Eight of Swords Tarot Card

The Tarot Suit of Swords

The Tarot Suit of Swords is associated with the suit of Spades in standard playing cards - both have sharp edges. Although many tarot decks use the term swords to refer to this suit, it also has other names (that is, for the equivalent suit in other decks), which include daggers, blades or knives.

There are meanings associated with each of the suits in a tarot deck, as well as the more specific interpretations associated with each individual card - and yet more precise meanings pertaining to particular cards in particular locations within spreads.

The suit of swords is associated with the element of air. It is also associated with the season of spring and the direction East. The suit of swords concerns academic or philosophical thought, intellectual pursuits, truth, and clarity.

The Eights in the Tarot Deck are often associated with strength. (Strength is Card No.8 in the Major Arcana). Some situations require courage and the cards numbered 8 in the Minor Arcana concern taking the necessary action, even if it is difficult.

The 8 of Swords is often illustrated dramatically.

The Rider-Waite and Robin Wood tarot decks both depict a young woman who is blindfold and has her arms bound to her sides standing at a waters edge surrounded by eight swords positioned vertically with their sharp points buried in the sand or mud. In the case of the Robin Wood deck there are also dark clouds above. These images may appear to be negative and threatening but it is also immediately apparent that there is nothing stopping the woman from walking away from the swords and the water's edge. Perhaps she believes herself to be trapped, but is in fact restrained by her negative or limited thinking rather than by material circumstances.

The 8 of Swords tarot card invites the seeker to consider how he or she arrived at the present situation or his or her current values and perspective.

Are they still appropriate ?
If not, change must come from within.


Keywords and phrases for possible meanings of the 8 of Swords Tarot Card include:

  • Belief of helplessness
  • Fear
  • Indecision
  • There are more possibilities than one realises but action is requiredy in order to progress.
  • Paralysis
  • Self-imposed imprisonment (compare with The Devil Card).

Robin Wood Tarot Deck Celtic Tarot - Tarot Cards and Book Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot Deck The Gilded Tarot (Book and Tarot Deck Set) Angel Tarot Cards

What about the Eight of Swords Reversed ?

Some interpretations of the meaning of the 8 of Swords reversed include:

  • Freedom restored
  • Removal of a blockage, either in the form of a change in physical circumstances or abandonment of a mental 'excuse'
  • Person who was constrained but is now released e.g. ex-prisoner, or someone with an empowering new perspective

Tarot Articles:

Tarot Card Games - for, against and examples

Learning to Read Tarot Cards

20 Steps to reading Tarot Cards

Why use Free Printable Tarot Cards?

List of Tarot Card Meanings

Origins of the Tarot Nouveau - or 'French Tarot'

Learning Tarot

Uses of Tarot Cards

Smile often throughout today. Even if no other physical being sees your smile its vibration extends far and uplifts souls you may not see.

Although care has been taken when compiling this page, the information contained might not be completely up to date. Accuracy cannot be guaranteed. This material is copyright. See terms of use.

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