severe depression, paralysis, oppression, surrender.

General meaning and interpretation
In a general context, the Eight of Swords reversed can represent release, freedom, escape and finding solutions and options. It signifies relieving pressure, releasing anxiety and facing fears and truths. When reversed, it is a Minor Arcana card of self-belief, ignoring criticism, standing up to abuse and taking back control. You may be feeling clear minded, empowered, mentally strong and hopeful when this card appears in your Tarot spread. This card indicates that you may find you are ready for healing, to ask for help and to overcome obstacles. It can also represent release from prison and the end of a punishment. However, on the flip side the Eight of Swords reversed card can be an indication of extreme oppression, surrendering to pressure or being completely paralysed by fear and severe depression.

In a health Tarot spread, the Eight of Swords reversed can represent recovering from or overcoming mental health and anxiety disorders such as PTSD, agoraphobia, depression or panic attacks. It can also signify successful treatment of eye issues. However, on the other extreme, it can also represent severe depression and feeling like suicide is the only way out. If you are suffering from depression or feeling suicidal, remember there is always a better solution. Talk to a mental health professional or confide in family and friends. You can come through this, don’t give up!

Love & Relationships
In a love Tarot spread, if you are in a relationship the Eight of Swords reversed can represent releasing your fears or anxiety regarding your relationship and overcoming obstacles so it can be a good omen if you have been experience anxiety about the relationship. If you have been in an unhappy or abusive relationship where you felt trapped, this card would suggest that you will escape the relationship. However, the flip side of this card can indicate severe depression or oppression. As such, it can also indicate that severe depression will have a negative effect on your relationship or, if you are in an abusive relationship, that your partner’s controlling behaviour will escalate to extremes. If you are single, the Eight of Swords reversed indicates that you may have let go of any fear or anxiety that had been holding you back from finding love. You should be feeling empowered and hopeful in relation to love. Alternatively, it can be an indication that your anxiety around dating has reached such an extreme that it is paralysing when it comes to finding a partner. Look to supporting cards to confirm which meaning applies.

Money & Career
In a career Tarot reading, the Eight of Swords reversed can indicate that you may have learned to release you stress, anxiety and fear in relation to work and you should be having a much easier time in work. It can also signify that you may have left a job or career path that had been restricting your potential or making you feel trapped. However, on the flip side, this Minor Arcana card in reverse can indicate that you have become even more oppressed by a career that was already causing you major anxiety. As with the upright version, if the job is making you that unhappy, you need to realise that you can walk away if you choose to. In a financial Tarot spread, the Eight of Swords reversed again indicates that you have either released your worries or fear about finances and are in a much more mentally healthy place or you have become more entrenched in your anxiety. If you are doing well financially at the moment, you may want to start saving a little rainy day money to make you feel more secure in your financial stability.

In a spiritual context, the Eight of Swords reversed tells you that you will be feeling empowered, hopeful and free to explore you spiritual path when it appears in your Tarot reading.