Short meaning: With the Eight of Swords you have a decision to make but you fear the consequences that will prevail. You’re left feeling trapped and unable to act. Delaying it further will only worsen the situation for you now. Accepting you have played a part in creating this situation might help you to find a potential solution.
In-depth meaning: The Subject has allowed a very difficult, tense situation to build over time and they fear it is finally about to break open. They are now caught between two factions and any decision will have some negative consequence. The Subject feels there will be hurt and loss, either way, and will be distressed about this. They need encouragement to face and deal with it before the situation gets any worse.
The Subject is at least partly responsible for this issue, and the message here is that they need to take decisive action. There’s no point in spending any more time in despair and worry – they must now try to improve their state of mind. They’d benefit most from thinking through the best ways of dealing with the situation, or even sorting it out directly, rather than fretting about it.
Notes on the image: All the eight Swords are crossed as if in battle, representing conflict inwardly (The Subject) and outwardly (other people). The clouds are grey, stormy and building up turbulently into a mass. The eight numbered cards are quite high up in sequence which indicates the importance of such situations.