Eight Of Swords Tarot Card Meaning: Upright & Reversed

The Eight of Swords gets drawn when you’re feeling trapped, it shows a person blindfolded and bound, surrounded by swords. It symbolizes a state of mind where you feel stuck, blinded by fears and overwhelmed by restrictions, whether real or imagined. It challenges you to question the limitations you face: Are they truly insurmountable, or is it your perception holding you back? And when it’s in its reversed position, it shows a breakthrough, an awakening to empowerment, and the realization that you hold the key to your freedom.

Our exploration of the Eight of Swords will guide you through the maze of self-imposed barriers to find the light of self-belief, illuminating paths to liberation and self-discovery.

Numerology8, representing balance, determinations, strength of mind.
Zodiac SignGemini, which can signify the mental turmoil and indecision that leads to feeling trapped.
Ruling PlanetMercury, highlighting the mental aspect of being caught in a web of thoughts or overanalysis.
ElementAir, indicating the intellectual or mental constraints that prevent seeing a way out.
Yes or NoNo, suggesting a period of feeling stuck or constrained, with a need to look for new perspectives.
CrystalsClear Quartz (for clarity and breaking through mental blocks), Fluorite (for discernment and decision-making).

Symbolism Of The Eight Of Swords

  1. The Bound Woman: A woman in the middle of the card is blindfolded, surrounded by swords and seemingly trapped. It’s a sign of feeling stuck, and restricted by circumstances, thoughts, or emotions. The blindfold shows a lack of clarity or an inability to see the way out of predicaments
  2. The Swords: The eight swords are positioned in a way that encircles the lady, creating a cage or barrier. The swords represent mental constraints or beliefs that prevent the person from moving freely or seeing the situation clearly. They symbolize the obstacles we perceive around us, which are often of our own making.
  3. The Loose Bonds: When we look closely we see the bindings around the woman are oose, showing that escape is possible if she can only see it. This symbolizes that the limitations are more mental than physical and that liberation is achievable with a change of perspective.
  4. The Water: The water at the figure’s feet, symbolize emotions and intuition. It represents the emotional or subconscious aspects of the situation and hints that emotional insight is key to overcoming the perceived restrictions.
  5. The Castle or Distant Land: In the background, there is a castle on a mountain, symbolizing freedom, safety, or goals that seem out of reach due to the current situation. It’s a sign of the potential for liberation and the possibilities that lie beyond current constraints, but also of the work required to reach it.
  6. The Isolated Setting: The background is barren and isolated, emphasizing the feeling of being alone with your problems or thoughts. This isolation can symbolize the internal nature of the constraints and the need for internal solutions.
Eight Of Swords Symbolism

The Eight Of Swords Upright Meaning

The Eight of Swords in its upright position paints a vivid picture of feeling trapped and constrained, often by your own thoughts and perceptions. This card embodies the essence of being caught in a web of negative thinking, self-imposed restrictions, and a victim mentality that hampers your ability to see a way out. It suggests a period in your life where you feel powerless, as if your hands are tied, and every direction seems to lead to more uncertainty and constraint.

But at the core of the Eight of Swords is the theme of mental imprisonment. It’s as if you’re surrounded by barriers that, upon closer inspection, are of your own making. These may manifest as fears, doubts, or limiting beliefs that convince you of your helplessness, making it difficult to move forward or to see the possibilities that lie beyond your current situation. This card challenges you to examine the thoughts and patterns that are keeping you in this state of paralysis, urging you to question their validity and to consider whether they are truly insurmountable obstacles or simply illusions of your mind.

Eight Of Swords Upright Meaning

Feeling trapped and paralyzed by circumstances are the other themes of the Eight of Swords, reflecting a sense of being stuck in a situation that feels beyond your control. This state of helplessness can be debilitating, making it hard to take action or make decisions that could lead to your liberation. The card serves as a reminder that while you may not have control over every aspect of your life, you do have the power to change your perspective and to take steps, however small, towards reclaiming your autonomy.

And there’s also a victim mentality highlighted by the Eight of Swords which is a call to recognize how identifying too strongly with a sense of powerlessness can further entrench you in a cycle of despair and inaction. It’s an invitation to shift your viewpoint from one of victimhood to one of empowerment, to see yourself as an active participant in your life rather than a passive observer. This mental shift can be the key to breaking free from the chains of negative thinking and self-imposed limitations.

In short, the Eight of Swords is a powerful message about the impact of our thoughts and beliefs on our experience of reality. It asks you to confront the ways in which you might be limiting yourself through negative self-talk and unfounded fears. By recognizing that the prison door is unlocked—that the power to free yourself lies within—you can begin to move beyond the confines of your current mindset. You need to embrace your inner strength, to challenge your perceived limitations, and to step into a space of freedom and possibility. Remember, the first step towards change is believing that it’s possible.

Love and Relationships

The Eight of Swords in love and relationships means there’s a feeling of being trapped or restricted, possibly due to communication barriers or unresolved emotional issues. For couples, it could mean that both partners may feel stifled, unable to express their true feelings or to see a way forward together. It’s crucial to break down these mental barriers and to open up channels of honest communication.

For singles, it shows there may be a period of self-imposed isolation or a belief that love is out of reach due to past hurts. It’s a reminder to challenge these limiting beliefs and to open your heart to the possibility of love, recognizing that past experiences don’t dictate your future.

Career and Finances

In career and finances, the Eight of Swords highlights feelings of being stuck in an unsatisfying job or financial situation, largely due to a mindset that sees no way out. It reflects the paralysis that comes from fear of making changes or taking risks. You need to reassess your situation with a fresh perspective, to recognize that you have more options than you think. Small, calculated steps towards change can lead to significant improvements in your professional and financial life.


Spiritually, the Eight of Swords points to a phase of introspection where you may feel hindered by self-doubt or limiting beliefs about your spiritual path. So free yourself from the mental blocks that prevent you from exploring your spirituality fully. By questioning these self-imposed restrictions, you can embark on a journey of spiritual discovery and growth that aligns more closely with your true self.

Yes or No

For a yes or no question, the Eight of Swords right now is a ‘no,’ implying that now may not be the time for action due to the constraints you’re feeling. First you need to address the mental barriers and fears that are holding you back. Recognizing and working through these limitations can eventually open the path to a more affirmative answer, paving the way for action when the time is right.

Book Recommendation – Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns

Based on CBT this workbook helps to guide you in identifying and challenging negative thought patterns that contribute to feelings of helplessness and entrapment. If you’re feeling stuck and limited by your own thinking, it’s a powerful tool for breaking free from your self-imposed mental prisons.

The Eight Of Swords Reversed Meaning

When the Eight of Swords is reversed in your reading, it heralds a significant shift from entrapment to empowerment. It signals that you’re beginning to break free from the chains of negative thinking and self-imposed limitations that have held you captive. It’s a potent reminder that the power to change your circumstances lies within you, encouraging a journey of facing fears, embracing new perspectives, and reclaiming your sense of control over your life.

The reversal also signifies a period of awakening, where you recognize that the bars of your mental prison are not as solid as they once seemed. You’re now seeing ways to untangle yourself from the web of doubts and fears that have kept you feeling stuck. This card celebrates your willingness to confront what has been holding you back, marking the start of a journey towards personal freedom and empowerment.

Taking control of your situation is another key theme of the Eight of Swords reversed. You’re no longer content to be a passive observer in your own life. Instead, you’re ready to take decisive action, to make choices that align with your true self, and to steer your life in the direction you desire. This newfound assertiveness is a testament to your growth and the strength you’ve found in acknowledging and facing your limitations head-on.

And facing fears is another crucial aspect of this card’s message. The Eight of Swords reversed encourages you to confront the things that scare you, understanding that courage isn’t the absence of fear but the determination to move forward in spite of it. This process of facing your fears is transformative, allowing you to expand your boundaries and to experience the liberation that comes from stepping into the unknown.

Eight Of Swords Reversed Meaning

Feeling empowered and being open to new perspectives are the rewards of the work you’re doing to free yourself from your mental constraints. This card reflects a significant increase in your self-confidence and belief in your capabilities. It’s a reminder that empowerment comes from within and that by changing your perspective, you can change your reality. The Eight of Swords reversed invites you to remain open to new ways of thinking and being, to embrace flexibility in your attitudes and beliefs, and to allow this openness to guide you towards greater fulfillment and happiness.

However, the Eight of Swords reversed can also caution against falling back into self-limiting beliefs. While you’ve made significant progress, this card reminds you to stay vigilant against the old patterns of thought that may still try to pull you back. It’s an encouragement to continuously challenge and question the narratives you tell yourself, ensuring that you don’t unconsciously rebuild the walls you’ve worked so hard to tear down.

In short, the Eight of Swords reversed is a powerful affirmation of your journey from restriction to liberation. It celebrates your courage to face your fears, to challenge your self-imposed limitations, and to embrace a life of empowerment and possibility. By taking control, facing your fears, and opening yourself to new perspectives, you pave the way for a future defined by freedom, growth, and the true expression of your potential. Remember, the key to your liberation has always been in your hands.

Love and Relationships

When it comes to love and relationships, the Eight of Swords reversed signifies a breakthrough in communication. If you’re in a relationship, you need to focus on overcoming previous misunderstandings and deepening your connection through honesty and openness. Singles, however, may find themselves breaking free from the fears and doubts that have hindered their ability to connect with others, opening their hearts to new possibilities in love. In either case, embrace vulnerability as a strength, allowing for more authentic and fulfilling connections.

Career and Finances

For your career or finances, the Eight of Swords reversed shows now is a period of taking bold steps towards career advancement or financial stability. It asks you to move past your self-doubt and perceived limitations to pursue your professional goals with confidence. This may involve seeking new opportunities, negotiating for what you’re worth, or even starting a new business venture. Financially, it’s a call to break free from past constraints, and taking a proactive approach to managing your resources more effectively and creating a sense of security and abundance.


Spiritually, the Eight of Swords reversed marks a significant milestone in your personal growth journey. It reflects the liberation from limiting beliefs that have prevented you from fully exploring your spiritual path. It invites you to shed the fears that have kept you from embracing your true spiritual potential, encouraging a deeper exploration of your beliefs and practices. It’s a reminder that spiritual liberation comes from within, urging you to seek your own truth and to trust in your inner guidance.

Yes or No

For a yes or no question, the Eight of Swords is a ‘yes,’ showing that liberation from previous constraints is not only possible but imminent. The time is right to move forward with actions that were previously held back by doubts or fears. So proceed with confidence, trusting in your newfound sense of empowerment and the clarity you’ve gained from confronting and overcoming your limitations.

Book Recommendation – The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

The Universe Has Your Back is going to help you trust not only the universe but also your own intuition. It’s a source of inspiration and guidance for those who are ready to overcome self-doubt and take the leap towards their dreams, which resonates perfectly with the Eight of Swords reversed’s message of embracing faith and taking action.

Journaling Prompts For The Eight Of Swords

Being bound by your own thoughts is such a horrible place to be in. But if you start to look at these thoughts in-depth you can usually overcome them! Here are some great journaling prompts to think about if you’ve drawn the Eight of Swords.

  1. Think of a current situation where you feel stuck or trapped. What beliefs or thoughts are contributing to this feeling?
  2. Think about the fears and anxieties that are holding you back. How do these fears affect your decisions and actions?
  3. What area of your life are you being held back by self-imposed limitations. And what can you do to break free from this?
  4. Think about a time when you took action to overcome a feeling of powerlessness. What motivated you, and what was the result?
  5. Can you remember a time when looking for support from others helped you stop feeling trapped? What was it about this situation that helped things change.

Final Message Of The Eight Of Swords

Look closely. Are you truly trapped, or are you holding the key to your own freedom? You only see the limitations, challenges, and fears that confine you. But do not forget the vast sky above, open and boundless. The blindfold, though covering your eyes, is not fastened tight. You have the power to lift it, to see the truth of your situation. The path might not be easy, but it exists.

Take a deep breath, feel the ground beneath your feet, and remember your inner strength. Are the limitations external, or self-imposed? Are you giving away your power, believing yourself helpless? Challenge those thoughts. Look for alternative perspectives, seek guidance if needed. Remember, even the smallest step forward breaks the chains of self-doubt. The storm within you might rage, but beyond it lies the sunshine. Do not be afraid to move, to explore, to break free from your perceived prison. You are stronger than you think, and freedom awaits those who dare to claim it.


To sum it up the Eight of Swords symbolizes feeling trapped by your own negative thoughts and the limitations you’ve have set for yourself. It urges introspection on the limiting beliefs that keep you from moving forward and challenges you to question these mental barriers and consider them as illusions rather than insurmountable obstacles.

When reversed, the Eight of Swords signifies a shift towards liberation from your mental confines, showing an awakening to new possibilities and the reclaiming of your personal power. It marks a phase of taking control, facing fears, and embracing change with courage and openness. It encourages proactive steps towards personal freedom and empowerment, reminding you of the importance of staying vigilant against falling back into old, limiting patterns of thought.

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About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio, Owner & Editor of the Fools Journey!

I've been reading Tarot Cards/Getting my tarot read for over 10 years now! For me, what started out as a bit of fun and scepticism, has since grown into such a passion for me.

Tarot Cards are not just a great source of inspiration, but also comfort, and I love using them to help get in touch with the higher powers that are here to guide me through life!

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