Drawing the 8 of Swords is never an enjoyable experience. For one thing, feeling tied, shackled, bound and blindfolded is not exactly fun, unless one likes to indulge in masochistic tendencies. In the Golden Tarot, the background adds to the feeling of alienation with an icy landscape where only hardy trees can survive.
The 8 of Swords is all about feeling powerless, although this is a state of mind rather than actual physical, concrete reality. I am not in prison, or dependent on drugs, or held captive by anyone. I wanted to hide this card back in the pack and draw another one, but had to face its message since I knew what the lady in the card is feeling. Looking back on it, in many ways this is such an apt card for being in a new country and trying to get a sense of normality in an unfamiliar landscape: everything is foreign, social networks are not yet formed, and so one is restricted and feelings of powerlessness can creep up.
So I thought I’d practice what I preach about tarot and empowerment (I’m a fire sign. Preaching comes so naturally.) and draw a second card on what I need to do to change this situation. The 7 of Pentacles was eerily spot on. Visually it is very striking – wouldn’t you say it’s the same woman from the first card, only now she is standing in lush surroundings appreciating the beauty all around her.
In one way, you could say getting out among trees and gardens and flowers and enjoying the verdant abundance of spring is a good way of healing the 8 of Swords. And that is true, on every occasion I take myself outside and sit under oaks I feel so grounded and serene. Just watching a tree be, standing in silence, and contemplating it is a healing process.
And yet, I feel the message here goes a bit deeper. It’s as if the card is saying: you already have everything, yet you focus on what you don’t have, you focus on the past. This is an exceptionally strong pattern that runs in my family, and I think in the whole of humanity. There is no specific action I need to take – just open my eyes and my heart a little more. After being in the darkness for so long, this can be incredibly painful, this simple realisation that opens the floodgates of grief and lets some sun in.
It made me think of this picture a friend posted online.
Many blessings and much love to you all,