“Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Francis Burton
Tomorrow a taxi picks me up at 6am. It takes me to a train, which takes me to Paris. From there, I take the subway to the airport and fly to Athens. I will then take the bus, and then a boat, and then another bus and then a taxi.
I have only the vaguest idea of what I will find at the final destination. A view of the sea? Some place to stuff myself with seafood and wine? I know that I don’t know anyone there, or how to communicate in the native language. Nor am I sure what I will spend my time doing, other than converting sunlight into vitamin D.
In a tarot card reading, I asked my reader, “Why am I single?” She drew one card: The Three of Wands. Sometimes the answers you get with tarot are shocking. Other times, your immediate thought is, Oh right. Duh.
“It’s not the fact that you travel,” the reader told me. “It’s that you follow every glimmer. Your curiosity interests you more than any one individual man.”
Three of Wands is related to Jupiter, the god who couldn’t keep it in his pants. His curiosity about every maiden, nymph, goddess and mortal he came across couldn’t be satisfied with fantasy and what-ifs. He had to see for himself. That Juno might be displeased didn’t matter. That the maidens might be turned into smoke or trees or rivers or left adrift and wandering and rejected by families as a result didn’t factor in. It was the experience he was after, the extension. The rest was not quite his concern.
Men have never been my curiosity, not really. I’m fiercely loyal. But cities are my nymphs. Every new situation, every variable, every opportunity that arises I am packing my bag. If I am leaving destruction in my wake, that’s not really my concern.
I mean look at that guy on the card. He’s not even turning his head to see what he is leaving behind him.
In attachment theory, it is the child who knows she is loved and accepted who feels free to wander about in the world, as she knows there is someone waiting for her with a cup of hot chocolate when she returns. Someone who will want to hear her stories. Without the secure tie, the child feels anxious, fearful of the world outside, knowing she is unprotected and has no safe harbor.
But then in the stories it’s always the orphan taking to the seas to find her fortune, or her adventure, or her big test. It’s the orphan who bounds off fearlessly. Even those of us who are not technically orphans, but who turn our heads when the name is called, can find this freedom. I think it’s a magic trick. Or canceling out the double negative in the equation:
You are insecure even at home, surrounded by the people and objects that are familiar to you, and you will be insecure off in the world on your own.
You will be just as secure off in the world on your own as you are at home, surrounded by the people and objects that are familiar to you.
I was one of the lucky ones, who was adopted by the world as my mother. The application process is a bitch, but it pays off eventually. She is not the most stable of mothers, nor the most attentive. But when you stand on that cliff, facing out to sea and asking, “What next?” she always has a response for you.
In birds, each eye has a primary function. The left eye is connected to the right brain, and as the bird is going around, doing birdy things, the left eye scans its environment, on the look out for predators, for other birds it might need to do business with. What are the possibilities that surround him? The right eye, connected to the left brain, filters all of that information about environment down. Is that a tiny rock or is it a seed? Is that lady bird a good mate or is she actually just a colorful flower that is sort of shaped like a bird?
Put the world’s tiniest little eyepatch over the left eye, and by shutting off the wider lens the bird risks getting surprised by a hawk, or maybe hit by a bus, so focused as it would be on the smallest of details. But switch the eyepatch over to the right, allowing everything to look like limitless possibility, and you’ll mistake an enemy for a lover, or you’ll starve to death from chasing bright glimmers on the horizon without ever remembering to come down for a good meal.
As I was packing up my sublet, setting my alarm to wake me for my taxi, I had a brief fit of anger and loneliness and sorrow. That no one would be greeting me at the airport with wide arms, that I had to drag all of these possessions with me because I would never be coming back to this place, that after a year and a half on the road I have lost more than I can ever hope to replace, that I am 35 and alone and scared and without any place to call home.
“I want to go home,” I insisted to the universe as I laid there on the floor, sobbing. “I want to go home.”
And as my breathing slowed, I heard a small, still voice filled with kindness and surprise answer me back.
“But darling. You already are home.”
Jessa Crispin is the editor and founder of Bookslut.com and Spoliamag.com. She reads tarot cards specifically for writers and artists, meant to unearth creativity and remove blocks. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional info is here.
Jen May is a Scorpio and artist living in Brooklyn, NY with 3 cats. She keeps a tumblr updated regularly with horoscope images and everything else.