Tuning in to Subtle Cues


How much of what we experience in life is visible, and how much of what we experience is invisible? We don’t give much thought to questioning things we can see, touch, hear, taste, and smell with our physical senses. But when it comes to addressing sensations that we can perceive in other ways, the playing field becomes muddy.

Those who are familiar with my work know that one of my hallmarks is a down-to-earth approach that never relies on claims of invisible powers, unseen influences, or other similar and unverifiable New-Agey claims. At the same time, I won’t deny that I firmly believe in an unseen dimension to our existence that connects everything, and that this dimension can be perceived in ways that go beyond our five senses.

I’ll give you a practical example. As I’ve been working with the cards for over two decades now, my skills and proficiency have grown in terms of how I am able to interpret their visual language. Subtle markers have come with that, which consistently give me feedback in ways that go beyond normal sense perception.

The simplest one of these is what most people would call chills. After many, many years of reading cards, I started to get chills at certain points in readings, when I would read for others. This always seems to happen after I say something specific, in that moment suspended in time between what I say, and any feedback or confirmation from the sitter. I’ll feel chills, usually on my forearms, and then the sitter has an “a-ha” moment, and I usually say something like, “You understand what that means, don’t you?” and they do.

For a while I didn’t pay too much attention to this unprompted physical signal, but I did recognize it. Once it started to happen with some regularity, but always unprompted, I started to recognize it as a subtle cue.

Subtle cues can come in many different forms, and they certainly aren’t limited to card reading. They abound in daily life. I’ve written several times on the phenomenon of synchronicity (Divination, Synchronicity, and the Unconcious; How To Bring More Synchronicity Into Your Life; When Cards Recur in Readings for Yourself and Others), which I also see as a subtle cue.

Subtle cues are any message or sign that confirms or illumines something, in a way that requires a more subtle perception, going beyond just the basic five senses. Subtle cues are both unsolicited and defy rational convention. 

I think one reason that seasoned tarot readers are more perceptive to and receptive of subtle cues is because of our practice. Reading the cards sharpens your senses. It invites you to draw parallels between disparate elements, to tie the larger picture together in a search for meaning.

In short, reading the cards requires you not only to look, but more importantly, to see.

Cultivating this ability invites recognition of subtle cues that enhance sense knowledge.


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