Finding Strength in All the 8 Cards in Tarot

Finding Strength in All the 8 Cards in Tarot February 29, 2024

Earlier this year I wrote about the numerological value for 2024, the number 8. That blog post focused on the Strength tarot card (number 8 in the Rider-Waite-Smith system) and how it can help us through this year. The major arcana Strength card is not the only card in tarot that encourages us to be strong and persevere. All of the 8 cards in tarot reflect our need to be strong, just in different aspects of our lives.

Three Strength Cards. From Left to Right is The Morgan Greer Tarot, The Fifth Tarot and The Tarot of Dreams

The Meaning of 8 in Tarot

In numerology, eight is the number of building, and in some theories also the number of destruction. Eight has the primary numerological meanings of wholeness, change, leadership, and power. Eight is one number beyond “perfection” or the number 7, and represents the infinity. The mathematical symbol for infinity, the lemniscate, is the number eight turned on its side. We see this symbol in various cards in the tarot: The Magician, the Two of Pentacles, and also in the Strength card.

Eights in tarot are a mixed bag. They contain the solid sense of four yet without its enclosing, fearful walls. Eights are about moving beyond that structure, but still working within its rules. It takes the growth lessons of all the numbers that came before it and moves still higher, still striving towards the goal. There is the hint of a new beginning with the eight, but it’s more because the old ways weren’t working as well as you’d hoped. There is both building and destruction inherent in the eights, so it may be difficult at times to ascertain the meaning in the card. Or it often means that while there is progress, there is also a loss.

8 in the Minor Arcana

Eight is the number of Strength in the tarot and the four minor arcana suits must now find a way to access their own particular strength if they wish to make real progress on their journey. The four suits show the different approaches to finding or accessing Strength.

The 8 of Wands stands for the Strength experienced when their energy is allowed to flow freely. The 8 of Cups finds the Strength to leave an emotionally un-fulfilling situation in search of personal happiness. The 8 of Swords struggles to find the psychological Strength to liberate themselves from limiting, negative and restrictive mindsets and attitudes. And the 8 of Pentacles showcase their strength of commitment and determination.

The 8 of Wands

The 8 of Wands is a sudden release of fire, the element typically associated with Wands. It explodes onto the scene and brings excitement, fast movement and rapid change. There can often be passion and joy attached to the creative release of the 8 of Wands. There can also be chaos and a bit of juggling if you’re not ready.

Three 8 of Wands Cards. Left to right the decks are the Radiant Rider-Waite deck, the Morgan Greer Tarot deck, and the Tarot Grand Luxe

The 8 of Wands focuses more on the power of the eight to get things accomplished as quickly as possible. This 8 takes on the aspect of the Strength card that represents taking on a challenge and moving quickly to its resolution. It can also represent various actions taking place at once, all aimed at reaching a certain goal. The other type of strength you will need to navigate the 8 of Wands is the strength and focus to keep all of the wands moving in the right direction while staying motivated to see this venture to the end.

The 8 of Cups

The 8 of Cups focuses on the renewal aspect of water and the inner fortitude to leave behind that which doesn’t serve you. This card typically shows a figure walking away from their eight cups that can represent emotional ties, relationships, and other meaningful associations. The 7 of Cups card shows us seven cups with different ideas, desires or goals in them. The eight card represents that the figure on the card has decided which of those cups is worth pursuing and is now off to make those things a reality. But in order to manifest our desires, we have to be willing to let go of the things that hold us back from that desire.

Three 8 of Cups Cards. Left to right the decks are the Radiant Rider-Waite deck, the Morgan Greer Tarot deck, and the Tarot Grand Luxe

Moving on can be one of the hardest decisions one makes in life and hence the inner strength and determination of eight is needed to see it through. The lesson of the eights are that nothing good comes without sacrifice and that sometimes suffering is part of the path to success. We must face the bitter with the sweet and understand that oftentimes it is for the best.

The 8 of Swords

Personally, swords is my least favorite minor arcana suit. Swords focuses on the mental aspects of our lives including those feelings that live in our head such as depression and anxiety. In the 8 of Swords, the figure needs to be released from their accumulated stress, tension and conflict. This card typically shows a woman bound, blindfolded, and barefoot surrounded by eight swords. Often when a querant receives this card in a reading there is an immediate sense of identification with feelings of being trapped and unable to determine which way to go to release oneself. This is the challenge to be faced and overcome, hearkening back to the Strength card.

Three 8 of Swords Cards. Left to right the decks are the Radiant Rider-Waite deck, the Morgan Greer Tarot deck, and the Tarot Grand Luxe


The strength of this eight card is that it can empower the sword to sever anything binding a person – attachments, negative thinking, or even toxic situations. The sword can clear a path to freedom and progress, but only if the sword is being handled correctly. To use the sword as a tool in this case, I often advise people to try to approach their situation from an objective point of view, try to remove their feelings and think about the problem. What would they tell someone else in this situation to do?

If the sword is not being used as a tool at this point, it can become a weapon turned on its master. If a person cannot find a way out of their entrapment, the sword is more likely to cause them further harm. We are all likely to find ourselves in an 8 of Swords situation at some point. We must do our best to find a way out or risk being stuck there, or worse, spiraling out of control.

The 8 of Pentacles

The 8 of Pentacles relies on the inner determination that is brought to bear on a task that requires detailed, focused concentration over a period of time. Typically, this card shows a figure, an apprentice, creating pentacles. The person is fixated on their work, producing pentacle after pentacle. The 8 of Pentacles reflects the aspect of building within the number eight. The apprentice is building their skill set as well as their reputation.

Three 8 of Pentacles Cards. Left to right the decks are the Radiant Rider-Waite deck, the Morgan Greer Tarot deck, and the Tarot Grand Luxe

Sometimes in a reading, I read this card as daily life. It is not exciting, but we still have to take the trash out, clean the house and pay bills. This card can represent the necessary details of everyday life that we often brush off as not important.

The strength found in the 8 of Pentacles is the strength of determination and concentration. What we are working on may not be exciting, or maybe it is, but it is necessary to learn and learn how to do correctly. Pentacles is the suit that reflects the physical parts of our world, especially money. So it’s possible to assume that the task we’re performing in the 8 of Pentacles will be useful for your financial situation or in your physical life.

The 8s are a Mixed Bag

The eights are a mixed lot and it really helps to relate the cards back to the Strength card to understand the different kinds of approaches and facets of strength each card focuses on. There are situations that call for a slow, tedious, dedicated approach, while others call for a full on, no holds barred attack. Some situations require us to restrain an urge to rush in while other situations need us to work up the courage to act decisively and with force. The four minor arcana suits show these various approaches with the cyclical and dual idea of building and destroying, suffering and success that the eight represents.

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