Rider Waite (Pamela Colman Smith 1909): Eight of Swords
Swords were typically depicted with curved blades in ancient tarot decks to distinguish them from staves. They correspond to the playing card suit of Spades, (in Italian, spada means sword). This suit represents the element Air, and the social classes of Nobility and Military. Swords are considered a Masculine suit. Swords typically represent intellect, reason, mental clarity, and the sciences. They may also represent conflicts surrounding the questioner.
The Eights typically concern solidity, thick walls, skill, patience, achievement, change, and future contentment. Eights may also concern being enmeshed in the material world, trapped, caught between a rock and a hard place, revolution, travel, and showing strength to move quickly and escape a difficult situation.
Isolation. Self-imposed restriction. Imprisonment.
This card may mean that you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. The questioner is in a situation where they are afraid to move. If they move, they will be cut. However, the ropes that bind them are their own fears. The longer they stay, the more they constrain and entrap themselves. This card suggests that the questioner is second-guessing themselves for fear of saying something that will cut them to ribbons, but saying nothing will do more harm. The questioner must have the strength to endure the cuts, or else they will remain trapped.
Reversed Meaning: Open to new perspectives. Release.
This card may symbolise the questioner overcoming a difficult situation or a trap, and now being free from their burden.