Hey everyone. I’m writing this on Sunday, November 15; it will be published on Friday, November 20. I can only hope that the past week hasn’t been too stressful or emotional, but I know it most likely has been, and that tomorrow will be the culmination of that. We’ve been here for three months; we’ve met friends, made memories, survived midterms, grinded papers, slogged through lectures … and now, after all that, we have to leave, possibly not seeing one another for the next nine months. I don’t think I can say anything more about that—about how it feels to be in this situation—but I don’t think I need to either; we’re in it together. So, here’s a vibe check for the next two weeks, from November 20 to December 4. I hope it serves you well, in some way.
For the overall theme, I got the Ten of Cups. The tens represent fulfillment, completion, an above-and-beyond finish, totality, culmination and in a way, the perfection and peak of a suit’s energy. The suit of Cups relates to the element of water and pertains to relationships of all kinds and one’s emotions. Interesting combination to draw for the overall theme. While this does not feel like the perfect finish to a strange semester, I think that by this striking juxtaposition, this card is encouraging us to look and find small perfections, moments when you are happiest. They are there. This is the end of a very emotional period of time, but while there is pain, there is also joy—there are memories, friendships, things you will carry forward with you. They are there. The specific imagery of this card (I’m using The Wild Unknown Deck by Kim Krans) depicts ten cups connected to each other through luminous, rainbow threads. It evokes images of pouring into one another’s cups (well, perhaps not in mono/COVID-19/flu season). So, hold tight to your friends and your friendships, even though it hurts to part, and remember that it is temporary.
For the main challenge, I got the Six of Wands. The sixes symbolize balance, peace, rest and restoration. The Wands are related to fire and have to do with passions, drive and energy. But, looking at the particular imagery of this card, I pause. Traditionally, the Six of Wands is a card of victory, accomplishment and celebration. Intuitively, though, I see something different. In this card, a shimmering azure butterfly rises above a mess of intertwined sticks at the dark bottom of the card. I think of endurance, of rising through, rising above, of going beyond enduring to enjoying, of triumph in a different sense. I think of seeing something beautiful in what is disordered, what is ugly, what is painful, what is hard to look at. Finding something that brings you joy in things that also bring you pain. This is the challenge and it’s easy to see why.
For the advice, I got the Eight of Pentacles. The eights relate to action, dedication, movement and commitments. Pentacles have to do with money, but also all physical possessions, work (what one does on a day-to-day basis) as well as memories and all other sorts of things that are accumulated. The Eight of Pentacles is the card of steady, incremental hard work. It could be a hobby, it could be a long-term project, anything. What this card is suggesting to us is to work hard to both maintain the relationships we’ve forged during our short months here at Bowdoin, but also to help ease whatever grieving we may be going through in our own ways. Only one thing can work at a time: your mind or your hands. Working always helps with worrying, and if it doesn’t—hey, at least you were productive.
I want to close with this quote from “This Boy’s Life,” a memoir by Tobias Wolff. He writes:
“Knowing that everything comes to an end is a gift of experience, a consolation gift for knowing that we ourselves are coming to an end. Before we get it we live in a continuous present, and imagine the future as more of that present. Happiness is endless happiness, innocent of its own sure passing. Pain is endless pain.”
Not to sound like a discount Target mug, but remember that this, too, shall pass. This applies, with brutal equality, to both the blissful months and the painful parting. Things come and things go, but we know that the good times will come again.
Stay strong, my friends. I love you all.