Tarot of Prague Cafe club - 8 Swords



Oh this card is hard! Sometimes I look at her and I think she is feeling restricted and other times she appears to be quite content with where she is. Its one of those cards that I think will speak so differently in each reading.

This woman is in the dark. She is stuck, but she also looks so uninterested, almost content in her surroundings. She can't see that life is going on around her. She is blindfold and her hands appear tied although she may have just shoved them behind her back. This gives her a vulnerable look. On the other hand, she could just be stubborn. Like she's made up her mind and shes not budging!

All around her people go about their business. Buildings are stunningly lit but she is trapped in her own world. The boundary of her world is marked out by the swords, within which it is dark. Her movement appears restricted by her sword prison but she could just lift the blindfold and move between the swords and she would be free. The shadows on the card could be a figment of her imagination. Perhaps her fears and worries are not real.

Can this card tell of someone with panic attacks or phobias? I don't know! It just has something about it which makes me see it a little differently than usual.

The creature at the bottom of the card give a touch of fantasy to the card, he is off, but he is taking his troubles with him, they are tied around his neck!


Well, interestingly enough we found ourselves doing another night time scene for this card in the new deck. I just think of it very much as someone who is "in the dark" about what to do, and how to take action.

I think that when you bring up the subject of panic attacks you are spot on. I was told by someone many years ago (when in fact I had some panic attacks) to stop thinking of them as something that happens to you, and start thinking of them as something you do to yourself - I found this advice incredibly useful, as suddenly I felt in charge, not just a helpless victim. I think that experience of mine is very much bound up (excuse the pun) in this card.


Oh thanks baba,

Last night when I was doing this, I couldn't quite put into words my feelings about this card. Then when the 'panic attack' idea hit me it began to make more sense in the of the imagery in the card. Its nice to know that I am not way off track, although obviously I know the cards mean different things to different people. As the card depicts night-time, 'in the dark' is a good way of remembering it.

I do love to study and disect the meaning of the cards in this deck. It makes me see the different layers encompassed in it.

Thanks again for your input.


Bean Feasa

The figure of the woman in the 8 of Swords looks strangely serene. She's blindfolded and fenced in by 8 magnificent swords, but she looks unaffected and accepting, almost as if she's just relaxing there for a while, biding her time. Perhaps she's thinking about her situation, maybe plotting what to do next, but there's no sign of struggle or action from her. As the book points out the little bear at her feet has lifted up his ball and chain and begun to walk away. He demonstrates that it can be done, but with effort. I love the fact that the ball he carries is in fact an apple. This says to me that often when we are brave enough to tackle our burdens they turn out to be miles lighter than we thought. We can't know this until we try, however. As in the Moon card, the warm homely presence of a little animal brings us down to earth from the cool melodrama of the archetype itself, and somehow grounds the card.
It's clear to anyone looking at the card that this woman could, if she wished, shake off her blindfold, and sidestep those swords. The city is throwing up a wonderful pale gold haze of light to chase away the night shadows. But this may not be how she sees things. To her it's dark all around, her hands are tied and she can barely move. This card reminds us to stop dramatizing, to take stock of our situation, to look at how things really are. What excuses are we making? In what way does it suit us to remain immobile, to pretend to ourselves we have no choice? It's a card with wonderful psychological depth, and the Tarot of Prague version is especially elegant and arresting.

Edited to add: Thanks Jewel-ry and baba for the panic attack idea - definitely adds another shade of meaning - and a very significant one - to this card's repertoire


I am anxiously awaiting my deck, but wanted to add a thought of mine regarding 8 of Swords in general, and in particularly this one. This card always has an S&M flavour to me, for some reason })

Maybe she is enjoying the restrictions imposed on her, some people like to be tied or bound. It takes away any responsibility that would come with movement and freedom. Freedom has a price, and perhaps she would rather not pay it.

Bean Feasa

Hey 13thFae,
S & M, chortle! :laugh:
I can see you're going to liven things up bigtime in the café. And this is before you've even got the deck at all....!!


For the first time with an 8 Swords image I have the sense of something other than self-imprisonment. This image also projects martyrdom, but not necessarily self-imposed martyrdom This impression is enhanced by the official looking building behind the woman. It seems to represent something formidable outside her. The woman has her hands tied behind her and is blindfolded. There is real and implied threat in this image. The “political or structural ” forces behind the woman, the deprivation of sight and the restriction of her hands, the size and strength of the swords around her, her near nakedness and the exposure. She seems to be featured on some kind of stage. There are no other people within sight and one almost gets the feeling of a Joan of Arc or some other female martyr for a cause.

We are left in tension with this image. The woman seems poised on the cusp of a decision, or has she already made it? She has just been put here. Is she listening, getting the lie of the land before making a move? She looks a little bedraggled. Has she been injured or is she simply exhausted? There is something beautiful and dignified in her demeanor, however.

For the first time I have a sense of possible choice and dignity in this image – at least, something other than one usually gets.

I don't have the book to the deck.


Another thought about his image ~it looks like an abandoned piece of sculpture. As though something was being created but suddenly inspirationevaporated and the artist dropped the tools and fled.

And the woman has to create herself now. She has to forge life and identity from the moist clay. This metaphor sort of fits with a recurrent theme for me in this deck - that of images emerging from the lost places, places suspended in time.


Some further thoughts. I love this deck!

Coldness be my kiln.
From damp clay I sculpt myself
A tigerlily soul.


Here is the tigerlily. I initially had the frangipani but it think the tigerlily is a much more appropriate image for the spirit 8 Swords is sculpting for herself.


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