Eight of Winds

san juan
Castillo San Cristóbal, San Juan Puerto Rico

Resolution can only be achieved through determination. A need for action or taking responsibility. Immobility from feelings or powerlessness and victimization.” Steve Luca via Japaridze Tarot

The scent of peppermint and anise overtook the apartment. A couple of days had passed and Selene had to stay behind from an overall feeling of malaise. She lay on a long sofa and watched a television program where a woman was imprisoned. In this Spanish show, a young girl and her family had been wrongly accused of a crime by a very powerful individual in their community. The particular scene before her portrayed the young woman in a solitary cell. The young woman whose name was Catalina, had long, loose hair and wore a white gown. She sat on a bench, bonded by rope in the back. The cell had a small window opening with bars from top to bottom. In the upper left-hand corner of the room, there stood a bat – flying in place. The young woman cried has she wondered about the whereabouts of her family, the status of the love of her life, and the injustices of the world around her. It appeared as if with enough money and power, anything was possible in the world the show depicted.

Selene shut off the immobilizing scene and pulled the covers over her. Often times scenes of that nature were literal representations of how she’d felt during different moments in her life: a strict religious upbringing, in the realms of the destructive world of modern day academia. Selene identified with the Catalina character in the show. It was the reason why she had packed her bags and walked away from it all. She still clearly remembered the reactions of those around her: Selene had clearly gone insane. She was a year away from completion of her program and she simply walked away. What was she trying to prove? What were her exact goals? Did she really think that the skills she had learned in the clinical psychology curriculum could actually help others heal in the way she wanted? The constant anxiety and plagues of doubt had crippled her quality of life. The night prior to her making the decision to walk away, she had spent vomiting her fears into oblivion. The following day she awakened with the determination to let the program go. She had a realization: time was going to continue to pass whether she was in this program or not. Life was happening, although she didn’t feel as if she was engaging with it.

Are you sure that this is what you want?” On that auspicious day, two years prior, she had been asked this same question by her advisor, cohort classmates (including Sofia), her friends, her parents, and even the staff that worked in the department that had never interacted with her. With a deep inner knowing and certainty, she remembers telling each and every single one of those beings a deep and true: Yes. That afternoon, she took a long solitary stroll down fifth avenue and thought of state of humanity – whom in their right mind would buy into the idea that we were meant to follow some true and tried rules, establish a career, find someone to share that with, and then reproduce? Why did so many buy into something that merely resembled true living? Couldn’t they feel the suffocation? Couldn’t they see its stark limitations? If there is something that Selene had learned in her explorations in psychology, it has been that humans were capable of brilliant and magnificent things in as long as they followed their own voice – their passions, their obsessions, their rules.

Selene got up from the sofa, wrapped the soft caramel-colored blanket around her, and made her way to the bedroom where she had been sleeping for two weeks. The bedroom where she stayed, opened up to small balcony that overlooked the street below. On the way, she grabbed a pack of cigarettes and a lighter that belonged to Caer. She slid the glass door open, lit up the cigarette, and sat on a chair – observing everyone who passed through the street. There was a dog walker with his golden retriever. There was an elderly woman racing after a young toddler whom she presumed to be her grandchild. There was a couple visibly upset on the intersection. There was an middle-aged man – walking rather swiftly. The scenes that were uncovered before her eyes made her question her commitment to travel. All she had witnessed suddenly seemed so ordinary. Where was the magic? Where was the bewitching energy she had found when she first arrived and had met Giuseppe?

As the sun began to set and the rain continued to pour, Selene closed her eyes and thought about the moment where she had made the decision that the pursuit of adventure, the path of the explorer was hers to follow. After working in a coffee shop to save money post-graduate school dropout, she headed to Hawaii. The island of Oahu to be exact. She made an agreement with the owner of a hostel that in exchange for her working the front desk and managing general processes in the hostel, she would receive free housing. Selene lived there for two months. While her time on the island was the epitome of mystical, her most fond memory was the one she created as soon as she landed. In an attempt to culminate her healing, to truly face grief, as soon as she landed, she made her way to Le’ahi (commonly known as Diamond Head). With little sleep, not having eaten for hours, she made her way to the top of the crater. On the way up, memories resurfaced – memories of loss, of joy – memories of her human experience. Upon reaching the top, she looked out into the surrounding spaces that stood below her. There was the city of Honolulu. Waikiki, the shore adorned with bright sand, hotels, resorts, that eventually opened into the downtown of the capital. In the other direction, she could see a residential area – homes lined up in the valley with other mountains in the background. Then on the other viewpoint, there was the open ocean. The deep blue of the Pacific calling her name. At a distance, she could see something lay beyond. Selene stayed at its top and took in the enchanting energy of the land – in the moment she remembers that everything made sense.

Everything made sense. She didn’t ponder the difficult questions of purpose and meaning. There were little thoughts about her former lover, her family’s expectations, or what she was supposed to be doing with her ‘potential’. Selene opened her eyes and returned indoors once her cigarette had been put out. She had already decided that she was to spend her last two days of France in Paris, then she was to head over to Sri Lanka.

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