knowledge in action

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Intro: Eight of Swords Tarot Card Meaning - knowledge in action

Tarot Alley uses the Rider Waite type of deck for our meanings, symbols, interpretations, etc.

When determining the Eight of Swords tarot card meaning, you should consider that it’s a Swords card and an Eight. The Suit of Swords represents knowledge and intellect. Eights represent action, movement, and swiftness.

In this way, we can determine that the Eight of Swords represents knowledge in action. The Eight of Swords isn’t about doing things as much as it’s about using your knowledge to recognize obstacles, limitations, and areas you need assistance in.

Take a look at the Rider-Waite Eight of Swords displayed to the left (or above).

What is your first impression?

What is happening here? Who is the figure? Why are they standing bound and blinded surrounded by swords?

There’s no right or wrong answer here, just your interpretation.

Astrology: Jupiter in Gemini
Element: Air
Numerology: 8 (action, movement, switftness)

Common Symbols

  • An Incomplete Wall of Swords: the swords represent fears and insecurities. The incompleteness of the wall represents the ability to escape them.
  • A Blindfolded & Bound Figure: to represent a willing blindness. The bindings are not secure, they could be escaped. But instead the figure chooses to stand there obediently.

Keywords & Concepts

  • Confinement
  • Helplessness
  • Limitation
  • Restriction

The Eight of Swords for Personal Growth

Affirmation: I know my own limits.

You must know your own limits. But even more, you must respect your limits. There’s no shame in saying, “NO” to something outside your limits. A mature person communicates with confidence.

Ask Yourself:

  • Do you feel empowered?
  • What, exactly, are the obstacles you’re facing? What resources, exactly, are needed to remove them?
  • To what extent is your powerlessness a matter of attitude?
  • How many of your own limitations are imagined?
  • Have you abandoned hope for change?
  • Has the Universe been showing you an “escape” that you’ve been too blinded/distracted/proud to see?
  • What might happen if you acted less obediently?

Interpreting the Eight of Swords

Generally, the Eight of Swords represents knowledge in action. This isn’t about doing things, it’s about knowing your limits, obstacles, and areas you need help in.

The Eight of Swords expects you to honor the limits you’ve set and that have been set by others. You should respect the rules.

Recognize that you cannot be in control all the time or of everything. Identify the limitations of your situation and the obstacles you may need to overcome. When needed, ask for assistance.

The Reversed Eight of Swords

How you read reversals is a personal choice. You can ignore reversals and read them as if the card is upright (this is what I often choose to do) or you can interpret reversals as variations of what they would mean upright. There are 3 common ways to read reversals: as a negative interpretation, as an opposite interpretation, or as a block on the upright interpretation. Check out How to Read Reversals for more information.

Typically, a reversed Eight of Swords represents a willing blindness. Examples include:

  • Feeling trapped but not doing anything about it
  • Getting lost in rules and regulations without thought
  • Giving in to despair
  • Playing the victim
  • Going along with others when they dictate what you can and cannot do
  • Failing to look for a way out of your situation

Examples of the Eight of Swords

Specific Interpretations

Specific situations are the general interpretation (from above) used for a specific situation (love, career, etc). There is no need to memorize these (or even look them up) if you understand the general interpretation. However, here are some basic interpretations for some specific situations:


Feeling trapped? You’re just refusing to acknowledge your options. Relationships should broaden your life, not limit it.


Not all professional restrictions are unbreakable, but some of them are merely tradition and nobody has broken them. If those traditional restrictions didn’t exist, how would you move forward? There are many more options when you can think freely.


Cultivate balance and focus in your spiritual journey and you’ll eventually see how most obstacles are self-imposed and most limits are imaginary.

the Eight of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

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The Eight of Swords tarot card meaning is all about knowledge in action. Acknowledging your limitations and obstacles gives you the power to overcome them.

Once you feel comfortable with the Eight of Swords tarot card meaning, check out the next card in the tarot deck: the Nine of Swords Tarot Card Meaning.


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