Eight of Blades — Tarot of the Absurd

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

sticks rock and a hard placeUpright: isolation, restriction, limited awareness


Reversed: change of mind, new point-of-view, freedom


The man in the Eight of Blades feels trapped in isolation. This is understandable. He is up against a brick wall with swords pointed at him from every direction. His movement is restricted, his hands restrained. He is powerless. In such a situation, it is easy to feel victimized. The only solution— the only way to escape the situation— is to find one small light in the dungeon. This is the meaning of self-empowerment.


Perhaps the ropes are not tied so tightly as he thinks. Perhaps he can work his hands free and, with the freedom of his hands, remove the blades from his body one by one.


When we perceive our situation, we gain perceptive on it only from our past experiences. This is what makes us self-aware. Babies, born without self-awareness, become aware bit-by-bit. They experience all sensations for the first time: hunger, heat, cold, tummy-ache. They become aware of body parts: hands, mouth, feet, genitalia. After the initial excitement of awareness, we expect things to remain as they are. Our hands remain our hands. Our face remains our face. This frees us, in that it allows us to move on and become aware of other things: it is very difficult to notice anything else (It’s raining out. OR Something is burning on the stove!) if we are constantly excited by the existence of our own body. However, the expectation that things will remain as they are also becomes the ties that bind us tightest: we expect and even desire that things remain the same.


(The devil we know is safer than the devil we don’t know.)


When we feel that we are bound inescapably, we need to re-learn our self in order to gain freedom. What are my hands? What can they do? What can I do for myself? We need to be as eager to do things for ourselves as a child learning to walk, to feed itself and to get dressed. We have to be just as willing to look silly. We have to be just as proud of every achievement. We need to re-train our eyes to see any possibility that exists. We need to re-train our minds. Only then do choices become apparent. Only then does the possibility of freedom reveal itself.

Eight of Swords — Dragon Tarot

Saturday, December 17th, 2011
Artist: Peter Pracownik

Designer: Terry Donaldson


Interpretation: Little White Book missing


This is a deck my Mom picked up for me at a garage sale, hence the missing LWB. It is proof that I am willing to accept any deck into my collection, just to show the variety of tarot art out there. I am not a fan of dragons or fantasy, per se. In particular, I am not a fan of other peoples’ fantasy. I admit, it happens that my seven of cups has a couple of dragons drinking tea on it: that’s because the seven of cups is about fantasy.


The eight of swords is about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. It is about the feeling of being stuck without the complete actuality of being stuck. Sometimes there seem to be no option— or so many options it is impossible to chose. Some say it is best not to make any crucial decisions at this point. I say, there is one crucial decision that must be made at this point: how to get unstuck. Sometimes this means letting the mind go, accepting stuckness and going from there: “I am stuck, but what can I do?”  The dragon on this card looks slightly menacing. If I was to feel stuck and it was to say “BOO!” I would quickly feel unstuck— unless there was another, equally menacing dragon in the opposite direction.


Yesterday I wrote: “Stopping is getting stuck. The longer I stop for, the more thoroughly I will be stuck. I do not want to get stuck.” Today I am back in Vermont. Thus, aside from a few bad habits, (excessive chocolate, lack of exercise) and unfortunate situations (unemployment), I no longer feel stuck. Not here. My imagination is too great for that: I am more likely to have too many options than too few. This merely leaves me feeling inept at making a decision, not stuck.


I LIE! I am stuck: I have yet to illustrate the kings. Instead, I spend inordinate hours browsing the internet, looking for independently published small-run 78-card tarot decks (contact me if you have one) and sometimes (too often? not often enough? too often for an unemployed pregnant person but not often enough for my liking?) purchasing them. I need to get unstuck. Bring me to your leader— MANIFEST YOUR KING!