Eight of Swords UW

Today’s message comes in the form of the Eight of Swords from the Universal Waite Tarot. This is a card that I find interpretations are all over the board for. I’m not really sure why that is, but it certainly seems to be the case. Well, today you’ll get the Gingery take on this card! 

I absolutely love the striking imagery of Pamela Coleman Smith’s artwork of this card. She appears to be fully bound and isolated. Notice that she is surrounded by swords as well. Where she is she likely feels that she is hopelessly trapped with no way out. The swords represent the intellectual side of life. In this card I see them as potential dangers around the woman. They are things that can do her real harm, but notice she has a way to walk out if only she can remove her blindfold and truly assess the situation for what it is. 

One thing that I’ve always found striking in this card is the fact that the cloth that binds her appears to be quite loose. It’s almost as if she is holding them tight to herself behind her back. Because of this I always see this card as a self-imposed bondage based on fear, a fear of seeing things as they truly are. You see, there are times in life that our fears blind us to the situation around us and the reality of what’s going on in our life. In these times we find ourselves in bondage to our own minds, even if it doesn’t necessarily feel that way. The Eight of Swords is asking us to open our eyes to that truth. You see, sometimes it is harder to accept that we are the cause of our bondage and let go than it is to simply hold on and blame everything else around us. 

The Eight of Swords is asking you to take off the blinders and assess the truth of the situation. This can be scary, and typically is, but it is absolutely worth it. When assessing a situation objectively rather than emotionally we are often able to find that we have options we weren’t previously aware of. 

When meditating on this card think a bit about where you are in life. Are there things that you feel bound and imprisoned by? Does it seem next to impossible to see the truth? If so, take off the blinders and look at the situation for what it is. Try to remove as much as emotion as possible and look at the situation objectively, including those places where you may be causing some of the issues in your life. Once this is done you may see that there are options you weren’t aware you had. The Eight of Swords is a tough and demanding card, but it’s definitely one to pay attention to! 


The Universal Waite Tarot is a fantastic version of the classic Rider-Waite with the original artwork of Pamela Coleman Smith recolored by Mary Hanson-Roberts. To add this stunning deck to your collection follow the links on this page or click the image below!