Exploring the Eight of Swords

Welcome to Tarot Thursdays! This week we will be exploring the Eight of Swords and how it can be used as a prompt or brainstorming in our writing.

Tarot is an interesting thing. It’s based upon symbolism and metaphors through imagery. With these images the subconscious mind is tapped into through the story provided. Not everyone gets the same thing from a piece of art. Each piece will influence each person in a slightly different way.


Introduction of the Card

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The Eight of Swords is card number 57 in the deck and the eighth card of the Swords Suit in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot.

Let’s take a look at the following examples of this card below.


Card Examples

L-s8Notice the similarities between them and take note of their differences. Do any of these move you more than the others? Take your time and allow these cards to tell you their story.


My Analysis of These Cards

Once again the Dragon Tarot card is distinctly different, but this time I get why and understand what it’s trying to convey. Here the dragon is blindfolded and clutching its head. Whatever struggle is going on is internal for this dragon. It’s as though the creature is trapped in its head.

The rest of the cards show various scenes of entanglements where the individual feels powerless or confused. The thing I find most striking is the sense of vulnerability in the Tarot of Dreams card. The woman is naked and trapped in a bubble hovering over the swords. Like any moment the bubble could burst and she could be impaled if she isn’t careful. This card includes a sense of urgency to the scene for me.

And yes, it is due to the nature of the Tarot of Dreams card that I chose to break away from my pattern and not use it for my thumbnail for this post.


Themes of the Card

Each card has a set of keywords associated with it that serve as themes for its image. These keywords will vary somewhat depending on who you ask.

According to the Learning the Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:

  • RESTRICTION
  • CONFUSION
  • POWERLESSNESS

You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.

According to the Biddy Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:

  • ISOLATION
  • SELF-IMPOSED RESTRICTION
  • IMPRISONMENT

You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.


What this Card Means to Me

There are many ways and reasons we can find ourselves feeling like this. Maybe we painted ourselves into a corner. Perhaps we got ourselves caught up in a family feud we didn’t really want to be a part of. Worst case scenario is we find ourselves in an abusive relationship or toxic environment and can’t see our way out.

The list goes on but the bottom line is, whatever our situation is we feel like our hands are tied and that we have no good solutions for it. This goes for problems big and small.

The keyword I choose for this card is: ENTANGLEMENT.


Music Playlist

In this spirit of all this, these are the songs I have picked out for this card.


The Writing Exercise

This exercise is a free write. Permit yourself to write whatever comes to mind based upon the theme of this card. Choose a keyword or key phrase and run with it to see what you come up with.


I would love it if you linked or pinged back what you wrote so I could see where you went with this.

Happy writing!


Mythic Tarot by Liz Greene (Author), Juliet Sharman-Burke (Author), Tricia Newell (Illustrator) © 1989
Dragon Tarot by Terry Donaldson (Author), Peter Pracownik (Author) © 1996
Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo (Author), R. De Angelis (Illustrator), A. E. Waite (Designer) © 2001
Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti (Author), Lee Bursten (Author) © 2015

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