Eight of Swords

If ever a card screamed ‘set yourself free’ it’s this one. I love the Anna K illustration below, which takes the traditional image of the woman bound up and blindfolded, unable to see that if she takes a step to the side, she’d be able to free herself, and that no-one is guarding her or keeping her there. Anna’s illustration shows this situation as a reflection, or rather a projection, of her own mind. So often, we are only kept bound by the lack of knowledge or will to set ourselves free – we bind ourselves to unhealthy ideas of what we think we should be, or what others expect us to be, ignoring the fact that this is a dangerous road which can only grow darker as we grow more and more to believe the truth of this projection.

Eight of Swords, Anna K Tarot, Anna Klaffinger

Anna Klafflinger, from the Anna K Tarot.

In her description of the card, Anna writes:

There is a part [of ourselves] which we try to shut away. The card means that we are inhibited because we try too much to control ourselves, to inflict prohibitions on ourselves. This leads to the feeling of not being truly alive, to the feeling of not really being in touch with ourselves and the world around us.

I love what Chloe Tarot wrote on her blog Inner Whispers recently about this card – the ‘must fit in’ mentality, whether that’s into an ideal we create for ourselves – must be thinner, must be funnier/cleverer/more popular etc – or whether society or the people in our lives create them for us – must be thinner, must be a better wife/son/colleague/whatever – this card encourages us to pull off that blindfold and start looking for ways to get free.

That’s the key symbol in this card – not the ties, but the blindfold itself. The bondage is in the mind, and recognising it starts to diminish its power. It takes guts, but a few shakes of the head and the blindfold starts to slip…then the rest is easy (well, relatively.) I think of the times I’ve found myself sacrificing parts of myself in order to live up to an idea of what I should be…and then of how liberating it is to finally acknowledge that bondage, to say ‘no more’, to recognise that this is a form of self harm, and that it’s time to start moving back towards freedom.

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One comment

  1. Little Red says:

    Hi Chloe,Yes – it’s funny how it takes a good friend, a Tarot reading, a rock-bottom moment or something to get us shaking off that blindfold…even when somewhere deep down, we know we’re only binding ourselves.I like what you wrote about the ties – ‘and don’t let ourselves do and try anything different’ – I hadn’t thought of that ‘fake it til you make it’ thing, but that’s a great way to respond to this card’s message…just…TRY.I can see why you check out this card when you’re buying a deck! It’s such an interesting one – it’s good to see how people approach it’s message. As for the Anna K…there are some truly standout cards aren’t there – this is one, I also love the Six of Swords, where the benevelont friend/force/stranger is carrying the swords, and the Four of Rods, where we see friends on an expidition together. Not to mention the amazing High Priestess and The World and and and… :)xx

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