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Monday, 12 May 2014

Voyage - Just around the river bend

'Your heart turns to new shore
With new horizons to explore'

Funny I should draw this card today from Psycards, as I am working from home. I am definitely not going on any literal voyages. However, I do have an appointment this morning that could start me on a new voyage within myself. At least I hope so.

The 'voyage and return' archetype is one of the seven basic plots of storytelling (according to Christopher Booker.) In this archetype, the hero is not necessarily seeking a treasure or pursuing a goal, but is instead experiencing the journey itself, with no other goal than a broad one of 'discovery.' We don't know what's out there; we are open to whatever experience comes our way.  We can see this archetypal story in such things as Star Trek or Alice in Wonderland.

What voyage could I be going on today? Could I be starting a new voyage? Or has this card popped up today to remind me that life itself is a voyage with no particular goal in mind, that the journey is the only goal?

We can never know exactly what is going to happen to us. The best laid plans of mice and men, as Bobby Burns wrote, often go awry. We just don't know what lies ahead, but that doesn't mean we are powerless. It means we are adventurers. 'Relax,' reads an aphorism that's been making the rounds on the internet, 'nothing is under control.' That is what the voyage is about. We don't know. We can see patterns, we can see likely scenarios, we can even make plans, but that doesn't mean we or anything else is in control. That is the beauty and the mystery of being alive.

The Voyage reminds me not to be afraid. Not to feel dread. I am alive, I am afloat on the sea of my life, and I may not know what's over the horizon, and that is okay.

Yesterday on the telly, I caught a scene from the Disney movie 'Pocohontas', the musical number 'Just Around the River Bend'. She's trying to decide whether to marry the man her father has chosen, Kocoum, who is 'very serious' but would be a good provider, or follow her natural instincts to be a 'voyager':

What I love most about rivers is:
You can't step in the same river twice
The water's always changing, always flowing
But people, I guess, can't live like that
We all must pay a price
To be safe, we lose our chance of ever knowing
What's around the riverbend
Waiting just around the riverbend

I look once more
Just around the riverbend
Beyond the shore
Where the gulls fly free
Don't know what for
What I dream the day might send
Jut around the riverbend
For me
Coming for me

I feel it there beyond those trees
Or right behind these waterfalls
Can I ignore that sound of distant drumming
For a handsome sturdy husband
Who builds handsome sturdy walls
And never dreams that something might be coming?
Just around the riverbend
Just around the riverbend

I look once more
Just around the riverbend
Beyond the shore
Somewhere past the sea
Don't know what for ...
Why do all my dreams extend
Just around the riverbend?
Just around the riverbend ...

Should I choose the smoothest curve
Steady as the beating drum?
Should I marry Kocoum?
Is all my dreaming at an end?
Or do you still wait for me, Dream Giver
Just around the riverbend?

Those of us with a bit more life experience know that even if she did marry Kocoum, her life would not be as predictable as she thinks! Life itself is always just around the river bend. There's no need to think you know what's there -- and no need to fear it, either. 

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