Very few things frustrate me more than watching powerful people pretending to be powerless.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert
When I pulled this card today, I admit it felt like – hey, didn’t we just get this only a few weeks ago? Well, I checked, and while I was certain that we had, it turns out that it’s been almost a year since the Eight of Swords came to visit.
This is a card that, at first, is rather disturbing, for here is a damsel in distress, trapped, surrounded by swords, blindfolded and helpless. But, as is so often the case in the Tarot, this is a card that beckons us to take a closer look.
For is she, in fact, so helpless? Where are her attackers? Of what or whom is she at the mercy?
There are no enemies to be seen. It would seem instead she is simply ringed by eight swords. What real peril is there, other than exposure?
If she would only take a step or two, she could carefully saw through the ropes binding her arms (for in fact, her feet are not hindered).
I love what Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone have to say about the symbol of her blindfold. “A blindfold enhances a sought after or already existing physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual state…It can be a transformation to be sought after, or undone.”
They even suggest that, as a process of initiation, which might have been actively desired or perhaps not consciously so, the person here “submits to being bound and hoodwinked and led to the threshold of a higher and better state.”
There is ample evidence of this, from the fact that eights are about coming to the brink of completion, as well as organizing, expansion, and how we overcome challenges to move forward. And the Swords are the suit of air, thought, and vision.
With her blindfold, and hemmed in by the swords, it would seem that intellect, ideas, perception, and opinion prevent her from taking action. Procrastination, perfectionism, or victim-thinking may be in play here.
How Trapped Are You?
As a reader, I am constantly listening to the stories of people who believe they are helpless, stuck, and even trapped. For many, a Tarot reading is their last resort.
And yet, often even when the cards, their own dreams, their inner voice, and closest soul friends all point to the wide open golden gateway they long for, they refuse to see. They want to change, but…
Soul intuitive and NC expat Eddie Conner wrote an entire brilliant, hilarious book called “The Big But Book,” which dissects the “yeah-but…” syndrome that so many people cling to.
And over the weekend, Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert posted an absolutely fantastic reBUTtal (Ha! I can’t help myself sometimes!) to the people who can’t see past their blindfolds.
Yes, life can hand us tricky, sticky, tough situations. Sometimes we really have no options. But that is as rare as wings on a cat.
“Listen!” Elizabeth writes. “I am not an innocent. I know that life is challenging and sometimes impossible. Without a doubt, there are circumstances in life that simply cannot be changed or fixed or improved…but not nearly so many as we tell ourselves there are.
“You show me NEARLY any bad situation, and I will show you someone who was once in that same exact bad situation — and who got herself out it.”
We are deep in a confluence of big astrological drama. Today is the final of seven exact squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn — a situation that has been unfolding for a number of years, and from which we emerge into a world that will never be the same.
Coming up on Friday, not only is it the Vernal Equinox, which also means it is the first day of the new season, and the astrological New Year as the Sun moves into Aries. But it also brings a “profound” New Moon and Solar Eclipse.
Zoe Moon writes, “So not only are we embarking on some fresh start that is 3 times more powerful than a typical New Moon, thanks to Eclipse power, but we are ending a 19 year saros cycle while ‘eclipsing’ something out to move into this next new chapter.”
This. Is. Huge.
Knowing the complexities of this week’s influences, I had secretly expected to see another big Major Arcana. (I promise that I really do clear my mind and awareness of expectations as I am pulling the card of the week. But as I make my morning coffee ahead of time, I can’t help but speculate).
But as usual, the Tarot has better ideas than I do, because the Eight of Swords is not simply reflecting back to us the drama and power of this week. It is very clearly telling us how to engage.
This is exactly what we must confront and resolve if we are to learn and benefit from the gifts this week offers.
Move Forward Or Be Left Behind
With the Uranus-Pluto square period coming to its conclusion in its final blast (tonight at 9:50pm, Eastern), we must now face the new normal.
Rather than close our eyes, or complain that we cannot see because of the blindfold, this is our invitation to make a new start.
Take stock of what holds us in check. In what ways do we feel thwarted from our desires, goals, or ability to be authentic and free?
It may be true that there are barriers, but are we so helpless, really?
What hesitation, fear, or illusion is acting as your blindfold?
We might need to invoke the greater Eight of the Major Arcana, Strength, to help us take the needed steps forward.
When all our smart strategies, plans, intellectualizing, and arguments fail us, it is time to dig deep for our faith. Real courage may be needed, but it is time to walk free from a bad situation. Insisting that we are stuck only makes it so.
We are not powerless, once we understand that the only real trap is how we frame our personal stories, or the story of How Things Are.
As challenging as they truly may be, we need only take a few steps forward to know it.