Over the last couple years, it has become increasingly apparent that for my small family we need to simply choose a direction and go. This is to say that, for a number of reasons, Duileóg and I have a list of various places in the North-Western Hemisphere to where we would love to move and start the life we’ve intended for ourselves for some time. By now it has become almost commonplace: the story of people moving back to the land, turning what was once called ‘cottage industry’ into a thriving cultural experience and reinventing (for want of a more accurate form of the the word ‘reclaiming’) an older standard of living in a post-modern context. The question is where to do it.
With the New Moon upon us and an intense feeling of restlessness, I spontaneously suggested that we read the cards and see what they had to say. With the children in bed and the tree lit (and I musing over how it is truly a vision of the Otherworldly Tree of Plenty: all shining stars, crimson apples and strange visions), we poured the wine and collected ourselves at the table. I made some small offerings and we set to reading.
We started by selecting our representative cards, drawing them from the collected faces of the suits of the Witches’ Deck (D’s favorite for representing individuals). Then, it was a matter of cutting the Ryder-Waite deck between the two of us, focusing on one of the places where we thought we would like to go and drawing three cards: one for representing the place’s significance to us in the past, one for what we would find on immediately arriving, and a third for what the over-all result would be. This is how the list fell out:
- British Columbia (properly for me the islands, though I think D. had Vancouver more in mind); The King of Swords / The Knight of Pentacles / Wands VIII
- Nova Scotia (anywhere from Cape Breton to the length of the Annapolis Valley – we were married in Halifax after all, since that was the only place where we could have the marriage in Gaelic): Queen of Wands / Wands III / Wands VII
- Upstate New York (neither of us have a strong connection there, but we both have loved what we saw): Queen of Swords / Swords V / Pentacles V … needles to say, upstate New York is no longer on our list. What I find more interesting is that my patronymic family landed in that general area back in 1751, having largely remained there since. I am one generation removed from upper New Jersey and wonder if the widowhood and adversity suggested by the Queen of Swords is not a reference to the sense of exile they felt in coming to America from Scotland in such desperate times.
- Herefordshire and the borders of Wales (to explain this one would take a long time, but suffice it to say that my wife is a U.K. citizen, so it is in fact an option): The Hermit / The Queen of Swords / Pentacles VIII.
- Ontario (D. and I met at the University of Toronto): the Page of Wands / The Magician / the Devil. This was such an enigmatic result that I am still not altogether sure what to make of it, but it does not bode particularly well however you read it.
- Oregon (I have always dreamed of going there; whenever things seem too difficult, I always daydream of running away to Oregon): The King of Cups / The Queen of Swords / The Hermit. So much for the daydream … of course, it’s not exactly negative per se, but neither is it the bountifully bright future we are looking for.
- The Mountains of Western North Carolina (have always been a home for me since I taught riding there at a summer camp for almost nine years) : Cups VI (no surprise thaat) / Swords V / the King of Swords.
- The West Coast of Scotland (despite the fact that Scotland has brought me nothing but heartache every time I have tried to live there, I still cannot quite let the dream of going there permanently die): Pentacles VIII / Temperance / Swords X.
Without going into great detail, the most positive moves seem to be to Nova Scotia, British Columbia or Hereford/Wales. Over the next month I will be watching closely for more indications of what’s to come and which path will work the best.