When we see you
We are chosen
The diamond sky is full of arrows
To relate, to decide, to be torn
Three figures stand enmeshed behind a brilliant white sky. A tangle of coloured robes and arms push and pull in different directions. There is a young man in the middle and a young woman to his left, maybe they are a couple, to the man’s right a mysterious priest figure whispers something in his ear. Above the crowd, an angel shoots an arrow from the clouds.
Inscribed on this card are the words ‘Lamovrevx’ meaning ‘The Lovers’ this tells us we are entering into the space of love, relationship, attraction and union; the meeting with ‘the Other.’
We each experience life through a private inner world of thoughts, memories and dreams. Most people we meet will never really know the colours and contours of this inner landscape. But every so often, a meeting happens, a meeting with ‘the Other’
The other arrives as a lover, a collaborator or a friend. When we meet the other we become challenged, stimulated and affected by their otherness, and may begin to relate to them, sharing our inner world.
When inner worlds become shared, intimacy is created.
The psychologist Esther Perel, created a wordplay from the word intimacy, which she translated as ‘Into me see’ The act of allowing someone to see us, creates bonding, trust, and relationship.
What does it mean to be seen by an other?
To be seen and accepted, encouraged and nurtured by another person can be a life altering moment in a person’s life. A relationship can provide a safe space where talents, passions and self-identities can be discovered without the fear of rejection.
At first glance, this card seems like a joyous meeting. It could be a wedding day. But on closer inspection something feels off. Although they stand together, the figures are looking in different directions, hands pointing in opposite ways. In the midst of the confused movement of arms, a lack of unity and ambiguity can be read between the relationships.
The young man stands in the middle of the three, his red shoes point in either direction; perhaps they are torn between two choices.
A relationship pulls our life in a direction.
To go in one direction, is to close doors on other directions, other doors that we could walk through; other selves we could become.
Relationships change our direction in life, and they change us. As we feel the presence of the other moving us, there may be moments of hesitation, fear and uncertainty as we wonder if we are doing the right thing following this path.
But this card is called The Lovers, so what about love?
To fall in love is to be enveloped by another’s existence. Being in love is a an opening, vulnerable process that shifts our perspective of life. We become birthed as someone new in the dreamy, endorphin fueled state of an early relationship.
But the past is always with us, and the past must be seen.
In the card the young man stands with the woman, but looks back to the past, at the priest figure. A sense of chaos is stirred up in this act. Perhaps this past figure reminds the young man of a hurt, or something he wants to forget.
With love, comes inevitable conflict.
Our past self momentarily quiet, comes colliding into the present, needing to be seen. The open landscape of a relationship creates a safe space for past wounds, hurts and traumas to rear their heads, and tear away at the utopia of an early relationship.
In the Pamela Coleman-Smith illustration of this tarot card we see two lovers naked; they are exposed.
Our self grows through being seen.
And the psychic landscape of a relationship is a place where this can happen. In being seen there can be the chance for healing.
The other is a mirror, and if we can take responsibility for the flaws we see in this mirror, there may be a chance that we can become more whole and graceful versions of ourselves.
Carl Jung felt that within each of us exists an anima or animus – this can be translated as something like our unconscious psychic opposite; the other that we carry within us. He felt that contact with this presence motivates the ego to go beyond the realms of what it knows.
Following beauty, and the feelings inspired by the shimmering image of the other, inner and outer, can lead people to create and become versions of themselves they never would have alone. The other compels us to grow; through joy, pain, longing and even separation.
Many people will see this card and feel their past, for we have all come from relationships. But Cupids arrow points directly between the couple. They have not yet shot it, and we don’t know what this arrow will do.
We don’t know who is around the corner, we don’t know who we will meet next and who will change our lives. The mischievous hand of Cupid seems to say that to a large extent, it is out of our control.
But when the arrow strikes, we will be compelled to follow.
So follow love
And show yourself
To someone who cares.
Artwork for this month’s When We See You comes from a collaboration between artist’s Jack O’Flynn and Tamara Macarthur. Tamara created the cards from paper mache, paint, gold and glitter, leaving space in the middle for Jack to re-create the tarot image with colouring pencils and pen. The image in the middle was re-imagined from the Tarot de Marseille ‘Lamorvevx’ card.
Tamara Macarthur is a Glasgow based performance artist whose work explores tears, longing and intimacy within the space of theatrical, glittering sets of cathedrals, trees, waves and stars. See more of Tamara’s work on her website below.