The 8 of Swords is one of the most challenging cards to receive in a Tarot reading. It often signifies being trapped, restricted, and unable to break free from limiting beliefs or situations. Despite its difficult meaning, the 8 of Swords brings an important message: it’s time to overcome inner demons, break free from self-imposed restrictions, and reclaim your personal power.

In this complete guide to the 8 of Swords meanings, we’ll explore its upright and reversed across the major areas of life: love, career, finances, health, and spirituality. You’ll gain insight into the card’s numerology, astrological associations, and how to interpret it in yes/no questions. We’ll also look at powerful card combinations and unique 8 of Swords designs.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a deep understanding of the 8 of Swords – empowering you to transform difficulty into opportunity on your path ahead.

8 of Swords Key Facts

Upright Meaning Feeling trapped, restricted, powerless
Reversed Meaning Breaking free, seeing solutions, reclaiming power
Yes or No No
Numerology 8
Element Air
Planet Mercury
Astrological Sign Gemini

8 of Swords Tarot Card Description

The Rider-Waite 8 of Swords shows a woman bound and blindfolded, surrounded by 8 upright swords. Her hands are tied behind her back and her expression conveys sadness, fear or dejection. She is situated in a landscape with storm clouds overhead, reinforcing her difficult predicament.

Despite feeling trapped, if she removed the blindfold she would see that there are gaps between the swords. The bindings around her wrists are also loose, indicating that she could free herself if she found the confidence.

The 8 of Swords reflects painful restriction and lack of clarity. However, like the woman in the card, the solution lies in changing your perspective. You have more power than you realize – it’s time to claim it.

The Upright 8 of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

The Upright 8 of Swords Tarot Card Meaning
The Upright 8 of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

When the 8 of Swords appears upright in a Tarot reading, its core meanings are feeling trapped in a situation, restricted and powerless to see solutions. Let’s explore what this means for different areas of life:

Love Relationships

Upright, the 8 of Swords in regards to relationships represents feeling trapped, smothered or limited by negative patterns. You or your partner may feel stuck in anxiety, distrust or obsessive behaviors that undermine intimacy. There could be controlling dynamics, co-dependence or withdrawal.

This card can also reflect feeling isolated and unable to connect meaningfully with others. You may feel lonely or like your needs are misunderstood which breeds resentment. Overall, the 8 of Swords points to relationship challenges created by limited perspectives and fears rather than love.


In career Tarot spreads, the upright 8 of Swords cautions against remaining trapped in unfulfilling jobs due to fear, low self-worth or a scarcity mindset. Feelings of professional isolation, depression or lack of recognition may predominate.

Alternatively, this card can reflect feeling powerless and restricted by difficult work environments or management styles. Bureaucratic red tape, corporate policies or rigid structures may hinder creativity and potential. The 8 of Swords urges reassessing career options with brutal honesty.


Regarding finances, the 8 of Swords upright foretells being trapped in debt, bad investments or poverty consciousness. You may feel powerless to improve your financial situation or bound by fears like “money doesn’t grow on trees”.

This card can also point to financial codependency in relationships or poor money management skills. There is a sense of confusion around budgeting, savings and building wealth. Seeking sound financial advice is recommended to escape restrictive thinking.


In health Tarot readings, an upright 8 of Swords often signals mental health issues like anxiety, depression or stalled healing. You may feel trapped in destructive thought loops that undermine physical wellbeing. Alternatively, physical mobility issues or chronic pain can restrict activity and lower spirits.

On a deeper level, this card reflects limiting beliefs about the body or health which become self-fulfilling prophecies. Challenging negative thought patterns and self-care will help move beyond these restrictions into greater health and healing.


Spiritually, the upright 8 of Swords suggests feeling disconnected from your intuition and inner wisdom. Rigid belief systems or fears of the unknown may trap you from exploring your metaphysical gifts and potentials.

You may also wrestle with doubts, confusion or a sense of isolation on your spiritual path. Meditation, inner work and support can help you break free from restricted spiritual sight and reclaim your inner power.

The Reversed 8 of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

The Reversed 8 of Swords Tarot Card Meaning
The Reversed 8 of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

When the 8 of Swords appears reversed in a Tarot reading, the overall meaning is freeing yourself from restrictions, reclaiming clarity and seeing solutions. Let’s explore its specific meanings:

Love Relationships

The reversed 8 of Swords in relationships indicates breaking free of negative relationship patterns, removing limitations and rediscovering intimacy. Constructive communication allows you to resolve issues, express your needs and enjoy quality time together.

If you’ve felt lonely or misunderstood, reaching out to your partner or support network helps you feel connected again. Shared activities and adventures also counter past isolation. This card empowers you to create relationships of mutual understanding.


Regarding career, the reversed 8 of Swords is an empowering omen of breaking free from unfulfilling or restrictive work situations. Instead of remaining trapped in lack of options, you courageously make much needed career changes through assertiveness and vision.

By acknowledging professional strengths and passions, you can manifest more meaningful work. Improved work/life balance also brings greater wellbeing. Overall, the reversed 8 of Swords inspires escaping career doldrums through clarity and self-belief.


Financially, the reversed 8 of Swords indicates freeing yourself from debt burdens, poverty thinking and financial codependency in relationships. Drawing healthy financial boundaries allows you to manage money responsibly.

Seeking skilled financial guidance assists in developing budgets, savings plans and investments. Education also improves money management and attitudes around wealth. Overall, this card empowers escaping restrictive financial patterns.


For health, the reversed 8 of Swords reflects freeing yourself from limiting thoughts, stagnant behaviors or chronic issues that undermine wellbeing. Breaking free from destructive thought loops allows healing and progress.

Counseling or support groups can help transform negative health perspectives while increased activity improves mobility. Taking control of your healthcare, diet and self-care boosts physical and mental health. This card signifies removed obstacles to greater wellness.


In spiritual contexts, the reversed 8 of Swords indicates breaking free from rigid belief systems and embracing your metaphysical gifts. Releasing fears around developing intuition allows you to connect with inner wisdom for guidance and support.

Exploring new spiritual practices beyond past limitations helps you draw closer to the Divine. By moving beyond previous restrictive perspectives, this card empowers reclaiming your spiritual sight and potentials in empowering ways.

8 of Swords Tarot Card in Yes or No Questions

The 8 of Swords strongly signifies no in yes/no Tarot questions. Upright, its energies of feeling trapped and restricted imply obstacles or delays to desired outcomes. Even reversed, its meaning of breaking free of limitations suggests the situation remains challenging.

That said, context matters in yes/no readings. Surrounding cards indicating movement or beneficial change can temper the 8 of Sword’s challenging influence. As always, combine its core meanings with your own intuition when interpreting.

8 of Swords Tarot Card and Numerology

In Tarot numerology, the number 8 is linked to abundance, success and inner wisdom. Yet it also warns against extremes. The 8 of Swords echoes this in how limiting beliefs create scarcity rather than abundance.

The number 8 breaks down to 1+7, reducing to 8 again. This doubling of its energies reflects the self-imposed restrictions depicted in the card. Yet the ultimate number 8 reminds us of the power within to transform difficulties into success through inner reflection.

8 of Swords Tarot Card and Astrology

8 of Swords Tarot Card and Astrology
8 of Swords Tarot Card and Astrology

Astrologically, the 8 of Swords is connected with the zodiac sign of Gemini. Gemini is represented by the Twins and rules duality, choices, perception and communication.

The Twins symbolize the two paths before the woman in the 8 of Swords: remaining trapped by fears or breaking free into clarity. Gemini’s shifting perceptions are reflected in how the woman could escape if she changed her perspective.

The card’s air element of intellectual thought also aligns with Gemini. However, excessive thoughts can become limiting beliefs unless balanced with wisdom. Gemini’s ruling planet Mercury adds discipline and discernment to transform the 8 of Swords from confusion to clarity.

8 of Swords Tarot Card Combinations

8 of Swords + The Devil: Feeling powerless to escape toxic attachments, patterns or addictions. Breaking limiting chains.

8 of Swords + 3 of Swords: Heartbreak, grief and emotional trauma. Healing past pain to find hope again.

8 of Swords + 8 of Pentacles: Feeling trapped in dull work. Finding meaning and freedom through skilled dedication.

8 of Swords + Queen of Swords: A perceptive, forthright woman assists in seeing solutions. Objective advice to overcome blindness.

8 of Swords + Ace of Swords: Mental clarity and breakthrough thinking to liberate yourself from restrictions into truth.

8 of Swords + Strength: Compassion and courage to address fears for self-empowerment. Releasing perceived limitations.

8 of Swords Tarot Card Designs

The 8 of Swords has been illustrated in stunning ways across various Tarot decks, while retaining its core meanings. Some noteworthy designs include:

  • The Haindl Tarot features a woman wrapped in burial bindings, conveying the grave feeling of being trapped. Its muted color palette enhances her isolation.
  • The mystic Dreaming Way Tarot depicts a blindfolded woman bowing before religious figures, suggesting spiritual restrictions. Her inner light glows despite limitations.
  • The Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot shows a woman bound and kneeling within a fence, reinforcing feelings of confinement. The outer rings symbolize moving beyond limitations.
  • The beautiful Shadowscapes Tarot conveys a masked woman in a cage surrounded by thorns. A key hangs nearby, representing latent power to escape.
  • The highly symbolic Alchemical Tarot illustrates a woman immersed in a cube of ice. Its frosty rigidity reflects frozen perspectives that can be melted through inner fire.


Is the 8 of Swords a negative card?

The 8 of Swords has challenging energies but also empowers you to overcome limitations. It reminds you that you have more power to free yourself than you realize.

How can I tell if the 8 of Swords is reversed?

Look for visual cues the figure is breaking free such as unbound hands and feet or removing the blindfold. Bright colors also suggest reversed energies. Upside down orientations can further signal a reversal.

What card represents feeling trapped or restricted?

The 8 of Swords is the Tarot’s foremost ‘feeling trapped’ card. The 8 of Wands can also reflect delays. The Devil may reveal addictions or toxic patterns that bind you. The 7 of Swords denotes feeling trapped by deception.

What does the 8 of Swords mean in a love reading?

The 8 of Swords in love Tarot readings cautions against relationships limited by distrust, control issues, withdrawal or unhealthy attachments. However, it empowers transcending these patterns through courage, communication and self-reflection.

Key Takeaways

  • The 8 of Swords represents feeling trapped, powerless and unable to break free due to limiting beliefs, fears or confusion.
  • Reversed, this card signifies escaping restrictions, reclaiming personal power and seeing solutions clearly.
  • In love, the 8 of Swords points to relationships restricted by negative patterns rather than healthy bonds.
  • For career, finances and health, this card reflects stagnation, scarcity mindsets and mental blocks that undermine potential.
  • Spiritually, the upright 8 of Swords reflects rigid perspectives that hinder metaphysical growth while reversed points to embracing intuition.
  • Despite its challenging meanings, the 8 of Swords ultimately empowers one to overcome perceived restrictions through clarity, courage and self-empowerment.


The 8 of Swords is a transformative Tarot card. At first it may seem negative or depressing. But looking deeper, its core message is that you have more power than you realize – you simply need to access it.

When this card appears in a reading, be willing to look honestly at ways you may be trapped by limited perspectives, fears or stagnation. Then bravely expand your outlook, embrace support and move forward with renewed clarity and purpose. You hold the key.

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