Swiftness: Rapid/Unexpected Changes/News, Fall, and Speed
The Eight of Wands. Swiftness. News. Changes. Speed. Conclusion. Fall. The unexpected. Sudden action. The Eight of Wands corresponds to the Sefirot of Hod, which represents intellect, structure, and weakness – as a response to the degenerate nature of Netzach. The inherent structure of the suit of Wands is actually not very structured; Wands are associated with fire, which is itself not inherently ordered. As such, the ‘order’ and ‘structure’ of fire and Wands is inherently fleeting (unless one’s power and passion blaze on for a long while), and passes by swiftly. The Eight of Wands represents this swiftness and the sudden change that can result from the energy of the suit. In the Naples Arrangement, 8 corresponds to Knowledge and Thought; it is the consciousness of the nature of Wands that define this card, and why its swiftness and speed come to the fore.
The aspect of ‘weakness’ appears in the Eight of Wands in the form of fall; one who is passionate but uses up their energy swiftly will burn out early and will fade rapidly, going from someone to no one in a short span of time. In a similar vein, the Eight also then can represent conclusions, and the end of a period in one’s life. However, it is important to remember that these periods are not major, and the falls are not large – some of the Major Arcana hold those spots in reserve.
The Eight also is a reaction to the nature of Valour; the fall again shows itself, as one falls from grace and valour, and speed as well; the reaction to a perceived flaw in the nature of Wands will be swift, sudden, passionate, and grandiose; leading to a possible conclusion or sudden, unexpected change. In the vein of unexpected change, the Eight of Wands also represents news, particularly surprising news; this news could either be good or bad, but it will certainly be a change.
The Rider-Waite art shows eight wands falling from the sky to the earth, demonstrating motion (likely swift, as they’re falling), and very clearly the idea of a fall. The remind me of arrows in many ways, travelling swiftly from one place to another, like sudden, unexpected news. The Thoth illustration shows eight zig-zagging, energetic wands all emanating from a central point, illustrating the idea of spreading news. Above the wands is a rainbow, which is a representation of the cards role as a messenger.
In a reading, the Eight of Wands generally indicates a sudden change, piece of surprising news, or a fall from grace. It can also ask you to examine your current actions and whether or not a rapid change in direction is necessary, or to be wary of things that might bring you down. It can also advise you to act quickly to seize the day. Reversed, this card indicates that the swift energies of sudden change are present, but are blocked; is something holding you back from making said change? Are you denying the truth of something you’ve heard just because it came out of the blue? Are you trying to stave off a sudden change you feel is coming?