The Eight of Swords can represent feeling trapped, confined, restricted or backed into a corner or having your hands tied. It signifies fear, terror, anxiety and psychological issues. It is a Minor Arcana card of hopelessness, helplessness, powerlessness, slavery, persecution and being silenced or censored.
A little like the Devil, this the Eight of Swords gives us a picture of bondage. It presents a figure with their hands tied, blindfolded, surrounded by sharp swords. This can be a difficult card to see emerge in a spread for it is a card that demands you investigate your status as a victim and acknowledge your own role in any possible downfalls that may be occurring around you.
To gain more understanding of how we might see this energetic play out it helps to see through the eyes of two Australian women who felt trapped and bound by the imprisonment and public judgements that they endured. Both were victimized and faced an overwhelming sense of powerlessness.
On August 17, 1980, at a campsite near Australia’s famous Ayer’s Rock, a mother’s cry came out of the dark: “My God, my God, the dingo’s got my baby!” Soon the people of an entire continent would be choosing sides in a debate over whether the cry heard that night marked an astonishing and rare human fatality caused by Australia’s wild dogs or was, rather, in the words of the man who would eventually prosecute her for murder, “a calculated, fanciful lie.” A jury of nine men and three women came to believe the latter story and convicted Lindy Chamberlain for the murder of her ten-week-old daughter, Azaria.
There is no question that the Azaria Chamberlain case, the subject of film with Meryl Streep taking the role of Lindy Chamberlain, remains one of the most famous Australian trials. It is a story that still captures the imagination of the media.
The Chamberlains fought to prove their innocence, until they reached the end of all legal means available to them. But suddenly, bowing to multiple pressures, the Northern Territory released Lindy and established a Royal Commission to review all the evidence. Ultimately, the Chamberlain’s convictions were quashed and they were exonerated. Four years later they received some compensation.
Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about the Chamberlain case is that it helps us address both the upright and reversed interpretations of this card.
On the Labyrinthos site it states that “getting the reversed Eight of Swords is a good sign, since it shows maturity and self-acceptance, and a recognition of one’s own power and responsibility – especially after a long struggle of doubt. It means that one is capable of making conscious decisions because they are confident in who they are, and their power to affect change in both themselves and the world. It’s time to free ones self from the past and proverbially clear out their closet, creating room for new things and experiences”.
Lindy Chamberlain is a remarkable example of someone who was able to rebuild after such unimaginable suffering. Likewise, Schapelle Corby is another woman who helps shed light on the energy of the 8 of Swords, be it upright or reversed.
In 2007, Schapelle Corby was traveling with her brother and two friends from Brisbane to Bali, via Sydney. When she arrived at the airport in Denpasar, she was stopped by customs officers and found to have 4.2kg of cannabis concealed in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag in her unlocked bodyboard bag. Like Lindy Chamberlain before her, Corby became one of Australia’s most divisive characters, after being convicted in 2005. She spent nine years imprisoned on the Indonesian island of Bali in Kerobokan Prison.
Since her release and return to Australia she has been in the news again as she tries to prove her innocence. Whether she is guilty or innocent is of little consequence here. The key is to consider what her case and her handling of her sentence tells us about the 8 of Swords and how we might face such situations.
Facing an Eight of Swords Moment?
8 of Swords key words: restriction, self sabotage, isolation, vulnerability
Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Stories of Hope
Turn to a Hopi Goddess
As we explore the energy of the Eight of Swords it can be helpful to seek advice from a Goddess. The Eight of Swords in the Dark Goddess Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince features the Hopi Crow Mother. She is revered as the mother of all Kachinas, the spirits that make up the world. It is Crow Mother who presides over initiation ceremonies. Here, we see behind the Crow Mother the whips make from the blades of the yucca plant. The initiates do not understand that nothing will be the same after their initiation. For the first time in their lives they will be whipped. They must face their fear, face surprising pain and accept that their childhood has ended.
Life has whipped most of us at some point in time, leaving some scars. Consider making a scar coat to represent the things that have frightened you most. It may be the fear of betrayal, of abandonment or loss of power. You will be surprised by how cathartic doing something like this is.
Seek Advice from your Zen Master Deck
Another task might be to do a Facing Fears Tarot Spread like this one by Lisa Fridenborg
Over to You?
All comments and insights welcome in the comment box
- Stan, the live in skeleton, posed an important question when he asked “What do you think the Devil Card and the Eight of Swords have in common?”
- Lindy Chamberlain and Schapelle Corby are not Robinson Crusoe. There is no monopoly when it comes to enduring intense Eight of Swords periods. What women spring to mind when you think Eight of Swords? Perhaps its a TV character or a character from a novel.
- When do you feel the most trapped? How does your own thinking create limits in your life? What can actions can you take right now to release yourself from a situation you don’t like?
- More ideas about writing with the eight of swords