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Eight of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

Eight of Swords Keywords

UPRIGHT: restriction | isolation | disempowerment | helplessness | victim mentality

REVERSED: releasing negative thoughts | clarity | freedom

Eight of Swords Description

The Eight of Swords depicts a woman who appears trapped and immobilized, blindfolded and bound, with eight swords encircling her, signifying constraints and obstacles that are more mental than physical. These swords represent self-imposed limitations, negative thoughts, and beliefs that hinder her progress and freedom. Despite the apparent confinement, a closer inspection reveals that the bindings are not as tight as they seem, suggesting that liberation is possible if she changes her perspective and overcomes her self-doubt.

The presence of water at her feet symbolizes her intuition and the potential to perceive her situation differently, hinting that emotional and intuitive insight could guide her out of her predicament. This card emphasizes the power of mindset in overcoming adversity and the need to confront and discard unfounded fears and limitations to achieve personal freedom and progress.

NOTE: The tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider-Waite deck and Decoding The Cards

Wishing For A Deeper Tarot Connection?

Decoding The Cards goes further than keywords and traditional interprations by providing exercises for each card in the tarot.

The exercises this book are designed to challenge you to delve deeper into the meanings of each card, as well as consider your own personal experiences in relation to the traditional meanings.

Eight of Swords Upright

The Eight of Swords is a powerful symbol of perceived limitation and restriction, of feeling stuck in life, unable to move forward. It represents the feeling of being trapped in circumstances beyond our control. Whether we’re held back by an unfulfilling job or a stagnant relationship, our fear-based thinking prevents us from making positive changes or choices..


This card also speaks of a feeling of isolation and vulnerability, as well as a tendency towards victim mentality — believing we have no way out and everything is working against us. The Eight of Swords reminds us that these negative circumstances bind us only loosely, and we can take back control if we are willing to look at how we got there in the first place. 

Eight of Swords Reversed

The reversed Eight of Swords can be seen as a sign of liberation, as it indicates that whatever has been holding you back and preventing you from achieving your goals is beginning to slip away. This card encourages you to embrace your newfound freedom and use it to assess how past mistakes have been influencing your current situation. With fresh clarity and insight, you can create a new plan of action to help you move forward.


The Eight of Swords reversed can also sometimes indicate that you are preventing yourself from moving forward by holding on to your self-limiting beliefs. You cannot shed the inner critic or the beliefs you hold about yourself and your life experiences, so you’re unable to break the cycle you’re in.

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