“Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can't buy more hours. Scientists can't invent new minutes. And you can't save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you've wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.”
― Denis Waitley
The 8 of Swords in the Rider Waite Smith deck tells it like it is.
This card drops onto the table and there is a part of us that inwardly groans as it doesn’t appear to be of the happy-clappy variety. At the same time we are aware that it may not be all that bad, especially as it could mean some kind of liberation and we all love a bit of that!
The key phrase for this card might be mental prison.
It is the first thing that comes to mind when I see it. It is so very human to be locked into our analysis that one becomes obsessional and all we can think about is that thorn in the side. Where did it come from? What is it doing to me? Shall I keep it? Do I let go of it and if so, how?
Our world is immediately limited by sabotaging questions that actually stop us from getting on with other stuff. An example of this might be the relationship that had the shabby and brutal ending which had no compassion or closure. The endless stream of questions, the constant levelling of painful thoughts that pierce the heart far more sharply than angry words at a bust up. Round and round we go, all the while life continues around us and like moles we blindly come out of our dugout to ‘see’ what is going on yet ‘see’ nothing, bit by bit we slip back into the world of dark.
I think central to this card is creativity.
Painful thinking stops us from thinking outside of the box and viewing the big, blue yonder. Our ability to consciously participate in any creative activity is arrested by those flying swords which we have so carefully aimed at ourselves.
Another aspect is denial, let’s keep that blindfold nice and tight. Ignorance is bliss and I prefer a state of bliss than personal responsibility and integrity! If I don’t see it then it doesn't matter. What do I care if my body aches, I don’t want the truth of why it does. My partner is no longer happy, it is not my fault, this relationship is all about me not a couple. I don’t care about achievement, I don’t love myself enough to be successful. If any of this is familiar then you are being called to acknowledge the reality of your life, your wisdom and your purpose. We can see the possible meaning of this eight is laziness. The preference of a comfort zone is much more appealing than dealing with your stuff.
Yet another aspect is procrastination.
I have found that a large proportion of people who receive this card are in the arts. Gifted and talented, the project, the book and the exhibition are all done in the head but when it comes to reality it is waiting to be born into the physical world.
The thing that this eight is telling us is that we can free ourselves at any time. We can pull those swords out of the ground and walk freely with courage and confidence. We can face what is to come, be it blisteringly brilliant or downright difficult, as this is a part of life and there are no winners or losers.
This card is also the card of the recluse, the solitary figure. Procrastination supports us to be remote, to not be involved in the next step. Through this card we are being challenged to interact; none of us were born to be islands.
Release can be from misconceptions that hinder our growth, we are on the way to being in a bubble which further down the line will require to be burst.
The 7 of Swords makes an interesting entrance here, maybe sneaky Pete is actually collecting the swords to put the lady in the prison of swords. Maybe he is showing us that we can end up the victim of our own plot. Harbouring dark thoughts about ourselves or about others for whatever reason is harmful, especially to ourselves.
On the Tree of Life, 8 of Swords is in the Sefiroth that is Hod.
This means splendour and glory and also the place of intellect. Hod is on the left of the tree, near the bottom, opposite Netzach, scope, imagination and achievement.
Perhaps we are being asked to be more positive about ourselves and other people, to embrace our own divine aspect and to be intrepid explorers of consciousness.
I have found that people who have pain or ailments in that part of the body usually are not too keen on singing their own praises or valuing their own worth. We become isolated from our emotions, afraid to take that journey into the heart, that awfully long and arduous journey of 14 inches from the head to the heart centre. We choose to stay as we are. The paralysis of the analysis.
Those moments of procrastination are not as helpful as they first appear but with courage and a desire to be in life we can work through even the most challenging of circumstances.