The Wild Unknown Tarot - VIII Swords


At the top of the card is a horizontal sword with a butterfly that looks as if it's not a pupa but is in that shape (folded up) hanging from it.
The butterfly is a beautiful orange colour.
Beneath the butterfly are 7 other upright pointing swords but there is a gap in the middle where the butterfly is hanging.

8s to me relate to Justice and so are about balance, cause and effect, reaping what we've sown. Sometimes the 8s show things that are out of balance and I think that's the case with the 8 of Swords. This is a card that shows a problem and the solution. The problem is the upright swords which threaten to damage the butterfly, the solution comes from being able to avoid or get rid of the upright swords.

Swords represent problems, thoughts, communication and action so here we have a mind that is too full of thoughts that are causing the person (represented by the butterfly) to feel trapped. If the butterfly opens and madly flaps around it's wings will be torn to shreds by the swords but if the butterfly remains calm then it can find a way out and become balanced again...

So the answer is not to panic when things don't seem to be going well, you're filled with worry and don't know which way to turn to get out of a situation.. Think of cause and effect - still your mind to see what you've done or what has happened to cause this, then you can calmly work out how to get out of the situation. This is one of the cards that is quite similar to the RWS card with the bound lady, trapped in a field of swords.. She can get out but not if she panics.

There is a transformative aspect for me to this card too because of the butterfly.. Justice is about making decisions and the decisions we make can transform a situation from one that has us trapped and unable to think straight to one that we can clearly see a way out of...


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There is such a thin layer, a thin, thin layer between trapped and freedom in this card.

I have seen these Monarch chrysalises when they are just about to open ...they are transparent and you can see the glorious color of the butterfly inside.
One stretch of the wing and the thin clear chrysalis will break and out steps the butterfly.
This card for me is more about the mental process of deciding to stretch the wings for the first time.
Imagine how surprising it must be for a caterpillar to see he has wings...
He has to take off those preconceived blinders of what he used to be and see himself in a whole new way, with a whole new goal in life.
That can be scary, and scared sometimes translate into doing nothing...pretending not to see.
The land of denial.
But soon the sword that holds the cacoon may be needed...and if the decision isn't made who knows what the movement of that sword will bring.
The butterfly can so easily fly away from the remaining swords that have the potential to rip a fragile wing.
Time to make a decision and stretch those wings.


Lark said:
There is such a thin layer, a thin, thin layer between trapped and freedom in this card.

I have seen these Monarch chrysalises when they are just about to open ...they are transparent and you can see the glorious color of the butterfly inside.

Thank you Lark, I thought it was a chrysalis still but wasn't sure...

Yes, a thin layer between being trapped and being free and it's up to you to decide....

Wonderful insights... I love how you see the cards Lark... Isn't this deck just great?


Thank you Lark, I thought it was a chrysalis still but wasn't sure...

Yes, a thin layer between being trapped and being free and it's up to you to decide....

Wonderful insights... I love how you see the cards Lark... Isn't this deck just great?

Oh thank you...
And thank you for commenting on my posts..I love how you see things from the numerical side adds to my understanding.
I don't look at numbers much so that is interesting to me that you know all about them.
And how they fit with each card and go back to a Major, and draw on meaning there.
I'm really enjoying reading your posts.
And yes, this deck has been a revelation and revitalized my interest in tarot.
I'm starry eyed about it. :D


Great thoughts, lark and Sulis! They add so much more to the imagery of the card than I ever saw. I've not participated in a study thread before! I can see the great benefit as I am
learning much more from the cards from reading your keen perceptions than with my two (three;)) eyes alone.

What I saw was that at this point there is no danger, just the perception of danger that puts the fear in you. If you just wait, you'll be able to make your escape because you'll have the tools (wings) to just fly away!


Based on how this card has shown up in readings so far...

Progress is not always fast, nor even noticeable until you have a breakthrough and are able to look back and see how far you've come. Sometimes, things change very slowly (yet change is occurring).

Patience is a virtue. Rushing ahead blindly can cause far more damage than the agony of staying still.

This is a period of waiting. Make sure you have all your ducks (er, swords) in a row before proceeding. The best action to take is inaction; or alternatively, gathering more information or planning out your next move.

(You know, in some ways this card really makes me think of The Hanged Man.)


(You know, in some ways this card really makes me think of The Hanged Man.)

Yes, I've been getting this card in readings for my son and his future career lately and I'm getting very strong Hanged Man vibes from it too.
I agree with you about the sense of waiting and I think there is a very strong sense of the need to get your thoughts in order before proceeding too.


I've been pulling this card a lot for myself lately so I've been thinking about the symbolism used and the image itself.

Butterflies - the first thing that I think of when I think of butterflies is change because change is an essential part of the life-cycle of the butterfly or moth - from caterpillar or grub to something that can fly free with wings.
The other thing that I think of is the apparent fragility of a butterfly which, in reality isn't that fragile at all.

This butterfly is in the process of change - it's hanging there, in chrysalis form, waiting to become something new but surrounding it and below it are upright swords.
It's as if it's at the point of change, the cusp if you like but fears and negative thoughts (represented by the swords) are holding it back. It must be careful as it extends it's wings and not let those fears, negative thoughts and maybe just too many thoughts, cut it and stop it from actually completing the change.
I've also been thinking some more about the number 8.
8 is two 4s which could be seen as very solid as well as balanced so the 8s as well as being about movement to achieve balance are also about stillness to achieve balance.

Since I'm waiting for a pretty major operation that will change me physically forever and is something that I'm quite apprehensive and scared of, I think this image fits perfectly.

I've also pulled this card a few times lately in relation to my son's career and it fits there too... He knows that he has to make some big changes and at the moment he's in stasis, a bit stuck and he's the type who looks for the negatives in a situation and they hold him back....

As Lark said earlier; there's a very fine balance between being free and being trapped.


VIII of Swords

I have read what you have written above and it is all wonderful..... I think because I have gone backwards from the Ten of Swords, I have a slightly different view than I would have had if I had moved forward through the deck.... sometimes I like to do the random approach as I have here, and othertimes you see a bigger picture when taking the straightforward path!

Whatever I do, the cards meaning grow and change for any given situation although I am guess my first intuitions will always be there in the background.

I too have watched the Monarchs, I have fed many many Swan plants for the caterpillars... and they don't always make it..... Such a delicate card.... the sword that is supporting the life in the cocoon is the very same as the swords that could tear it apart. Fine balance indeed...

The choice is here.... to hang on no matter how easy it would be to cave in, make that final effort, break through the mist and pull yourself up to fly.... or fall.... never become what you could become..... and from there on the only way is down... to never open, to rot into the ground...

Where you will be compost for the next Swan plant to grow and feed the new pupae of the next generation of Monarchs.


Oops cut myself off too soon...

Looking forward to the 9 and 10, I see this card as the deciding time... the tip of the scales than can take you one way or the other.... which does go with the scales of Justice too I guess.... there is a huge differene between a squashed up darkish chrysalis and a big beautiful Monarch butterfly.... but also the lifespan of the butterfly after all the hard work is very short.

Better to live in glory for a day than be shrivelled in hell for a life time?

Wow there is sooooo much in this deck... it is blowing my mind... I feel as if I could toss all my other decks.. this is just so completely amazing me...

I had to order a back up!! Not that it wont last.... but I may lose it as I want to take it everywhere!! I think it will become my newest security blankie :)


I do not relate the 8s to justice. I relate them to the strength card. So for me, I look at this butterfly hanging on the sword with it's wings folded around its body. Is it protecting itself? or is it just caught unaware? below it are 7 more swords ready to pierce it, which obviously can do incredible damage. surely the butterfly knows this. so what is the butterfly thinking? what is it planning to do?

1. yes, I see swords as air and as such as words, thoughts, communication and actions. its generally swift and sometimes harshly so. so it could be the butterfly has folded her wings about her body to protect herself from this harsh attack until she can clearly figure out how to get out of this mess.

2. eights are a karma number. a number about cause and effect. What thouest sow, thouest will reap. which is just meaning whatever you do, will come back to you in kind.

I believe in the eight of swords a decision is being considered, but right now the butterfly is just protecting herself from the outside world. She doesn't want to hear anymore, see anymore or pay attention anymore to what is going on outside there. She just wants to wrap herself up and hide for awhile so she can concentrate. She needs to be alone to work this out in her own mind. she needs time. time to plan. time to think. so she can execute any ideas that she comes up with - with a clear head. She has to be sure before she reacts. she is using her strength and confidence to move forward with a plan, but not until she is ready to do so. she is mustering up the courage to move forward with her plans. just like in the strength card.

I see in this card a time of shielding yourself from the outside views until you can emerge without getting hurt. she is using her head, thinking it through before reacting to the dangers that are lurking about her. She is waiting to fly free when she knows she the plan she has was thought through and with a clear head.