September 1, 2010

The Mystical Eight of Swords

I may have mentioned once or twice before just how much I adore tarot cards. Beautifully depicted scenes rich in symbolism awaiting mystic and metaphoric interpretation - what could be better? In the course of doing personal tarot card readings (what?! you didn't know I moonlight as a gypsy?) I had noticed the recurrence of the 8 of swords in my readings. Now if you aren't familiar with the 8 of swords, well, it's not the friendliest looking card in the deck; sure, it doesn't strike the same fear in your heart as some of the other cards like "Death" or the "Tower", but it's not exactly what you want to see on a regular basis either.

Essentially, this is a card of bondage and oppression from an outside force, however, spiritually and emotionally you play some fundamental role in your current circumstance. The situation you find yourself in is of your own making and it fear that provides the bondage. You will typically see the eight of swords represented by a woman bound, blindfolded and surrounded by swords that stand guard around her or hold her prisoner depending on your perspective. A tower or fortress of some kind rises up in the background signifying the oppressor, and often the ground appears marshy and wet to show the discomfort and uncertainty. Because she is blindfolded she is unaware of the fact she is in fact surrounded by the very tools that will either prove to be her utter undoing or allow her to cut her bindings and result in her freedom, but the fact still remains that despite the bleak appearance, she does indeed have a way out.

After much reflection, I decided to reintrepret the 8 of swords like this:

Sometimes it isn't what you don't see that imprisons you, but what you don't say. Enough said.


  1. Andrea's style is so vivid, clean, it mixes ethereal textures and images. She truly makes me want learn more and find out how to bring that out of my work and creations. I have not seen anyone come close to her significant application and teachings - as if she seems to twist the compassion in every story she tells while bringing out the passion in artistry.

  2. Andrea, you have captured the essence of what so many of my friends have been talking to me about. To me this is the image of a woman as a peace keeper. Holding everything seemingly together to those around her. The calm of the eyes and the taming of the tongue so we don't offend by sharing our own wants and desires. The arms in bondage represnet two things to me: what we don't do so we don't offend and what we can't do because we stop ourselves from taking the risk. This piece really speaks to me. I can't wait to take your course at Artfest.

  3. Lovely pictures, Andrea. You did a wonderful job. Hope you continue to create what you love to paint...

  4. I enjoyed the slide show. You are a very talented artist. Your tarot card interpretation reminded me of something I heard on The Waltons once when I was a teenager, "Silence isn't always golden, sometimes it's just plain yellow (cowardly)." I am your friend Marlynne's oldest sibling. Darlene in North Carolina