8 of Swords- Restraint

Artemis  Artemis says:

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” – Richard Bach


Crowley’s Title: “Interference”
Tree of Life: Hod through Air
Astrology: Jupiter in the 1. decan of Gemini
Suit: Swords
Arcana:  Minor

Initial Impressions

ROAR!  Rattle rattle rattle.  The 8 of Swords is all about being tied up – chained up – caged up (sounding kinky already) by our own goddamn selves.

Self imposed restrictions is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the 8 of Swords.  8’s are eternal loops, like a lasso or a set of handcuffs, and because swords relate to the mind, the spider weaving them is your own head.  We don’t ever look to ourselves as our own enemy, believing that whatever stems from our own mind must be the truth of the way.  Sometimes we become cannibalistic with our own body and mind,  and tie ourselves up in ways that are unnecessary.

Oh the tangled webs we weave in order to keep ourselves from doing something or admitting something that may bring our world crashing down.  We will first exhaust ourselves completely using our mental faculties to keep our dying paradigm before we finally succumb to what every other sign in our life is trying to tell us.  Who wants to admit they have been going about it wrong?  Who wants to admit that the sticky situation they are in is partially their own fault?

This reminds me of my decision to leave Illinois when I was 22 years old.  I thought there was no fucking way out.  My parents would freak the fuck out and drive their way to the East Coast and bring me back.  I wasn’t going to be able to make it on my own.  I didn’t have the strength, or the intelligence, to make moves in a place like NYC.  I didn’t trust myself because of things that were ingrained in my head since I was a little kid.  I needed my parents, and the prison I build around myself because of the things they told me were – well – made of air.  That’s it, isn’t it?  The suit of swords is the suit of air, and it is always self imposed things.

I eventually dug deep into my heart and did what I, deep down, knew I had to do.  I dove in, even though my anxiety was telling me that I would regret my decisions.  My anxiety told me that I had thought of every single route out of Illinois and every single one would backfire on me and bring me right back – fucking boomarang.  But guess what?  I trusted my heart, and I took the leap of faith.  This card demands courage and honesty – with yourself and everyone around you.  The higher the intellect, the higher the ability to lie and manipulate.  Even yourself.  But remember one thing – the heart never lies.  It is a good metranome for your life, and it lead me right to where I needed to go…. Right out of that open door I couldn’t see because of my self imposed blindfold.

Rider-Wait Depiction

8 of Swords Rider Waite

8 of Swords Rider Waite

A woman stands in a desolate environment.  Her arms are bound and a blindfold is placed around her eyes.  There are 8 swords surrounding her with their tips buried into the ground.  A village stands in the background, up high on a hill and at quite a distance from the main character of this card.  The grays show us isolation, while the orange of her outfit and her immediate environment show us a Mercurial-intellectual element to this card.   There is a small stream at the woman’s feet that leads past the swords, showing the way out of the circling imprisonment.  There is a gap there, but the woman – being blindfolded – cannot see this and stands in one place.


The trick here is that you are being bound by your intellect and can only find the way out if you trust your emotions.  The mind has reached a barrier that only the heart – or faith – can get you out of.  Just as the swords are planted into the earth, her thoughts are buried and sealed.  Her own mind is her cage, and each thought has become rigid like bars – keeping her forever housed in her own skull.  She has mulled her ideas over and over, obsessively, until they have bound her tightly in an illusion of solidity.  Remember, this card is Jupiter in the 1. decan of Gemini, so an expansion of the mind.  This can be helpful when you are analyzing and attempting to dissect something completely, but it is not helpful when you cannot step out of it and become trapped in your own tool.

When you can’t come out the other side with your thinking, the trick is to try a different mode.

The small stream that the woman is standing in is leading her way out of the circle of swords.  She must trust her ability to follow it without being able to “see” where it will take her.  This is the leap of faith.  There is no one around her binding her.  There is no guard.  There is no village ready to burn her at the stake.  This is a self imposed prison, a self imposed isolation and restriction, that is hindering the woman.  The words are buried deep.  This card could indicate that words have been taken very seriously, and spun and mulled over so much that they have become a part of the structure of this individual’s life.  This card is sometimes a clear indication that the individual has taken a big blow to their self esteem and has some residual past issues that hold them back from acting from the heart – from their pride and self knowledge.

This person has shut down, and their self expression has been silenced by their own anxieties.  Instead of letting things glide off of them, they have implanted them.   She has attempted to think her way out of these horrible criticisms, but they have unfortunately turned into beliefs.  She now believes there is no way out of her situation, because, of course, she has thought of every possible fucking way out.  Essentially this card is like someone trying to scoop soup up with a fork instead of realizing the job is meant for a spoon.

The 8 of Swords is unproductive thinking.  When you pull this card, you must realize that your thoughts aren’t going to get you out of the situation.  You have fooled yourself, in some way – whether it is that you believe you have no say in a situation, or that you have had no contribution to a situation – you are fooling yourself into thinking there is no way out.  This card is an indication that you need to take back your own power, and you wont be released from your bindings until you do.  To free yourself, you must take a direct route – from the heart and from honesty – and stop fucking kidding yourself.  You know, in the end, you are the only thing holding yourself back.  You also know that the situation you are in is a result of you hiding a truth from yourself.

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