Today I did a meditation on the Eight of Swords. I pulled this card from four different decks, each of which can be seen above. To me the similarities and the differences in these cards are amazing. They each tell a very different version of the same story, but they are, in the end, the same story. The story of the Eight of Swords is one of self-defeat and self-restraint. In each card we see an image of someone bound in some way with eight swords surrounding them. Each one of them is close enough to the swords to cut the restraints on them at any moment. It’s unclear if they are all aware of this or not, though. I want to highlight a few things in each of the images then talk about the Eight of Swords and its message today.
First, I want to point out the Ellis DecK and how the figure there is quite calm and content and is choosing to keep her eyes closed. She is a fascinating one to me because she is very clearly aware that she could open her eyes and change her situation, but she seems quite content not to. You see, in this situation she is able to relax, and even though it’s very uncomfortable, she gives herself the freedom to say it’s out of her hands, whereas if she opens her eyes and acknowledges the truth of her situation then the ball is in her court and she must take responsibility for remaining stuck.
Next the Tarot Mucha shows a woman bound outside of a castle with swords all around her. She is, unlike the figure of the Ellis DecK, completely unaware of the swords around her or the reality of her predicament. From her vantage point she likely feels completely bound and isolated without even realizing that the means to her escape are all around her. For her freedom means accepting her situation and feeling around in the darkness for what is available to her.
The Healing Light Tarot shows a figure floating above eight swords only bound by the web she finds herself trapped in. In this way it is very similar to the Ellis DecK. What we can’t see here, though, is if she can see what’s around her or not. However, what we can see is that there is a healing mandorla hovering over the swords indicating them as her freedom. Not only that, but her hand is literally inches away from the nearest sword requiring her to only reach out and grab it and freedom is hers.
The final, and most striking image in my opinion, comes from the Anna K. Tarot. Here we see a woman who is quite free looking into a mirror and seeing a familiar bound figure surrounded by eight swords. The woman may look free and may feel free, but the reality is that she is just as bound as those figures of the previous three cards. Hers is entirely internally. She is mentally binding herself to her insecurities and isn’t allowing part of her soul and spirit to truly be free and be what it is meant to be.
So, what do all of these have to do with everyday life? They speak to a need to free ourselves. You see, often times in life we are our own worst enemies. We bind ourselves, unknowingly many times, and won’t allow ourselves to truly thrive or live as the best and truest versions of ourselves. In each of these cards we see figures choosing, in one way or another, to remain bound. Each is entirely aware of their situation, but each is choosing in a different way to remain there. In our lives how often do we have something that we truly desire, or feel bound by something be it financially, a job situation, a situation with friends, etc, but deep down we know there is a way to change things. Yet, to make those changes would require us to do things that we are either unwilling to do or things that would be challenging to do. Sometimes the change required is actually quite an easy one, but it would require us to stop telling ourselves the stories that we use to comfort ourselves, such as, “It’s out of my control. What will be will be.” While that’s quite an easy story to tell ourselves, it’s also a story that lets us off the hook and removes and responsibility for our situation from ourselves. This is exactly what each version of the Eight of Swords has in common.
The Eight of Swords appearing today suggests that there is an area in your life where this is exactly what is happening. Something needs to change. You likely feel bound in some way by something. The Eight of Swords is a powerful message that you have everything you need directly in your grasp to change this. All it requires is an intentional change in your mindset and through patterns to see the instrument of your freedom. Does this mean there won’t be work involved? Definitely not. There will most certainly be work involved. Changing patterns and breaking free from self-imposed prisons is never easy. It is, however, impossible until we awaken to the two facts that we are choosing to remain stuck and that the tools to break free are already with us.
This message, while it can be challenging and difficult, is actually quite a positive one! It’s a message that we have the ability already within us to change our lives for the better. We can change the stories we tell ourselves, for that’s exactly what they are: stories. We are the masters of our lives and we can do amazing things if we only open our eyes and accept what is. Does this mean we have to do this work? No, we can choose to remain where we are. However, once we know the reality of the situation what once comforted us rarely does anymore since we now know it for the illusion that it is. Once we take time to do the work, however, we will begin to see that amazing beauty that we have the ability to create when we open our eyes to the amazing power we have.