Being seen is a powerful thing.
A needed thing. And a rare thing.
In our rush to be of service, to help each other, we don’t always listen, not really. We’re so keen to say something helpful that even as friends, lovers, strangers are telling us their stories, we’re already formulating our response, our helpful response.
Practical advice is great, of course. Many’s the time I’ll chew over a dilemma with a friend, valuing their helpful, pragmatic, actionable advice. Sometimes it’s important to get someone else’s take on a situation, to help you step back and see things from a different viewpoint.
Other times, though, what’s needed – what I need, what you need, what we need – is only to be heard. Seen.
It’s the same with our tarot cards. We get used to asking questions, turning to our cards for advice, guidance, something practical, a different perspective, something we hadn’t noticed, something to focus on.
That’s all good! Sometimes, that’s just what we need. I use my cards this way all the time, I bet you do too. Entire courses and books and blogs have been created, showing you how to find the very best guidance from your cards.
But tarot cards can offer something far more profound than that.
Tarot cards can witness you.
Or rather (and more importantly) they can help you witness yourself.
Life rolls on, sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s tough. We change, constantly, we grow, we learn, we take backward steps, then forwards, always feeling, always responding. That’s just how it goes. But every so often, it’s good to feel seen. To mark those changes or feelings by simply…noticing them.
Last week, under that beautiful full moon in cancer, Emma and I pulled cards. No question, no expectation. Just a shuffle and a pull beneath the bright silvery light.
She drew the dynamic Six of Wands. I drew the couple-y Two of Cups. We laughed and saw ourselves in the cards, enjoyed the way each card mirrored back just exactly where we were ‘at’.
It was more helpful than any ‘advice’ card, any big spread or digging to get to the root. It showed us qualities in ourselves that had become lost in the quagmire of overthinking, over-doing, or just, you know, worry. Those individual cards, one each, pierced through the fog and shone a spotlight on each of us. It was comforting. Validating.
A couple of days later we talked about the cards.
For Emma especially, that sense of being seen – and of seeing herself – in the Six of Wands had given clarity, energy, encouragement. She’s working on a huge project, one that requires intense self-motivation and confidence. It requires her to believe in herself every single day, in a way that can’t always be pulled out of nowhere. Her card reminded her of her inherent optimism and excitement for life, showed her that she had everything she needed to make a success of this, to keep going. It witnessed her tiredness and her unsureness. It witnessed that this might be a battle sometimes. It reminded her of what was underneath.
For me, the Two of Cups had shown me the depth in a decision I’m currently mulling over. It had reflected the values that sit at the heart of it, shown me how simple the thing I’m seeking really is. Emma and I laughed as we looked at the two dykes on the cards, short hair, check shirts, hands held, arguing over which was whom. I remembered that everything I’m doing right now is about partnership, love, and connection.
I felt seen. Emma felt seen. Heard. Witnessed, in this brief moment of our lives.
We were simply witnessing ourselves. Nothing more was needed. A profound and simple thing.