When I draw the 8 of swords, the first thing that comes to my mind is restriction. When you see this in a spread, you can be sure that something is holding you back, and it’s often you.
Swords are the suit of logic, mental activity, action, taking charge, and getting things done. They are also double edged, meaning you need to pay attention and see all sides of things or you could get harmed. Eight is the number of management, organization and seeing the bigger picture, especially in a business sense. The card depicts a woman, which represents emotion, intuition, and feeling or sensing rather than thinking.
She is blindfolded and bound, and the swords surround her. This tells us that she is not willing (or able) to see the bigger picture about her current situation nor is she open to any possibilities other than the status quo. It can also mean she’s avoiding reality or truth or is holding herself back in some way. Additionally, she is trying to get by on logic and mental activity and is denying the emotional and spiritual side of herself and the situation. In other words, she’s all head and no heart.
If you look closely, you’ll see that she isn’t a prisoner, but is willingly bound. She may have put herself there or may have allowed others to do so, but she feels ok where she is and doesn’t want to get out of it.
Now this doesn’t mean she’s happy. She may be miserable and say she wants out. But underlying that, she has a vested interest in staying where she is because she feels safe and protected from a perceived greater danger. To use a cliché, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”
On the reverse, we see a woman breaking free of her bindings. The blindfold is gone, her eyes are wide open, and she’s determined to move forward! This represents someone who has found the courage to face what’s holding her back and is working to overcome it. It can indicate a huge leap forward on a sub-conscious level as well as massive action in the physical world to make the changes she needs to make.