Bottom row: Way of the Panda Tarot, RWS, Wild Unknown, Hayworth Tarot
Sometimes a card just won’t stop showing up for you until you expand your perception and look at it in a different way. Right now for me, that card is the Seven of Cups.
No matter what deck I use, the Seven of Cups has come up in a looooooot of my personal daily draws lately. It’s also shown up in quite a few client readings the past couple weeks, so I don’t think it’s just me. There’s something collective going on here, too.
I do have some knowing of why this card is coming up frequently for me on a personal level. I’m an empathic, feeling person to begin with, and there’s a fair amount of water in my chart. And ho boy, have I been feeling a loooot of feelings the past two weeks, on every level.
Collectively, there’s the continuing discussions around police brutality and white supremacy. Personally, I’ve been continuing to do my own inner + outer work around this, including ‘breaking up’ with my favorite band due to their unacceptable behavior around these issues (I talked a little more about this on Instagram if you’re curious).
And of course, we’re still in the midst of a pandemic, and now I have a family member facing health issues, and my birthday’s coming up and I’m dealing with emotions around aging and my body changing, and we just launched pre-orders for the second edition of The Spacious Tarot which is super exciting but also a little overwhelming, and…yeah. That’s kind of a nutshell summary. Suffice it to say that I’m aware of my privilege and I’m still grateful in so many ways, but I have to acknowledge that I have been somewhat bewildered lately.
And bewilderment is one of the key words I think about with the Seven of Cups, so here we are!
When I began this post, I mentioned the need to expand your perception when a card shows up again and again. This is particularly important for those of us who have been reading tarot for a while. It’s easy to fall back on the tried and true meanings you’ve developed for the cards. But each card truly has an infinite spectrum of meanings, and if a card keeps showing up again and again, it may be time to find new tunnels down the rabbit hole.
So because the internet was made for lists, here are seven different insights I’ve been considering about the Seven of Cups.
1. Bewilderment can be constructive OR destructive.
What does it mean to be bewildered? The dictionary says “lost, perplexed or confused; a complicated or confusing condition.” Sometimes when you are bewildered, you freeze in place like the silhouette on the RWS version. Your brain and body and heart can feel like they’re stalling out when you’re presented with stuff you don’t know how to assimilate. Facing uncharted emotional territory can be flat out disorienting and scary. This is the destructive side of bewilderment.
But here’s the constructive part: bewilderment can mean reconnecting with your own sacred wildness. Bewilderment can mean fully accepting that life is a very weird, strange, and nonsensical experience. This is what makes life LIFE! Our rational minds resist this, and most of us have been taught that our rational mind is to be valued above all other aspects of ourselves. But in reality, the non-rational part of yourself may actually be crying out to experience bewilderment. We like to pretend we are separate from the wilderness, but we are the wilderness. Embracing bewilderment is how magic begins.
2. There is a difference between dreaming and pretending.
This is a line from a Jewel song that has always stuck with me, and it’s a line I do think about a lot when I see the Seven of Cups. This is actually pretty in line with a fairly standard view of this card: it can be about beautiful fantasies that uplift and inspire you, or it can be about deluding yourself.
This view of the card has been particularly resonant with a few of my personal relationships lately. I have a tendency to see the good in people and I think I can be a little too quick to make excuses for other people’s bad behavior. This is pretending. Maya Angelou said “when someone tells you who they are, believe them.” This doesn’t mean there isn’t room for people to learn and evolve and do better, but I can’t be carried away by a fantasy that they are doing this unless there is actual evidence to support it.
3. You can and do feel many things at the same time.
I know this is stating the obvious, but it’s something we could all use a reminder of sometimes. There are blessed times when the answer to “how are you feeling?” is simple and succinct. But the Seven of Cups reminds us that sometimes the answer is, in the immortal words of Alanis Morissette, “I’m high but I’m grounded, I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed, I’m lost but I’m hopeful baby!” In these instances, the Seven of Cups can be a permission slip to just embrace the messiness and all-over-the-place-ness of your feelings instead of expecting yourself to be able to pin them down.
4. You don’t have to feel the way someone else feels.
With the world being in gestures widely the state that it is, it is natural that people have a LOT of strong feelings right now. I have a pattern of being a little too easily swayed by other people’s feelings, especially when their feelings are strong. Maybe it’s my Cancer Sun, maybe it’s because I’m an Empath, maybe it’s just the wiring of my brain. If someone gives a passionate explanation on their stance, I’m often like woah, that makes sense, I guess I should feel that way too! But then five minutes later, someone else gives a passionate explanation of the opposite stance and I’m like, oh well that makes sense too, I guess that’s how I feel! It’s a very Seven of Cups-y experience.
So lately I’m reminding myself to dig deeper into my own feelings. Sure, my feelings can and should be informed by other people’s lived experiences and knowledge. But ultimately, if I want to be authentic, I can’t just absorb someone else’s feelings on an issue and take them on as my own. My feelings need to come from my own heart, my own center, and it’s okay if I actually don’t feel the same way someone else does. It does not make their feelings, nor mine, any less valid if we are not 100% in synch.
5. Anchor yourself.
As I was laying out a bunch of different versions of the Seven of Cups for the photo above, it struck me that you can’t see the ground in any of these images. And of course we’re dealing with the suit of water here, which is always flowing and can sweep you right away if you’re not anchored. So when this card comes to visit, it can be helpful to do some good old fashioned grounding practices, like: go outside. Take off your shoes. Put your feet on the ground and FEEL that connection. Or to go with the water metaphor, envision yourself surrounded by all these watery, ungrounded cups. But then envision an anchor. Maybe you still bob around, but you don’t lose your connection to something solid.
6. Don’t drown it out.
When I began learning tarot, part of how I understood the Seven of Cups was turning to things that are actually poison and expecting them to be medicine. This is something that’s been a recurring lesson for me. When emotions are running high I do sometimes try to drown them out with things that are actually not nourishing for me. These things might provide a temporary distraction or relief, but ultimately they leave me feeling worse than I did to begin with.
So I try to remind myself to discern between actual medicine and poison disguised as medicine. What are the practices and activities that truly make you feel better, and how can you embrace those?
7. Feelings are not facts.
One of the shadowy aspects of identifying as an empath or a highly sensitive person is that you may sometimes treat feelings as facts. But feelings are not facts. Feelings can offer great guidance, to be sure. Emotional intelligence is very important and often overlooked. But feelings don’t always tell the whole story.
Because of this, the Seven of Cups can remind you to question your feelings. Ask yourself: here I am in this weird Seven of Cups place. What would my inner Queen of Swords say? How can I appeal to my rational powers, not to minimize or negate my feelings, but to fill in the gaps of information that may not be accessible through feelings alone?
And there you have it, a few somewhat discombobulated thoughts on a card that is all about discombobulation. I hope that they were at least somewhat interesting! Leave a comment and tell me about it if so.