Exploring the Minor Arcana: The Eights

In this series we'll be diving into the world of the Minor Arcana. Each segment will group the cards by number where we can engage in their themes and differences. For all the posts in the installment, click here.


If the eights could be described in one word it would be "action." These cards illustrate moments of dedication, movement, and commitment. Often growth-oriented, the eights show us how deciding to put our noses down and do the work can be in turns satisfying, galvanizing, and intimidating. 

Eights also have an entrepreneurial bent - they relish using their surroundings to their advantage and have a savvy way of negotiating with the world. In readings, eights are an indication of a path nearing conclusion that could benefit from work and focus. Below we'll look at each suit in depth.

Explore In-Depth Minor Arcana Meanings

The  Eight of Wands gives us one of the most visually straightforward illustrations in the deck. Eight budding wands descending through a vivid blue sky. There's not a cloud in sight, indicating smooth sailing, quick-moving action, and plenty of creative inspiration and motivation. This is a card that sees energy unleashed constructively and with no obstacles.

For the Eight of Swords is quite different. This card shows us the paralysis that comes with overthinking. The figure in the card is fenced in by a line of swords, bound and blindfolded despite the many sharp edges available to sever the ties. When we worry too much or fall into the overwhelming possibilities of our choices we lose sight of the end goal and even ourselves.

The Eight of Cups shows a profound emotional journey. The main figure in this card is leaving behind a row of upturned cups, heading up a jagged mountain pass under the light of the moon. The action in this card is personal, pioneering, and brave. It shows us an inward search for new sources of fulfillment. 

Finally, the Eight of Pentacles gets practical, as pentacles are known to do. Here we see a literal representation of work. The main character here is busy hammering away at a pentacle, the tree besides him decorated with those they've completed. This card shows us the pleasure that comes with being in the flow when we work, as well as the big strides we're capable of when we remain focused. 

All in all, we can see that the eights show us pivotal moments where we're being asked to commit to a task and be present with ourselves, whether it's through our love of work or our nervousness when faced with decisions.