The Eight of Swords in the Thoth deck is another example of Frieda Lady Harris’ mastery of shape and color. The swords depicted seem to nearly jump off of the card with an almost florescent, yet somehow at the same time subtle, outlining. Counterpoised is the russet background with abstract wing shapes. It is one of the most beautiful and compelling pip card images that I’ve ever seen.
Crowley uses “interference” as they keyword for this card, calling to mind radio interference – the sort of static that plagues the signals of distant AM stations.
Here are parts of his description from The Book of Thoth.
Too much force applied to small things: too much attention to detail at the expense of the principal and more important points. Patience in detail of study; great care in some things, counterbalanced by equal disorder in others. Admires wisdom, yet applies it to small and unworthy objects.
In the RWS deck, this card depicts a woman, perhaps an initiate, bound and blindfolded, partially surrounded by the swords which have been placed upright in the ground around her like the bars of a prison. Yet, it has always seemed to me as if escape would be easy. Loose the bonds, take off the blindfold and it’s immediately apparent that you are free.
Our ignorance blinds us to our freedom. Yet, sometimes the more we learn, the less we understand.
This Eight card, for me, at this time, is a caution against getting caught up in irrelevant minutiae, in what Dr. Stephen Covey called “the thick of thin things.” In all of our endeavors, we should seek wisdom and understanding, not merely techniques and knowledge.