Eight of Swords
In the Eight of Swords, we see a woman, bound and blindfolded, standing amongst eight swords, the sky is grey and overcast and there are no signs of life or vegetation anywhere. The atmosphere is very downtrodden. In the background stands a castle high atop a rocky cliff.
When the Eight of Swords appears, it almost always reflects our own personal way of thinking. We find ourselves in a situation quite unsatisfactory, with the thought that we have no way out. The blindfold and bindings lead us to believe that our hands are tied, no available options are in sight. We are trapped in a prison.
However, upon closer inspection, the swords do not surround the woman, she is not caged in. She does have options, however there is the possibility that you have come to a point where you do not like any of your options, or none seem suitable to you. This can be unfortunate, though it does not mean that you don't have any choice. It can mean that you are facing very difficult and challenging circumstances that are going to take quite a bit of effort on your part to surmount, usually at a personal cost of some sort. You will likely have to give up, or let go of something that you do not want to, in order to get the desired result. We can't always have it all.
In a relationship, you may feel that your hands are tied, and you are stuck. In all reality, you can go, but you know you are leaving the relationship, and the hope that it would improve, behind you. You are making a sacrifice. It's hard. In work, if you feel you are in a dead-end job, with an oppressive boss that holds you down, you are free to look for another job. The personal cost is having to start over elsewhere and build up your benefits, credentials, work your way up the ladders again, ect ect. There is almost always another way, it's just that we don't like the consequences and sacrifices that we must make when we make those choices.
Many times the circumstances we find ourselves in are self-imposed, just as the woman's suffering. She really does have the power to leave, if she can see her situation clearly for what it is, and the same applies to you. You may be in a situation that unfortunately, you have created for yourself through your own actions, or lack of actions. Unfortunately, and as difficult as it is, it is time for you to pull yourself up, get it together, take responsibility for your choices, and do something about it. It may not be easy, but not everything in life is, and if you have created this situation for yourself, you need to be a big enough person to get yourself out of it. That includes being complacent, and staying in a situation that you know you should have left a long time ago. It may be a lot harder to do now, but it's still on you. Do not be the princess awaiting a rescue. You need to be a big kid and rescue yourself when this card shows up. It's likely that you find yourself in this situation as a result of your own actions. That may be hard to accept, but you need to face facts and look for the most straight forward way out of this mess.
Finally, this card can show an extreme mental fog. Again, swords are mental energy. You could be not seeing a situation clearly for what it is, and unable to make a good decision at this time because of this. This card can be a warning to "wake up and smell the roses". You need to take off the blindfold and see the situation clearly for what it is before you try to make any decisions. What do you get out of feeling "stuck"? You need to open your mind up and look at this situation in a new way.
Eight of Swords Reversed
When the Eight of Swords appears reversed, this is a time of freeing yourself. The blindfold comes off and you are able to see your situation much more clearly now! Indeed, you are NOT trapped by anything or anyone else. You have your own personal power back and are able to figure out a way out of the situation. You recognize that you were not truly trapped, you just felt like you were, and you recognize that the limiting circumstances were self-imposed. They were either a result of your own poor choices, which you are not owning up to and correcting, giving you more options, or you have decided that you won't be a victim to anyone or anything any longer, and you are doing what you have to do to get yourself going!
Because you are thinking much more clearly now, you are able to see old problems in a new light, and take a different approach to problem-solving, you are facing them with inner strength (this is an 8 card remember) and tackling them head on. You have abandoned the victim mentality, and even if you were constrained in a situation where you felt you were being held down in some way by another, you have decided that the princess doesn't need to wait for a rescue; she can abandon the glass slippers, throw on her sneakers and take a hike all on her own! What you used to see as obstacles, you now see as challenges that you are determined to overcome. You have changed your belief patterns, or are on the brink of making these changes.