The Meaning of the Eight of Swords

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The Meaning of the Eight of Swords

At a Glance

The Eight of Swords carries mixed meanings that can bring both relief and pain. Ultimately, however, it being pulled should be a sign to pay careful attention to your coming situations.

If You Drew This Card…

Due to the duality of this card, it is very easy to misinterpret its meaning. Be careful when considering how it relates to your life and the other cards that are drawn alongside it.

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  • The card usually represents a trial of some kind, although usually one that can be overcome. What can you do to ready yourself mentally for upcoming challenges?
  • In what ways is this a painful moment for you, and how can you support yourself as you develop your new, beautiful way of existing?
  • What power do you possess that will help you finally break free of what is holding you back?


  • Are your hasty actions causing you greater pain, and are you walking against the stream? What can you do to bare the pain for the time being?
  • Are you prepared to find creative solutions to your challenges?
  • Are your emotions overwhelming your ability to make a clear decision? 

Interpreting the Symbols

  • Woman : Capacity for making a smart decision on a topic that was once obscured by emotional intensity; conviction and acceptance of even painful consequences.
  • Blindfold : Not being hindered by appearnces or external triggers; inward strength and integrity.
  • Bindings :  Being shaken at the core; humiliation or shame; surrender.
  • Mountain : Moving forward despite grave mistakes; forgiving oneself and forward motion toward greater understanding.
  • Cage of Swords : Thinking protects and points toward right action or else it can become too detached from emotional truths.
  • Castle : Falsely valuing one's own opinion over that of others; being closed off; retreating under false pretences; searching for safety and true identity or community.
  • Water : Having felt the full heat of an emotional experience, now only a small trace remains as an innoculation and reminder to act with restraint.
  • Red : Harnessed will; aggressive behavior wants to exhibit but is held back by the intellect which knows acting would only complicate matters.

Charmaine’s Take

While the Eight of Swords should be interpreted with the other cards that are drawn with it, on its own it represents temporary hardship. What does this mean for your life? Are you finally coming out of your temporary hardship, or should you be preparing for it to begin? Or, it could mean that a situation that you think is permanent is actually temporary and the right actions could completely remedy it.

The Eight of Swords frequently serves as a warning against inaction. The woman is surrounded by swords, which will cause her pain if she moves. However, the longer she remains still, the worse her situation becomes. It may be difficult or painful to do, but taking action and freeing yourself of your bindings may be your best option.

More than anything else, the Eight of Swords is a call for strength, endurance, and perseverance. Sometimes the situation that the card represents can be solved from your actions, and sometimes it cannot. Either way, it is up to you to summon the strength to endure it. If you are in control, it is best to move with confidence and minimize the time spend dawdling. If you are not in control, the other cards may offer insight into how you can make your situation less uncomfortable. No matter what, you should not be discouraged. While it may be unfortunate to draw the Eight of Swords, it is ultimately an encouragement.

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