Here we see eight vertebra of a spinal column. This would suggest the animal we are looking at is a sloth. Sloths have eight vertebra and are fitting animals for the eight of bones/pentacles. The spine is straight and without damage.
Eights are linked with strength and infinity in the tarot. But it is a strength that comes as a result of necessity, it emerges out of chaos and destruction. But a hard won strength that is developed slowly and purposefully with a mature mind both lasts and reaches towards the divine and assists the expression of the self. It is a strength that is creative and adaptive that is able to work with restrictions by bringing passions to heel and channeling them in new ways to achieve the desired goal.
You may have been through a difficult time and could be feeling defeated. The eight of bones is here to encouraging you to strip things down to the bare bones and keep going. You are on the right track even though progress may feel slow. Sloths are slow but persevere and are surprisingly good survivors precisely in part because of their slow movements and persistence. Their ability to live in the moment means they find the nutrients they need and are also less visible to predators. Also, they spend nearly their whole life living in the trees of the forest (the spine of the forest) and thus have a harmonious relationship with nature. They are also powerful swimmers (rivers being the heart of the forest) as such, it’s clear they can adapt as needed.
You are, or soon will be working towards a goal that will afford you stability, strength and flexibility in the future. This may be at work, at home, in your art, in your relationships, or work on yourself. It will be the backbone to the future you’re dreaming of. Your commitment and dedication, even in the face of adversity, will pay off in the long run. Keep your head down and focused, ignore the nay-Sayers. But be open to people who offer constructive criticism and input. Now is not the time to get caught up in fantasy and distraction. Be aware of ego. Don’t let your focus be distracted by feelings of pride and trying to please others. Even if what you are working on is at your place of employment, make sure to do what is needed to get the task done well, but don’t compromise the core of yourself. Find creative ways to stay true to you.
This period of your life is about building up your strength so you can stand tall and secure in your future and expand your life. Its is a strength that balances the spiritual and material to manifest real world gains.
Spines can sometimes been seen as rigid. It is important to hold your ground at present and stay on task, but the strength and life you are focused on building is to help you evolve, help carry the rest of your journey and go towards building your physical and spiritual wealth. That is why the sloths, like owls, have the ability to turn their head 270 degrees, to counteract any rigidity that may sneak in while you are busy rebuilding your reserves. The sloth has psychic vision and can see a wide range of perspectives, taking in all the information without feeling the need to rush in and act on it. This aspect of the card encourages you to keep an open mind while staying focused.
The spine is straight and undamaged. The vertebra are perfectly stacked. It is the core of your strength that takes time and commitment to keep strong and flexible. But sometimes being too focused can mean we not only lose sight of the bigger picture but we veer into worrying about perfectionism. Life is not about being perfect and neither is strength. Perfectionism is a weakness that can undermine your goals. Just keep going, you’re on the right path, you are building a great future and people around see it and you can feel it in yourself. It won’t always be such hard work. In fact, building a strong core like this means that your future will be easier and you can expand on it to a greater extent.
Upright: Apprenticeship, building strength, patience, focus, awareness, working towards the future, knowing your truth and building on it.
Reversed: Perfectionism, disorganized, unmotivated, directionless, scattered, knowledge without application, fear of achievement.