Bohemian Gothic Tarot - Eight of Wands


Despite the efforts of the demon/monster in the Seven of Wands to ward them off, the angry villagers have set fire to the castle and now we see the sky darkened with smoke, the clouds reflecting the red glow of the fire that sweeps through the castle and sets its gargoyles writhing in fright.

That's how I looked at it after considering the card as part of a story timeline with the cards preceding and following it. When I first looked at it, however, my thought was, "That's it? Some red clouds and a couple of statues?"

I still have trouble seeing "swift action" from this card, but I can now see it as "things coming to a head."

What do you all think?


Good Catch!

You know, that's so strange. It looks like we never covered the 8/Wands! Good catch there.

I like your view of things coming to a head, as we get all those statue heads and it does look like something finally caught fire. But I don't think the gargoyles are writhing in fright. To the contrary, I think they're coming to the rescue! The image presented here is that of a jutting ladder of "flying" gargoyles in place of the usual ladder of "flying" wands. Eight jutting statues, including the roaring lion, all of whom seem to be flying out of the wall, as if the castle itself was attacking. Before them is a statue of a man, who is carved as hunched and looks like he's running away from the stone beasts.

It brings to my mind all those monster movies where something that looks still and unthreatening suddenly comes to life and before you can blink or scream, it's killed and devoured its victim. Which I think is how the image can suggest swift action even though everything pictured (excepting the swift moving clouds) is made of unmoving stone.

It's been discussed in other cards of how gargoyles were guardians of castles against evil spirits. As you point out, the red skies suggest war, fire, battle. Here we have the suggestion that the protectors of the castle are finally taking action: jumping out and moving quickly to chase away the invader from the gates. The lion, in particular, is roaring, looking angrily out at us, ready to pounce.

All those "attacking" gargoyles and the lion suggest that it's time to ignore the human side of the brain and become the beast or monster, acting and doing, attacking rather than remaining still. To move and speed forward like a predator which will send your enemy (prey) running.


This card fascinates me. It gives the impression of haste, movement without necessarily thought. I first thought the fellow had lost his head, there is something disturbing about the fellow and the gargoyles look as though they have been galvanized into life and action. For me the clouds are dark, moisture laden alluding to action with emotion and not much thought. The red clouds speak of passion. When I see this card I think, passion, movement, haste. Also, the fellow is moving away from structure (to the right) and into nature (on his left).