Pearls of Wisdom - 8 of Swords


Freedom is there for the taking....

The central figure in this card is kneeling down, blind folded, with her hands and body loosley bound by rope, she wears a string of pearls around her neck and a long red dress.

She kneels on what seems to be the edge of a cliff, which is fertile and full of life, as evidenced by the roots extending into the air, looking for even more earth to envelop. She is surrounded by 8 swords with a string of pearls loosley wrapped around the swords forming an enclosure.... but there is an opening in the swords and pearls...

It is nightfall in the background, and there is a cloud spirit blowing a spiral of air around her, trying to encourage the trapped woman into freeing herself, as well as blowing air towards the moon. There are 3 clearly defined stars in the sky and what looks like 9 others surrounding her.

There is a half moon in the sky also blowing air, but into the night sky immediately surounding it, forming a circle around itself, almost as if to protect itself from the negativity below.

The bottom corners of the card bear identical swords, each sword is wrapped in a string of pearls, with a single pearl embedded in the hilt of each sword. The top corners have 3 swords each, the top 2 facing each other, the bottom 2, facing the bottom of the card and the 2 in the middle facing the top centre of the card, all of which are wrapped in pearls, which actually cross the top and connect both sets of swords.

On the sides of the card in the middle is a Rune symbol, on the left is Isa, and on the right is Gebo, the book gives the definitions as:

Isa - a period of surrender, a time of isolation, learn to be still and
Gebo - joining together of 2, partnership, sharing and relationship.

This card reminds me that, even though sometimes we put ourself in a self-imposed prison, and may feel as though the situation is overwhelming, that there's always a way to break free from this bondage, if we will only make an effort to help ourselves, even if this was a neccessary process. And more importantly, the fact that even though, we may not see or feel it, we are never really alone in our strife, there's always someone around trying to help us make that first neccessary step towards freedom and overcoming the obstacles we have placed on our self.

Rede Seeker

The opening and the cliff

We see this sworling air pattern in the Ten of Swords, too. In the Eight of Swords, we don't clearly see where it's coming from, similar to the Ten. In both cards, it seems to be protecting the person is sworls around.

The woman's escape route is to go over the cliff. Does she take that leap of Faith? For that matter, does she even know that she is at the edge of a cliff?

The Rune on the right side might be Nauthiz - the Need Rune. Their shapes are similar and the one here is skewed enough for it to be unclear which Rune is represented.

If the Rune is read as Gebo - partnership, sharing, relationship - then perhaps the woman has decided to trust the protecting Spirits and free herself.

If the Rune is read as Nauthiz - Need - then perhaps she is undecided and needs to summon the will to act.

Checking the Rune Totals
Isa = second Aettir, third Rune = 11
Gebo = first Aettir, seventh Rune = 7
Isa + Gebo = 11 + 7 = 18 = Berkano, the Birth Rune - If she chooses to free herself, she creates new opportunities for herself; she is reborn

Nauthiz = second Aettir, second Rune = 10
Isa + Nauthiz = 11 + 10 = 21 = Laguz, the Water Rune - a powerful Rune of Initiation into life (ref. Thorsson's 'Futhark')

So reading that Rune as Gebo or Nauthiz provides insight into the woman's situation, both work well with the imagery on the card.