Eight of Swords Tarot Card Meanings

Eight of Swords tarot card image
Meaning Indicator


Eight of Swords’ Upright & Reversed Meanings

Eight of Swords (Reversed, Lacking)

Ideas: Assistance, baby steps, growth mindset

Traits: Active, adaptable, adventurous, courageous, daring, flexible, independent

Emotions: Eagerness, gladness, optimism, relief, tenderness

  • Actions:
    • Asking for assistance
    • Dealing with mental roadblocks
    • Developing a growth mindset
    • Getting out of a rut
    • Letting go of limited thinking
    • Taking baby steps to a better place
Eight of Swords (Upright, Balanced)

Ideas: Diet, limitation, restriction

Traits: Disciplined, hidebound, inhibited, obedient, reserved, rigid, solitary, strict

Emotions: Apprehension, frustration, hope, nervousness, uneasiness

  • Actions:
    • Going on a diet for your health’s sake
    • Honoring limits
    • Identifying obstacles to further progress
    • Recognizing you cannot always be in control
    • Refusing to think about unhealthy or unethical options
    • Respecting the rules
Eight of Swords (Upright, Excessive)

Ideas: Confinement, helplessness, trap

Traits: Cowardly, dependent, narrow-minded, repressed, shortsighted, timid, weak-willed

Emotions: Alienation, fear, hopelessness, insecurity, isolation

  • Actions:
    • Allowing others to dictate what you can and cannot do
    • Being lost in a maze of rules and regulations
    • Being rendered helpless
    • Failing to look for a way out
    • Feeling trapped
    • Having very few options
    • Waiting for somebody for rescue

Eight of Swords’ Advice

Personal Growth

Knowing your own limits is important; respect them. Whatever the issue, you’re balking for a reason. There’s no harm in refusing to move forward for now, and no shame in saying, “No.” A mature person communicates what he or she needs with absolute confidence.


Feeling boxed in? You have exactly as many options as you imagine you do. There is a way out, but someone is refusing to see it. A relationship should broaden horizons, not limit them. If the rules are uncomfortable, perhaps it’s time to re-examine them.


Some restrictions are necessary; others are merely tradition. Ethics demand you play by the rules; sacred cows, however, are fair game. What are the obstacles, exactly? If your limits didn’t exist, how might you move forward? Thinking freely will open unexpected options.


The free spirit cannot be contained by the physical constraints. As you learn to cultivate balance and focus, you may find that most obstacles are self-imposed and most limits are strictly imaginary. When you focus your will, blindfolds and bonds will fall away.

Eight of Swords’ Symbols & Insights

The Blade Barrier

Rider–Waite–Smith-inspired versions of this card depict a woman trapped in the middle of a circle of swords. Many have noted the circle is incomplete; escape is simply a matter of casting off the blindfold and taking that first step. How many of your own limitations are strictly imagined?

The Loose Bonds

Many versions of this card feature someone tied with what appear to be very loose bonds. (Compare the chains around the fawns’ necks on Trump XIII.) In your own situation, have you abandoned all hope of escape too soon? Might just a bit more struggle cause your bonds to drop away?

Drop the Blindfold

Take a look around. Has the Universe been showing you an escape route you’ve been too proud or too distracted to see? What might happen if, instead of moving obediently from A to B, you rudely jumped over the walls?

The Marseilles Image

Eight sharp, curved blades interlock in a double knot of steel. A single blossom, all but crushed, remains, along with four unopened buds. Even when options are severely limited, the potential for growth remains.

More About Eight of Swords Tarot Card

Get over playing the victim.
Once you realize you are your own biggest obstacle, nothing can hold you back.
Between May 21 and May 31
“I know my own limits.”
Numerology Number
(the action: movement, outer work, swiftness)
Astrology Element
Astrology Planet in Sign
Jupiter in Gemini
The main character must call on his or her ingenuity to escape a trap.
Questions to Ask
Who’s empowered to cut through the red tape?
What, exactly, are the obstacles? What resources, exactly, are needed to move them?
To what extent is your powerlessness a matter of attitude?
Related Pages
Tarot Card Meanings Guide
Exploring Today’s Tarot
Consulting the Tarot
Traditional Tarot Card Meanings
Thirteen Fun Things to Do with Tarot Cards
Where to Go to Learn More
More Tarot Card Meaningss