8 of Swords

The 8 of swords relates to air at water, water is the element of bond and its is only bonds that create limitation.  Due to bonds all the shapes in the universe have their existence and all shapes create a limit or boundary through which particular types of bond are operating.

At the 8 of swords the air or breath is tightly bound up and ones own mind becomes the limit of ones existence.  Mental stagnation, inner torture and fear of breaking away from the negative pattern take hold.  The mind is trapped.  There is also the feeling – with relation to number 2 – a feeling of separation, that nobody else could understand how I feel.  For an individual this card symbolizes great inner torture and anguish, the prisoner of war or anne frank would have this card.  Although physical circs can add very much to the quality of this card, it is not necessarily external influences that create it.  Giving limits to what is limitless creates inner pain and the 8 of swords is that stagnant water that we see at the bottom of the Moon card, it is love  / emotion turned stale and it is also Justice (8) in that this is the personal karma we have created for ourselves.  If we continually react tto the same situations in the same way then the bonds are strengthened, but if like the crayfish in the moon card we start to navigate a new path and face up to our fears, then we can achieve success.

Sometimes we don’t understand how we ever managed to get ourselves into a particular situation, yet there we are living it, as if it’s a script from someone else’s life.

The way to clear samskara is to act in the moment, to be proactive and take control setting up a new pattern, sounds easy doesn’t it?  But its not, even for those of us who tread a spiritual path.  Most of go through terrible experiences at some point or other that shake the foundation of our sense of self until we  are forced to change.  Each person’s interpretation is different depending on their personal karma.  One person’s bliss may be another person’s trap – for example, two women are pregnant – one can’t wait to meet her child, the other is dreading losing her freedom and wonders if she will cope with becoming a mother.  One glows and is full of joy, the other is full of anxiety and feels that she is separate from the world and has to put a brave face on things.

The 8 is a latent behavioural pattern so here we can see that something is on repeat and the client is stuck in a rut and quite often will reveal that they’ve been in the same situation before.

While the four of swords wishes to be alone as the feelings are very immediate and they can’t hide them, the 8 is able to bury their emotions and put on a happy face; they will still experience agony inside even while in company and sometimes seek company as a way of avoiding their pain.The first step towards freedom and releasing the pain and changing the situation / behaviours but it is not an end in itself – just shows a move in the right direction.


feeling trapped / being trapped / stagnation / inner torture

When bonds have turned to bondage / anguish

Reversed: initial steps towards releasing oneself from anguish


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