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Positive Aspects/Qualities/Virtues of the 8 SWORDS


Yola

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In your opinion, what are the qualities of this arcane? What are your powers and virtues?¬†ūüôā

This is hard huh?
When I look at the luminous aspect of this card, I think of focus. Someone who keeps himself in check and can be disciplined, restrained. Someone who delimits their own personal space.
Could you help me to explore more of your potentials?

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I use the RiderWaiteSmith system, so the cards are pictorial.  (I don't know what pip cards would tell you!)  However, in most RWS-based decks, the 8 of Swords portrays a woman who is blindfolded and her arms are bound to her sides, and she is standing somewhere (beach, meadow, etc) and there are 8 swords thrust into the ground around her. She is depicted as alone ...there is nobody else in the picture who is threatening her.  It looks as if she's just been abandoned and left to her own devices.  

Obviously she can't see what's around her, due to the blindfold, and heaven knows what she's been told about her situation ...but the fact is, that while she can't see her way out, there IS a way out.  Her feet are not bound, and if she wasn't wearing the blindfold, she could easily just walk around the swords (after using one of the to cut her bonds away) and be gone.
 

She is certainly restricted, but by what?  Her blindness?  Her fear?  Her lack of knowledge about where she is or what surrounds her?  Possibly by threats made before she was blindfolded?  Who put her there?  Her bound hands means she can't reach out to feel her surroundings, so she is restricted ...the restriction is real. But perhaps it's neither as bad or as inescapable as she believes.  But until she knows what her situation actually is, she's likely to remain 'stuck.'  And she certainly could accidentally cut herself on the swords, if she bumps into them, or falls down among them.

It's a strange card, actually. ¬†The question is: how stuck IS she? ¬†It's NOT all in her head‚ÄĒin the usual depictions anyway. ¬†If she can remove the blindfold (somehow) and/or cut her bonds off, and she will be able to get away, no bother.

Her Virtue/Power might be an ability to calmly think her way through a negative situation like this (the Swords govern thought and logical action) and work free of restrictions.  If she doesn't panic, she will realise that if she can somehow remove her blindfold, she will be able to see her situation as it is, and make further plans.  Or she can focus on working free of the ropes that bind her, THEN remove the blindfold, and she'll be in even a better position. She may need to discard whatever it was she was told about her situation that keeps her fearful and immobile, but she CAN get away, if she keeps her head and works though the problem logically.

That applies to the usual RWS depiction of the 8 of Swords. However, I have two RWS-based decks that take a slightly different approach.

My newly-acquired Everyday Enchantment Tarot (by Poppy Palin) depicts a modern woman trapped by caring for children (and perhaps poverty) on an upper floor of a high-rise flat. ¬†The child behind her in the playpen is screaming its head off, the family dog is howling, there is obviously housework to be done, and the woman is leaning up against the window, staring out, a look of despair on her face. She doesn't see a way out, and there probably isn't one in the immediate future. ¬†So in her case, the 'virtue' might be in simply accepting her situation and finding a way to mentally calm herself and carry on. Her restriction is VERY real. ¬†I would see this card in this deck as a fairly negative card, at least for the present, should it appear in a reading. She is truly stuck, and can only accept the situation for the time being‚ÄĒor sink into depression or madness.

At the other end of the spectrum, another RWS-based deck, the Anna K Tarot, takes a very interesting‚ÄĒalmost opposite‚ÄĒview of the 8 of Swords. ¬†Here we have the usual woman on the beach, blindfolded, bound, surrounded by swords ...BUT that image is actually in a mirror! And standing in front of the mirror, gazing at this image, is the same woman, unbound, no blindfold, no swords in her vicinity. She is seeing herself as restricted, but in fact she's not! So she is restricted only by how she perceives her situation. ¬†The illusion of captivity, not actual captivity, is her problem. ¬†She only needs to recognise the illusion, and just walk away.

For me, each deck has its own way of looking at this card, and other cards.  I try to keep all the different interpretations in mind when I do readings.  A lot depends on circumstances.

8 swords.png

Edited by Chariot
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Hey @Chariot , it's always great to read your musings! Thanks so much for that!¬†ūüėä
Very interesting you mention these virtues: ability to think calmly in a negative situation and concentration. I completely agree with you... and definitely the representation of each deck can add new meanings. Thank you for sharing these beautiful images! It's enriching when we broaden our vision to other decks...
In the Everyday Enchantment Tarot deck, for example, it seems to me that the virtues are based on the practice of serenity in uneasy situations, stress management and - again - concentration.
As for Anna K Tarot, it seems to me a virtue to see what is beyond the physical eyes. See from inside. Something also that may be relevant in RWS.

 

Thinking "outside the box" again in the power of this card: how important is it not to look outside? Trust in your own insights, the inner vision that is guided by your beliefs...? what is the importance of not acting, not moving? And what if it's necessary to keep it as it is, like in a "Freeze tag" game? Putting your feet on the ground and not letting anyone take your place or take you away from where you are... Permanence. Continuation, conservation, maintenance, preservation. 

I think we can explore that thought... anyone else?

Edited by Yola
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For me the 8 of swords is a card that speaks about being restrained, imprisoned and victimized. As @Chariot said the woman is restricted but by what? For me, I see the restriction of the woman in the 8 of swords is the the truth of her situation. She has yet to realize all of the aspects of the situation because her blindfold is on. If she takes it off and face her realities, whether through discovery or analyzing, she will see that she can move on from this situation. She is not a stuck as she believes. The situation is bad, and should be handled with care, but once the blindfolds are off, she will be able to plan and escape freely.

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Thank you for your insights, @Cati¬†!ūüôā
It really is very important for us to be aware of all the constraints and blindfolds that may be restricting us. 

I like to reflect on the positive aspects and virtues of this posture of the character of the 8 swords in RWS. I think we don't always need the eyes to see. And we don't always need the hands to act either. In some situations, what we just need is to stay. Not be influenced by what we see, from the outside. Thank you very much!

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Queen_of_Coins
On 7/14/2023 at 1:45 PM, Yola said:

I
When I look at the luminous aspect of this card, I think of focus. Someone who keeps himself in check and can be disciplined, restrained. Someone who delimits their own personal space.
 


For me this is the key, it represents a self-limitation. And this is where the focus should be, you can snap out of it and overcome your limiting beliefs. And that is how I designed it in my deck as well, the iconic snake constricting a sinner in Dante's Inferno - the serpent of course representing the sinner's own punishment.frum-air-8.jpg.e7a871623aeef66a87de0c537ed8a7d7.jpg

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Natural Mystic Guide

I love this card -- the Eight of Swords.  When it is upright, I put the most positive spin possible on it.  It represents mental liberation to me.  If you are working with RWS imagery, I see the woman removing her blindfold and recognizing that the swords (mental constructs) that surround her, are easily moved past.  If it is reversed, I see that the same potential is there for mental liberation, but it is more of a challenge.

 

Every single card in the deck can be seen as positive.  Every reversal can be seen as a heads up for a potential lesson, or a challenge that can be averted -- the how to do that probably being shown in surrounding cards.

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Hey Friends! Thanks a lot for your answers!
WOW, excellent reference @Queen_of_Coins ! I can imagine how beautifully designed the rest of your deck must have been!
I agree with you, @Natural Mystic Guide ! Each arcane has its light and shadow aspect. Some are more difficult... but if we calmly reflect on each one of them, something bright should appear!

xoxo¬†ūüėė

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Some ideas about positives.....

 

- Learning to live with restrictions around you

- Being unflinching determined to carry on despite being trapped in position

- Going internal, it could be a positive that someone is listening to their intuition / thinking things through

- Getting good at meditation!

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I agree with everything others have said. One of the most important aspects of this card is the fact that you can free yourself. It's a call to open your eyes and free yourself from bonds instead of resigning yourself to being bound and imprisoned. This card tells you that victim mentality, martyr games and learned helplessness are no good options. You have options - now go and discover them. 

 

It's actually a card I love, and Anna K. illustrated it perfectly. 

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To me 8 swords is different by deck style.

In RWS style its pretty negative. The picture doesn't leave much room for positivity.

Reading a Tarocchi or TdM style pip deck is a bit different

8 is stability and swords is air.

air likes to move and circulate ... here it is stagnant and stale. Like a room that needs the window opened.

LOL I guess in both styles I read this card as negative and don't have much positive interpretation for it. Just advice to open the window and let in some fresh air!

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