Eight of Swords

Eight of Swords Tarot Card Meanings

What does the Eight of Swords card mean in a Tarot Reading?

Eight of Swords of the Tarot is an Arcana of containment, stalemate, doubt. If you get this card, be ready to analyze the circumstances in order to find the best solution to the problem.
This card, like many of the Swords suit, has negative energy. Minor Arcana Tarot card Eight of Swords symbolizes connectedness, obstacles, limitation.

Goal: The need to gather all the will to reach your goal.
Element: Air
Planet: Jupiter, Pluto, Saturn
Astrological sign: Gemini


The woman stands blindfolded, surrounded by eight swords stuck in the ground. They form a kind of barrier. The ground beneath the woman’s feet is soft, damp and swampy. In the distance you can see the silhouette of the castle.
(For a detailed depiction, analysis of the Symbols and all Elements of the Eight of Swords Tarot Card, click here)

The Main Meanings of the Card In an Upright Position

Key Words and Phrases

Hostile environment. Lack of strength. Blockedness. Bonds. Forced restrictions. Vicious circle. Lack of self-affirmation. Insulation. Fear of the unknown. Slow energy. Inability to move. Feeling locked up. Lack of freedom of thought. Containment of yourself. Closing your eyes. Lack of confidence prevents you from moving forward. Barrier. Communication problems. Disappointment. Shackled by fear. Inability to get out of a difficult situation. Anxiety. Worry. Censorship. Emotional pain. Hard times. Accidents. Death. Misfortune due to their own behavior. Confusion. Misunderstanding. Indecision. Paralysis. Fear of using your power. Resistance to attempts at self-assertion. Lack of self-confidence. Negative feelings that interfere with productive action. Disease. I keep banging my head against the wall. Damn if you do it and be damned if you don’t. Don’t come near. Don’t shut yourself off from me. This too shall pass. When I say no, I feel guilty.

The main meanings of the card in an upright position

an illusion created by you;
shows an indecisive, weak person;
weakness after illness;
you base your plans on false assumptions;
someone prevents you from revealing all your qualities;
deliberately hiding some of your personal qualities;
obstacle in making a decision;
an omen of failure, which you can avoid if you look around;
criticism, unpleasant situation, critical moment, critical time, crisis;
investigation, discussion, research, censure, censorship, interpretation, control, conviction, sentence;
obstructing the execution of plans, opposition;
conflicts, gossip, slander, bad news, frustration, disillusionment;
the inability to influence the situation, the need to wait;
lack of self-confidence;
submission to someone else’s will;
unfavorable circumstances.

Situation and Advice

Eight of Swords Tarot Card Meanings

The Eight of Swords denotes fear, blockade, restrictions that we often impose on ourselves. You feel like you are locked up, you are trapped, you cannot move. You may act like your own worst enemy because you fear the future and resist the new. You are stuck in a routine that you created. You may be finding it difficult to establish communication right now. You may feel trapped in a situation that you think you have no way out of. You feel that circumstances are limiting you, but still more serious limitations in your life exist because you refuse to see the real state of affairs. You will have to deal with your fears, and only then can you make an important decision. Gather all your courage and tackle the problems that surround you. If you cannot figure out the situation yourself, the card indicates that now is the best time to seek advice or get advice. Sometimes the limitations of the Eight of Swords are the result of accident or death. This card often appears in the spread when someone else’s interference prevents the questioner from making a decision. The questioner does not recognize the right to either think or act.

Persons designated by Upright Eight of Swords Tarot Сard

Those who feel cornered, confined. Blind. Imprisoned. People who are limited by some kind of relationship. Those who “walk in circles”.

The Main Meanings of the Card In a Reversed Position

Key Words and Phrases

Overcoming obstacles. Removing blocks. New beginnings. Open eyes. Remove the veil from the face. Overcoming fear. Freedom from restrictions. Liberation. Relief. Getting rid of outside interference. Free passage. Finding strength. Restoration of the ability to move. Revival of self-confidence. Return of productivity. Necessary self-affirmation. You are free and you can go. I know how to get out of this situation.

The main meanings of the card in a reversed position

now is not the time to do anything;
you got rid of fear, of illusions that frightened you;
you are now more than ever close to freeing yourself from the bonds;
could mean failure;
incident, difficulty, special kind of circumstance, connection, event;
belonging, unconscious, obstacle, delay;
challenge, objection, opposition, resistance, nagging;
unforeseen event, adventure, accident, fate, fatality of circumstance, misfortune;
unforeseen situation, accident, isolation, feeling of being trapped;
indecision, self-doubt, slowness;
the illusion of one’s own powerlessness;
the need to act.

Situation and Advice

Now you can free yourself from limitations, overcome fears and anxiety. The pressure that has been put on you all this time is easing.

Eight of Swords. Witchcraft Tarot by Ellen Dugan
Witchcraft Tarot by Ellen Dugan

You now have a clearer understanding of your surroundings and can deal with what is hindering your progress. You have conquered your fears, and now you can start over. There are no more obstacles, the path is clear. Now is the time for self-affirmation and rejection of those restrictions that others impose on you. A real way out in this situation is being seen.

Persons designated by the Reversed Eight of Swords Tarot Сard

Those who have freed themselves from restrictions, have broken free, have gotten rid of the relations that hold down freedom. Released from prison.

In the Spreads

The general meaning of the card is easy to understand. This includes everything that stands in front of you on the way to the goal: doubts, suddenly appearing problems and difficulties, the intervention of outsiders, a feeling of your own powerlessness and self-doubt, etc.
The meaning of the Arcana in the upright and reversed position is different. This is exactly the case when a reversed card is more positive than an upright one.

In an Upright Position

The meaning of the Tarot card of Eight Swords in an upright position has a negative connotation. This, as was already mentioned above, predicts all sorts of obstacles and barriers on the way to the goal, a state of depression and anxiety, the inability to influence the situation, a sharp change in circumstances, for which the querent was not ready, etc.
The main indicator of the Eight of Swords Tarot card is blocked energy. The querent may be presented with a number of exciting opportunities and ideas, but forces beyond his control will limit his choices and actions. The failure of plans can lead to fear and loss of faith in the possibility of achieving the goal. The best thing for the querent in this case is to come to terms with the delays and patiently wait for the situation to change.
Eight of Swords means illness, injury, bad news, crisis in your relationship, conflict. Possible loss. However, the situation is temporary and you can avoid or prevent it on your own. Defend yourself.
In an upright position, the Eight of Swords Tarot card indicates the powerlessness of the querent to change something or the impossibility of doing what he thinks is necessary.
Arcana describes a state when a person feels literally bound on hands and feet due to circumstances (illness, collapse of plans) and restrictions that the querent must observe. At the same time, the Eight of Swords claims that these restrictions can be caused not only by external reasons, but also by internal ones, such as complexes, indecision, fears, self-doubt.
In any case, a straight Eight of Swords means that at the moment you cannot act as it seems necessary to you. However, this is only a temporary situation. Circumstances can change at any time by freeing your hands. Or you yourself will free yourself from the yoke of your inner shackles.
This is a very bad card showing a person in a difficult situation. The Eight of Swords of the Tarot says that everything will go somersault and it will be difficult to get on the right course. This card shows a person cornered, caught in bad circumstances, and this is either an upcoming state of affairs, or an incident that has already occurred.
A person feels the impossibility to achieve his goals, he has a feeling of constraint. He is not capable of the life he would like to have. Everything presses on him as a result of the limitation. It’s hard for him to cope with everything. There is nothing that could help him. He has to be content with only what he has.
The Eight of Swords shows that a person is confused, that he feels like a prisoner. You need to look at the spread as a whole. The rest of the cards can concretize what exactly happens in the fate of the questioner.
The card makes it clear that a person independently gave his fate to the wrong hands. He gave up his influence, power, became a prisoner of everything he does. The person has lost faith in himself, believes that he does not solve anything and that nothing depends on him. He expects someone to come or something to happen, or maybe everything will be solved by itself.

In a Reversed Position:

In a reversed position of card, as opposed to an upright card, the Eight of Swords often means that constraints are a thing of the past. Now you have a chance to deal with problems and go through obstacles, but for this you need to analyze all your steps in advance.
The reversed Eight of Swords Tarot card speaks of a heightened sense of trap and pessimism caused by the isolation from family and friends as a result of an argument. It is imperative for the querent to break out of this vicious circle and deal directly with the problems that besiege him.
A reversed Eight of Swords means betrayal or confrontation, usually unexpected. Uncertainty. In the reversed Eight of Swords, against the background of a general negative meaning (a probable betrayal in the past, stagnation, inability to take action, a depressed state of mind) some positive moments also appear. The card indicates the end of a period of complete helplessness, hopelessness, restrictions, which seemed to tie the querent on hands and feet. Positive changes still do not solve all problems, but they openly say that troubles are beginning to gradually disappear, the person begins to revive faith in himself and his success.
In the reversed position, the Eight of Swords Tarot says that some circumstances seem insurmountable to the querent, but in fact this is not so.

Eight of Swords. Tarot of Consequences by Corrine Kenner, Pietro Alligo
Tarot of Consequences by Corrine Kenner, Pietro Alligo

The situation that prevents you from acting by tying your hands is nothing more than a figment of your imagination or a consequence of your own indecision, lack of confidence in your abilities, and possibly submission to someone else’s will.
The reversed Eight of Swords Tarot encourages you to act more actively and boldly. Stop obediently waiting for the weather to change! Take an unconventional, creative approach to get outside of the box that is in your way. In this case, your obstacles and limitations will turn out to be just an illusion. You will see that in fact the path is clear, and you have every chance to get what you want.

In the Spreads for Different situation

In an Upright Position:
Now it is better not to take active action, something or someone bothers you. It is better to stop, remove the alarm and calmly think over all possible scenarios. Your intellect can help you solve the problem.
In a Reversed Position:
The reversed Eight of Swords in the spread of the situation indicates new opportunities, a rise in strength to solve problems, a willingness to act. Everything is in your hands.

In the Spreads for Relationship

In an Upright Position:
Eight of Swords of the Tarot meaning in relationships and love most often shows a crisis when a couple is on the verge of breaking up. This can also include toxic relationships, where one of the partners is in the position of a victim or in a state of dependence on the other, various kinds of difficulty, anxiety, depression.
Here the upright Eight of Swords speaks of strong pressure from one partner on the other, possibly with the use of physical violence, a big scandal or a quarrel. Also, the card can describe a union in which a person hides some aspects of his personality, because he is afraid to show them to his partner. In any case, Arcana recommends changing this position as soon as possible, because the suppression of some part of the “I” sooner or later will inevitably lead to the collapse of the union. However, the card can also describe the feeling of loneliness when a person lives without a partner. Then it means an inner unwillingness to open up to another person, to accept in advance all the joys and sorrows associated with this, and advises first to create in oneself all the prerequisites for this, and then the meeting will happen by itself.

In a Reversed Position:
The reversed Eight of Swords for love makes it clear that you can find a way out of this impasse, improve the relationship with a partner, or get out of a painful relationship.
In a reversed position, the Eight of Swords carries in itself many negative manifestations. This is anxiety, and experiences, and depressive states, and betrayal that took place in the past. But they are no longer destructive and hopeless. The Arcana symbolizes attempts at reconciliation, the search for a common language with a partner, as well as the understanding that the situation is not as dead-end as it seemed at first glance.

In the Spreads for Dates

In an Upright Position:
You begin to assert yourself in a relationship. It’s good for you.
In a Reversed Position:
Are you trapped in a relationship that is hard and unpleasant for you?

In the Spreads for Family

In an Upright Position:
The situation at home is far from ideal, but you are making progress. Continue in the same spirit.
In a Reversed Position:
At home, you feel like you’re in a trap. You are oppressed and supressed. Be patient a little, the time is not far off when you can spread your wings.

In the Spreads for Friendship

In an Upright Position:
Friends help you in difficult times.
In a Reversed Position:
You feel completely alone, without friends. You see no way out.

Eight of Swords. Guardian Angels Tarot
Guardian Angels Tarot

In the Spreads for Money

In an Upright Position:
Limited funds, spending, material problems. Financial constraints are temporary. The situation will soon improve.
In a Reversed Position:
Beware of unfortunate accidents or material loss. New ways of earning, improving your financial situation are waiting for you.

In the Spreads for Education

In an Upright Position:
You may not want to create problems by asking for help, but you still have to ask.
In a Reversed Position:
You have received unfair criticism. May the force be with you!

In the Spreads for Career

In an Upright Position:
Eight of Swords in business affairs indicates existing problems in the work area. This may be self-doubt, restrictions on the part of bosses or colleagues, conflicts, lack of ability, forced job change, etc.

Eight of Swords. Black Grimoire Tarot
Black Grimoire Tarot

The upright Eight of Swords indicates that the work does not allow some aspects of the personality to be revealed, so a person has to suppress them. If it is known that, due to circumstances, he is now forced to accept such a restriction, then one can agree with this. If the card indicates a situation that has no end, then it should be taken as advice to urgently give yourself personal freedom, and in extreme cases, change jobs. The card also indicates an extremely negative course or business development, force majeure, significant losses. Arcana can also denote any unexpected obstacles in professional activity that have arisen through the fault of colleagues, management, or due to other objective reasons.

In a Reversed Position:
In the work, the Eight of Swords Tarot means that the main difficulties are over, and all current problems can be solved or are temporary. You have every opportunity to reach the desired level.
In a reversed position, the Eight of Swords Tarot card indicates problems that have already arisen and exist, but do not carry fatal significance and global consequences for the querent. Sometimes Arcana defines just a monotonous, boring, hopeless and routine period.

In the Spreads for Health

In an Upright Position:
Arcana’s meaning for health can indicate various diseases that interfere with plans, feeling unwell, being admitted to the hospital, weakness.
Indicates a health condition that prevents a person from being free (dependence on drugs such as insulin). Serious chronic diseases are possible.

In a Reversed Position:
The reversed Arcana in the area of health means the restoration of the body, the successful fight against the disease, the return to normal life.
Constant but unsuccessful struggle for health. Infertility, bronchial asthma, lingering pneumonia are likely.

Answer to Yes / No Tarot Spreads

In an Upright Position:
In a Reversed Position:

Self-Development Lesson

You base your plans on false assumptions and this will hinder your progress. Reconsider the situation and ask yourself why you continue to act in the same manner. You need to explore other options, but make the final decision yourself.

Type of person in an upright position:

The card means a person with very low self-esteem. The feeling of his own worthlessness, blinkeredness, limitation prevent him from moving forward. An eternal victim of circumstance. Sometimes it depicts a person who skillfully hides envy under the guise of a poor, unfortunate sufferer.

Eight of Swords. Romantic Tarot
Romantic Tarot

Type of person in a reversed position:

It means a person of pure soul, who prefers the bitter truth to sweet lies. He is attentive to others, sometimes to the detriment of himself. Severely experiences injustice. Situations when he has to deal with the seamy side of the human soul change him irreversibly.

Arcana’s warning

Avoid rose-colored glasses, circumstances can be of any kind, including painful ones. Get ready for anything.

Final Advice of Arcana

Try to assess the current situation objectively and without emotion. A cold mind will help you find a way out.

In an Upright Position:
Remember that there are no hopeless situations. To understand, finally, that we are often trapped through our own fault.
In a Reversed Position:
Give up idealistic ideas about the world before it’s too late. See the life as it is, so you don’t have to constantly suffer.


Another negative and dangerous card. This time, you are alerted to major and possibly unexpected disasters such as illness or injury. You may receive bad news or experience loss. You still have enemies, and they are still trying to take you down. False friends can become your enemies.
The only advantage of the Eight of Swords Tarot card is that the problems are temporary and you can completely avoid them with proper precautions. This is a warning that things might go the wrong way. If you look back in time, the warning may remain just a warning, but not a fact. Check your affairs and personal relationships carefully and promptly.
The Eight of Swords shows that we ourselves suppress some part of our personality. Often these are internal barriers or prohibitions that we usually set ourselves, but we prefer to find their cause in the environment. This is a typical position of “Yes, but …”, as Reverend Hayk describes it: “I would love to do this and that, but …”, “I would really like to have this and that, but …, “I would be glad to become this and that, but …”. At the same time, the only obstacle on the way of our “I” to these beautiful things is actually only our own “but”. This card shows us that the limitations, difficulties and prohibitions that we perceive as hindrances do not belong to the outside world, but reflect only our own fears and barriers. In any case, the Eight of Swords warns that we are suppressing something in ourselves. Although sometimes we can only talk about a temporary refusal of something or about a voluntary restriction based on completely reliable information.


Discover other Minor Arcana:

8 thoughts on “Eight of Swords Tarot Card Meanings”

  1. This interpretation of the Eight of Swords beautifully captures the essence of its symbolism. The imagery of a blindfolded woman surrounded by swords evokes a sense of entrapment and inner conflict, reflecting the mental barriers we often face in challenging situations. The author’s insight into the dual nature of the card, representing both limitations and opportunities for growth, offers a refreshing perspective. It reminds us that even in our most confined moments, there is potential for liberation and clarity.

  2. This card played out in an interesting way, like language barriers and restrictions – it is difficult for a person to speak a foreign language, but he has to find and vigorously communicate in a foreign language.

  3. Ꭲhese are genuineⅼy fantastic ideas in regarding ƅlogging. You have touched some pleasant pοints here. Any way keep up wrintіng.

  4. For me, 8 of swords are a symbol of internal barriers. As magicians say, damage is not subtle plans, it is in their heads))
    Similar mental blocks. Internal doubts, prohibitions and self-restraints

  5. Aw, thіs was an incredibly good post. Finding the time аnd actual effort to create a grеat article… but what can I say… I hesitatе a whole lot and never seem to get аnything done. I hope that Tarot can help with this.

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