Sacred Circle,  Swords

Journey into: 8 of Swords

Anna Franklin

Written by: Emma Sunerton-Burl

Continuing her series, Emma Sunerton-Burl looks into the cards of The Sacred Circle Tarot, by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason, published by Llewellyn:

I look at the card and instantly am drawn to the birthing stone – the stone with a hole in as a symbol of rebirth and fertility; it seems initially at odds with the key word of the card bondage.

I walk into the card.

I feel it is the end of the day and sunset is blazing in the sky. I sense a day that has had much in it, and there is a feeling of tiredness about this card. I look to the swords first and sense I could miss them altogether if I don’t deal with them now, despite wanting to rush forward into the stones ahead.

I see the swords as almost a grill, as I look up, with the eighth sword threatening to cut the threads that hold them all up there. Were that to happen I am right beneath them; dire consequences, despite the threat though, all seems still. [Interestingly in the visualisation the swords were pointing the opposite direction to the card itself].

“What do you mean in this card?” I ask the swords as a whole.

The 7 say, “We are the myriad of thoughts and issues, in your life right now, that you are just about holding off – hence your feeling of tiredness. We are the stresses of life all lined up and ready to stake you at a moments notice. Not that we are about to lose our position here, but standing where you are there is certainly the threat. We also represent the prison you make for yourself, the thoughts you use to hold yourself back from what you truly want to do. We are the fears that keep you from succeeding. Yet the eighth is separate from us and can be used to free us if you move yourself to a new perspective.”

I realise I have chosen to stand directly beneath these swords yet actually there are many other viewpoints I could take. I step back and away, and look up, then realise by moving in this direction I am indeed potentially putting their descent in my own way forward. So I walk forward and turn around. Yes, I have moved through the threat now and can address the eighth sword and if they fall I am neither in danger nor will it stop me from getting to my goal. I see all this as very significant to the meaning of this card. It is as if we have to walk under our fears – face them in a sense – and trust they are only fears, in order to get to the core, and to our goal; if we move backwards to gain safety, it is like we are moving backwards on our path and create only more obstacles; if we move forwards to safety then we have a greater change of a smooth journey from there on in.

“So eighth one – what do you see your meaning to be? Do you have a message for me?”

“I am the destroyer, the one of power and strength to tear down your negative thoughts and beliefs, you sense this in the situation you are in when this card shows and hence experience fear. What would life be like without these thoughts and fears who threaten to cage you? Somehow a cage is safer than the wide open plains where anything could happen. You wait for the cage to block you as you wait on your fears to disappear. I tell you I will not cut them down on you, unless you wait forever. You need to courageously walk forward then you will have earned the right to rebirth and a new life – leaving old restrictions behind. I will cut these swords down from their suspension points.”

As the sword says this so all the swords fall in quick succession and form a barrier between me and the old ways. It is no longer a cage but a protection from falling back into the ways of the past. The eighth now comes to my hand and says:

“You can wield me to cut down fears in the future. I will be at your disposal as a tool now you have faced that which gives you the most terror. Now you can see a fear, a demon, and will have the tools to face it, fight it and destroy it.”

“Thank you.” I say. I feel this is a rite of passage in many ways.

I go towards the stones and put my hands on the first upright standing stone and listen to its inner voice.

“I am power and strength – I protect the vulnerable and I act to bring new life. Use me as your support when you need to rest. For you have worked hard and a rest is needed before the final transition.”

I sit by the rock and lean my back against him, he supports me and I feel the strength in him helping me support myself through my spine. There seems a strong link here. I feel all my stresses and strains of recent days flow through me and into the supportive rock for transmutation.

After a while I walk forward to the rock with a hole and approach with reverence.

“You may come within me if you are willing to be born again, release attachments to your past form of life and allow me to live within you in a a new sense. Follow your inner wisdom more in your life and allow yourself to be supported by those around you and your own sense of self value.”

“I am ready.” I say.


I walk towards the circle and climb through – I feel as if I am climbing through a veil from one dimension to another. I feel all the old energies being left behind. I come out the other side and thank the stone. She says:

“I give you new life, The earth supports you on your new project and new friendships that are coming into your life, know things are as they now need to be – there is no fear holding you back.”

“Thank you.” I say.

Then I walk to the other upright stone.

“Rest here a while.” He says.

I sit against the stone and feel one with the stone. Again I have a great feeling of support and strength and a sense that resting after the transformation has occurred. It is almost as if I can feel my cells in my body aligning to the new me – supporting me in a new way from this day on.

As I sit here a while I see images of what I need to be doing practically to bring this change about now the inner levels have shifted and I am calm and peaceful. I understand so much more.

I look to the sun set which has become brighter and brighter – more red and orange, I ask for its meaning.

“At the end of the day I bring about the energies of passion and enthusiasm for the new day in the morning. I will again at sunrise indicate the time is now, currently I am the promise of good things to come, of what follows a time of full rest. In this card, in amongst the need for change and transformation, there is also a good deal of need for rest, reflection and contemplation of the future. Though the inner change occurs, a time of dreaming is required to make these changes full active in your life. I come to say rest, reflect and enjoy. With illness it is a time of recuperation; gentle time away from everyday life to rest and allow your energies to restore themselves within you. When this is done the path before you will be clear and free to travel in a new way.”

“Thank you.” I say.

“Thank you all.” I stand up and address the card as a whole:

“It has been an amazing experience for me and relevant for me personally too. I just need to ask what if you are reversed?”

“Then we are about a time of resting, and indeed waiting, for the energy to arise to help you walk towards those fears. It maybe the fears are not yet conscious and through time out of your usual routine, you will be able to see what they are. As you do so you right the card and things move forward. Reversed we also speak of a delay – a necessary one; sometimes for your own development; sometimes because events need to move into place to allow you to make your next move. Use the time wisely to gather your strength and resolve, and to become aware of any restrictive fears that may need to be cleansed. It can also mean that you need to take advantage of the time an illness gives you, to come into closer contact with your true self.”

“Thank you all. I have experienced a lot here.” I say.

I turn and leave the card, feeling a lot more connected to both myself and to the energy of this card.


Emma welcomes any comments on this article or the visualisations you do following this method. Email her on

Emma works as an intuitive psychic tarot reader and runs one to one online training courses on reading with the Thoth tarot deck using a unique blend of intuition and psychological techniques. This has now been extended to working intuitively with RWS style decks too. She also mentors other professional and non-professional tarot readers. She offers visualisation MP3 downloads for intuition development, tarot readings F2F, telephone or distance, and healing – see her website for details: 

Emma has a Bsc in Psychology and is a trained counsellor, counselling supervisor and trainer. She integrates this experience in her Tarot work, and in her self-written training courses for personal development, Tarot, and Tarot mentoring.

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