"You are truly in prison if you lock yourself up"
Keywords for this card are:
- Being victimised
Now this is the accepted Rider-Waite image, many decks are based on this, and I have been sticking with the traditional meaning. In depth though, and in the negative, I would say that I have always felt that this is a card about self sabotaging.
You are really your worst enemy.
You can see that the Swords are not completely around her, that the bandages are loose, but rather than taking a risk, breaking the bandages and running off, she chooses not to see this and play victim.
Yes, I said that, play victim. Because, beside the original cause for this "hiccup", "delay", "obstacle", there is absolutely no reason for her not to escape. Except that either she is unwilling to or is waiting for someone else to do it for her.
If you also think that after the 8, the 9 of Swords is even more of a "oh please pity me" card, this sets you up nicely.
This is self imposed isolation, hoping that the solution would drop on her lap (or bandages). Which is not going to happen until this state of mind reaches its peak with the 10 of Swords. Bottom is reached, up you go and buy some plasters on the way.
In a mental state term I would say that this would not correspond with being depressed. But being self loathing, having low self esteem, being passive rather than active. The self harm here is not physical, it is in the mind. Believing that there is no way out, when there is a door open, but of course it's not open, she cannot see it because of the blindfold, which she would not be wearing if she took the time to loosen her bandages.
And so it is a vicious circle of cause and effect. Doing nothing produces nothing. By the time one reaches the 9 then depression and self deprecation sets in. However, things move forward even if we do not, so eventually she won't have 8 Swords around and a way out if she takes it, but 10 Swords through her back.
Really it is all about choice.
What choices we make and actions we take will always produce a counteractive effect.
Antidote for this? Well, it depends from the reading of course. It could be a temporary state of things or it could be that this person may need some counselling to help perhaps. Especially with the 9 of Swords.
But of course I am talking about the card only here, the meanings and shades can be infinite depending on the reading. But the underlying energy is one of passivity, victim mode, fear and self loathing.