In addition to all of my theatrical pursuits and time spent traveling or obsessing over rock music, I'm also a tarot reader. It's something I do mostly for myself, but occasionally for other people, and it's a way for me to get guidance on where my life is headed or how to move things in a certain direction to achieve a certain goal.
One of my birth cards (figured by adding the month + day + first half of year + second half of year together, and then adding the numbers in the answer together) is XVI - THE TOWER.
The Tower, card sixteen of the major arcana, has already been speaking to me a lot in 2016. It is generally interpreted to mean being on the precipice of change. Sometimes the artwork shows the tower being struck by lightning, indicating that the impending change may be swift, sudden, and unwelcome. Here the tower awaits sure destruction by crumbling into the sea below.
2016 began, for me, on the precipice of many things. Three days into the year I left the country to spend ten days on a Spiritual journey in Israel. I came back inspired to do the work needed to align my life with my self. I feel on the edge of leaving old jobs and pursuing my play with even more heart. Some days I'm tempted to dump my entire New York life and move to Berlin permanently.
Last week I had a tough conversation with my director from NYRF about last season and expectations for this season. I went through a tough summer last year, and for a number of personal reasons felt I might not return to the Faire this year. After that conversation, I felt that way even more strongly. So fine, I made a choice, helped along by some others' choices, that's good, right?
If only it were that easy. Even the changes we choose can be tough. The card that follows The Tower is XVII - The Star, the card of free fall when the ground below the tower finally crumbles into the sea.
The Star, for all its elegance, can be a scary card - the unknown, emptiness, nothing solid around or under you. The tendrils of the flowers in this artwork remind me of the "helping hands" scene of Labyrinth in which Sarah, lost and trapped, falls down and is caught by hands (Jim Henson's puppet hands, formed in may ways to look like faces). The hands ask her which way she wants to go, up or down. Sarah chooses down, and is dropped into the oubliette - a dungeon at the bottom of a tunnel, whose only exit is at the top, or so it seems. But nothing is quite what it seems in the Labyrinth, and Sarah is helped out of it by her friend Hoggle, who finds a door where there seemingly wasn't one.
Though The Star may seem terrifying for its uncertainty and chaos, feelings that sometimes leave me feeling trapped, there is also freedom in it. With all the trappings of old habits, traditions, and routines fallen away, I am left to create something new. In the case of potentially not returning to NYRF this year, while it's a sad thought to leave a home and family I built there, I am faced with an exhilarating freedom I haven't had in four years. As I stare at an empty summer calendar that would normally be filled by weekends of rehearsals and performances in the woods, I try to focus on all the incredible activities in the city that could fill those little squares on the page. I see hours of uninterrupted writing time, walks in the park so close to my home that I have only ever run through, nights in new bars, sunsets by the Brooklyn Bridge, shows I haven't dreamed of being a part of yet. I let each of those flowers in The Star card be a possibility coming to catch me as I fall through uncertainty.
An oubliette gets its name from the French word "oubliette," which literally means "forgotten place." But I will not let myself fall into a forgotten place. 2016, XVI, may be crumbling into 2017, XVII a little sooner than I might have expected, but the helping hands are already reaching out to me. I'm making summer travel plans with my best friend to take a trip I could never have taken during a Faire season, and wholeheartedly enveloping myself in other creative endeavors to fill the NYRF void. And Sterling shall not be a forgotten place either; I just need some time beyond the Goblin City for a while.