love, vulnerability, existential connection, courage
In this image the Hope bags have found one another. They saunter through the sky in imitation of the birds above them. Some of them just surfaced from the lake, from their unconscious desires. Others are simply looking for others to dance with, to draw patterns in the sky, to add irreverent movement to the stillness of the landscape. This is the card of Touch…
When you get touched on your life’s journey, by another human being or living being, you become aware of your vulnerability, of your potential to be transformed and moved out of your comfort zone. This can happen in a positive or a negative way. The human condition is always a potentially violent one. Our bodies make it so: they can be harmed, misused, neglected, underfed, humiliated. And this is happening every day. Maybe not to you but certainly to thousands of young women, children, soldiers, prisoners or homeless migrants stuck in the refugee camps of another freedom war. Or to those whose lifestyle or sexual preferences don’t mimic the social norm of their community. Or those whose gender appreciation is out of harmony with the one of the group they belong to. Those whose mental faculties or age or looks or upbringing seem out of tune with their surroundings. Those that cannot compete with a violent economic market that strips them of their most basic needs for heat, comfort, food or education.
Violence in fact seems to be deeply grounded in the way we have come to understand our lives. From early on we have been taught to protect ourselves from harm, our bodies having become institutionalized to respond to the norm. We live in a constant existential angst regarding the ultimate violence that will be our fate: be it through sickness, an accident or ‘just’ old age.
But still, we have not lost our capacity for being touched. And it is exactly this acceptance of our human condition of frailty and mutual dependence that we have come to call love. This card speaks not only of love in a romantic sense, but love in all its appearances: friendship, the love we have for our partners, for our children, for the one suffering that crosses our path. Love is rarely a choice. But being touched by the other and taking this moment further, into a relationship, ìs. Often love is most strongly felt when it is lost: in mourning you discover that the other is not only missed, but that you also lost a piece of yourself. That, without the other, you are no longer capable of speaking of your ‘self’. Your ‘I’ has become undone in the process, and mourning is the period you need to come to terms with that.
Love overcomes our engrained sense of self-protection: it is the acceptance of the possibility that the proximity of the other(s) will cause you to unravel, to lose your grounding. Love is the embrace of this mutual vulnerability and the promise to care that comes with it.
In Touch your independence gets replaced by the realization of the fundamentally relational character of our being: the ec-stasy of being always already ‘outside ourselves’ through the relations that have shaped us. A sense of ‘non-self’ is created through the willful act of loving the other ‘as yourself’: you displace yourself into another body at the risk of losing what is most dear to you: the construction of the ‘I’ you thought you were. In this sense love is NOT the demand for the recognition of what you already are, but a petition for becoming. A leap of faith that accepts transformation as an essential part of the relationship. The lovers are never just two people: they are always part of a relational network that links them to the lives of others. And in the embrace of this interdependence, created through one’s own vulnerability and in the acceptance that this is what makes us human and connected to the Other, fear is transformed into a positive recognition of life. In their fragility the lovers become reconnected to the world they live in, and through their transformation their view on the world is transformed. In this process compassion becomes part of the lovers’ character. They do not close the door behind them, they do not enclose themselves in their discovery and bliss, but let it resonate with what lies outside.
When this card is part of your reading it is time to reconsider your love relationships. Maybe you are looking for a connection out there and this is the moment you feel ready to jump into a shared transformation. Or maybe it is time to take a second look at the love relationships you are living, how they started out and what they have become. Are you still moved by the other? And do you still allow the other to move through you?
This card can announce a new love, or possibly draws your attention to someone in your environment that needs your care to deal with his/her own fragility. Maybe this card is also asking you to become more vulnerable in your relationships, to give up on your fear of losing what you have yet to discover. Touch encourages you to take the risk: to step out of yourself and into the world.