A In-Depth Interpretation of the 8 of Swords

The 8 of Swords: The Millennium Thoth Tarot

An In-Depth Interpretation of the 8 of Swords

The Millennium Thoth Tarot

Art by Renata Lechner

Interpretation by Marv Machura

The 8 of Swords

     There are two large steel swords pointing downward that have ornate golden hilts. Behind these two beautiful swords are six smaller swords also with fine-looking golden hilts that point horizontally in alternating opposite directions.

     These six swords are all different, yet similar. Each sword represents a different culture or nation.

     The initial effect of our looking at this arrangement and composition is blockage, difficulty, and fear. There appears to be no possible way through this dangerous arrangement of sharp steel weaponry.

     This first response of impasse, trouble, and distress begins to be moderated when we see that none of the swords are directly threatening us. We also see that none of them are in conflict or pointing at each other. In fact, on this second and more‑considered view, we see that this card presents us with an armoury of sharp, deadly, and fantastic swords, ready for our use, rather than for our demise or failure.

     As an arsenal of fine, battle‑ready swords, the card still represents a difficult and daunting problem. And this problem is fear.

     This card is saying that there is a real adversary out there whom we must defeat and overcome. But this card is also saying that our inner antagonist of fear must first be slain in order for us to go forward and slay that other malicious enemy currently blocking our path and journey.

     Thus, the 8 of Swords is not representing an impossible battle ahead from which we need to retreat. Rather, this card is telling us—and encouraging us—to take one or two of these fine steel blades, as a representation of our courage and strength, and use these swords to not only face but also defeat our enemy.

     Getting ready for any battle is scary, and it is okay to tremble as we look at this collection of weapons. As such, it is good to recall what Joan of Arc said, “All battles are first won or lost in the mind.”

     Yes, it will be frightening to hold one or two of these swords in our hands and be ready to use it. As such, we need to recall (in times such as these) the correct definition of courage: courage is not an absence of fear, but going forward in spite of fear.

     There are times when it is best to walk away from conflict, but this is not one of those times. The 8 of Swords is saying to us that we must face and defeat whatever or whoever isthreatening us. This is the only way forward.

     The darkness of the background adds to our feelings of unease. But the fiery orange breaking out from the center of this card’s otherwise dark background, represents our intense passion and burning energy that is always there under the surface of our blockage, inaction, and fear.

     When we go forward in spite of fear and trepidation, we will release the fury and intensity that is boiling inside of us. And on further deliberation and as part of this release, we will see that this card is assuring us that victory is nearly 100% assured. Recall that fortune nearly always favours the bold.

     When we have started seeing this card from this perspective, we apprehend that these eight swords are beautiful, elegant, and expertly crafted. As such, these swords can help us find the mettle, resolve, and valour inside of us rather having these swords contribute to (or cause) our alarm and fright.

     The golden hilts are comforting and encouraging. Gold is the colour and substance that most represents durability, attainment, victory, and spiritual wellness and completion.

     The symbols for Jupiter and Gemini seen of the golden hilts of the two large vertical swords also work to reinforce the meanings that gold transmits.

     The symbol for Jupiter is both the hieroglyph of an eagle and an abbreviation for Zeus. Thus, this symbol is full of the power, strength, and authority associated with the king of birds and the king of the Gods. Jupiter thus represents might, power, and the indominable force of will.

     Gemini also represents these attributes but in a different way. In the historic story, the twins, Castor and Pollux, went into a battle in which Castor was killed. Pollux pleaded to Jupiter to restore Castor to life or make them immortal. As a reward for their bravery in battle, Jupiter agreed to the latter. Thus, Castor and Pollux became the constellation of Gemini.

     The ancients prayed to these twins for help and courage in battles, and it was a good omen when both stars were shining brightly in the night sky.

     The repetition of Jupiter (top center) and Gemini (bottom center), doubles‑down on these aspects incorporated into the 8 of Swords. The placement represents the over‑reaching rule of Jupiter and underlying might of Gemini.

     The representation of the two pillars of Solomon’s Temple (Jachin and Boaz) in the symbol for Gemini underlines these meanings as well. Jachin means “He will establish.” Boaz meaning “In Him is strength.” We can imagine that we are passing through these pillars to further bolster our courage and our assurance of victory.

     These two pillars (and the meanings associated with them) can also be seen in the two, formidable, double‑edged swords in the forefront of the card. These swords and their symbolic placement are there to give us courage rather than to cause fear.

     So in all regards, we can see mighty encouragement coming to us from this card—in direct proportion to our need of this encouragement.

     Swords represent our mind, and as such, we understand that this situation is first and foremost in our mind. To wit, we must win the mental battle of overcoming our fear. Then we must move into the fight with the mighty, courageous strength of conviction, power, and confidence.

     The number 8 is the number of becoming. It is a reassuring number full of auspicious honours. This should also help to give us the courage we need to become better, move on from inaction, and carry on bravely with our Universal quest.

     We are not meant to cower in fear at any time in our journey forward. We must grab hold of the sword that is offered here and step into a much brighter, successful, and happy future.

     It is time to remember that our adversary wants to keep us in fear. It is only fear that keeps his bully-like power intact.

     Trust the Universe—and even if you are scared to death, as an old saying goes and that can aptly describe our situation—take that deep breath and move forward into the fray. Light and life await in glory on the other side.