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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

8 of Swords: Astrological Associations

Astrological associations for the Minor Arcana cards typically involve a planet, a zodiac sign, and/or a house. The attributions established by the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD) are by far the most commonly used. However, there are other associations out there. As a professional astrologer, I find it interesting to compare and contrast these associations. (The use of astrological associations with Tarot is completely up to the reader. This is intended to be interesting and fun!)

Credits for the decks and books mentioned in this post can be found HERE.

EIGHT OF SWORDS

Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley

For Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn, the Eight of Swords is linked with Jupiter (geniality, optimism) and the sign Gemini (a mutable Air sign known for being intellectual).

Crowley titles the card "Interference" and notes "It is simply the error of being good-natured when good-nature is disastrous.” He writes: “Good fortune, however, attends even these weakened efforts, thanks to the influence of Jupiter in Gemni, ruling the Decan. Yet the Will is constantly thwarted by accidental interference.”

Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "High goals (Jupiter) that are threatened by doubts and inner conflicts (Gemini).”

The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel

Liz Hazel's astrological associations for the Eight of Swords align with those of Crowley and the Golden Dawn: Jupiter/Gemini. Hazel's DMs for this card include: "frustration, an inescapable situation, confinement, must develop new strategies and attitudes to exit." Ill-dignified DMs include: "imprisoned, confined by illness, guilt complexes, arrested development, misunderstood mental problems.”

One World Tarot by Crystal Love

Crystal Love associates the Eight of Swords with the first subdivision of Aquarius (natural ruler Uranus; subruler Venus). She writes: "The humane nature of Aquarius is blessed with the presence of Venus in the first subdivision. . . This card may also indicate the unpredictable” She notes the following "Traditional Interpretations": "Highly intelligent, inquiring mind. Resourceful. Indicates intellectual study. Opportunities must be grasped.”


The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann

Mann associates the Eight of Swords with the energy of  Mercury in Gemini. Mann calls Swords Eight, Nine, and Ten "The Vibrations of Gemini," and links the Eight of Swords with the period between May 21-31. Yellow is the color associated with Mercury and orange is associated with Gemini on the King Scale of Color.

Mann's divinatory meanings for the Eight of Swords: "A continual love of variety and constant change can create beneficial work situations if enough concentration is applied. Mental originality with difficulty in focusing on practical applications." Reversed: "Too much complexity creates confusion, stress and sudden outbursts of anger. Accident prone and inconstant.”

The Tarot and Astrology by David Thornton
(illustrated in this blog by the Universal Waite tarot deck)

_David Thornton_ associates the Eight of Swords with the placement of the planet Mercury in the Third House (House of Environment and Perceptions, Communication, Siblings, Short trips). The Third House in astrology is associated with the sign Gemini.

Thornton's description of the energy of the Eight of Swords is: "Versatile thinking, adaptability, a love of variety and change, lack of constancy, honesty or tidiness.”

Tarot Dynamics System by Anna Burroughs Cook
(illustrated in this blog by the Universal Waite tarot deck)

Anna Cook associates the Eight of Swords with the first decan of Gemini. In Cook's TD system, Subject Card Eight signifies "Future Renovation." The key word for the suit of Swords in this system is Challenging, which gives us Challenging/Renovation for the Eight of Swords. Cook notes: “There’s some extra work, or news coming your way that could upset your day, preempt your agenda, and lead you to feel momentarily, ‘bound and tied’ by circumstances that you can neither prevent nor control.”

A.E. Thierens, PhD. (Astrology & the Tarot)

Thierens associates the Eight of Swords with "the energy of the element of Earth on the Eighth house (the house of death and of the greatest difficulties of life, the inner problems and sex).” He notes: “The image on this card may well indicate the blindness of man amidst the dangers of this world and of his own desire-nature.”

His keywords for this card include: "Obstacles, conflict, danger, hampering, affliction, criticism, sex-problems of a threatening nature. . . revenge, debt, poverty, sickness."

(Note: If you are interested in learning more about this system put forth by Thierens, I recommend the book referenced above.)

In summary, for the Eight of Swords we have:
  • Crowley and Hazel with a Jupiter/Gemini association
  • Mann with Mercury/Gemini
  • Love with Aquarius/Uranus/Venus
  • Thornton with Mercury/3rd House (ruled by Gemini)
  • Cook with the 1st decan of Gemini
  • Thierens with Earth/8th House (ruled by Scorpio/Mars)

According to Arthur Waite (Pictorial Key to the Tarot / Weiser), the Eight of Swords “is rather a card of temporary durance than of irretrievable bondage.” The Rider-Waite-Smith card shows “a woman, bound and hoodwinked, with the swords of the card about her.” Waite’s DMs: “bad news, violent chagrin, crisis, censure, power in trammels, conflict, calumny; also sickness.” Reversed DMs: “disquiet, difficulty, opposition, accident, treachery; what is unforeseen; fatality.”

From an astrology standpoint, Jupiter is in its detriment in Gemini. In other words, Jupiter’s expansive, generous, optimistic nature is dampened by Gemini, a sign known for being detail-oriented and for “over-thinking.” Jupiter’s desire to look at the “big picture” is thwarted in Gemini. Hazel’s keyword “frustration” certainly applies.

A Mercury/Gemini combo would seem to be desirable, given that Mercury rules Gemini. It is difficult for me to associate such a favorable combination with the traditional RWS image of the “bound and hoodwinked” woman. Indeed, Mann speaks of “a continual love of variety and constant change,” neither of which seem to fit the traditional image. His keywords for the reversed card – confusion and stress – seem more appropriate.


If nothing else, the information I gathered on the astrological associations for the Eight of Swords clearly shows the wide range of possible interpretations, based on one’s preferred system.

4 comments:

  1. Hi I found you via another blog. Interesting that connection between tarot and astrology. Ive really enjoyed reading here, thank you.

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    1. You're welcome, Jane! Thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed reading the blog.

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  2. Hello! Just found you - what a great resource! I've been reading Tarot "since the Last Supper," and I TRULY enjoy resources like this; "one-stop find-exactly-what-you-are-looking-for" sites. Your a treasure; there are less than a handful of gifted readers who put it out there for others; I understand the time constraints, so I am all the more appreciative of people like you who DO it. Brava! May the Light of the Lantern Illuminate your Path! Be Well, Blessed Be! - Mark Miller

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~ Zanna