Some key words for the eight of swords are victim mentality, bondage, obstacles, prison and lack of clarity.
When the eight of swords appears in a reading, it can indicate a state of mind where the person feels trapped or imprisoned based on some type of though patterns. The eight of swords can also indicate that the person is stuck in a situation that they would like to get out of but there are no options available to do so are the options available may not be the right solutions. However, the individuals feelings of being imprisoned or trapped may be self imposed. With the 8 of swords, there is always a great possibility that the individual could break out of their victim mentality by simply changing the way they think.
When eight of swords appears reversed in a reading in can indicate that the person has regained some clarity of though and is able to resolve the situation or walk away from it. The eight of swords appearing reversed in a reading can also mean that the restrictions holding the individual back have been lifted.
Want a more comprehensive interpretation of the 78 tarot cards which includes the eight of swords. I highly recommend “The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings”, by Brigit Esselmont.