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These days, picking up a newspaper or scrolling through your newsfeed can be an act of moral courage. Nearly every day, we’re rocked by pictures of horrible violence in places like Brussels, Pakistan, Paris, Lebanon, and more. Terrorism, war, crime, and disaster seem like they can happen anywhere whether you are exploring parts of the world that are off the beaten path or sitting in a cafe on the Seine. For people eager to travel, it can feel like nowhere is safe. 

Traveling is about looking outside of yourself, expanding your vision of the world, and getting out of your comfort zone. The decision to travel during a time of such uncertainty lies deep within yourself, which is why so many people turn to psychic advisors and Tarot readers when they are deciding on whether or not to board that plane and begin a voyage of discovery.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I recently got a call from Lucinda, who was feeling a lot of tightness in her chest when she contemplated her upcoming travel plans. She and her girlfriends from college had finally planned a trip to Paris. A few of them had studied there while they were in school—though Lucinda hadn’t—and they had vowed to make a trip before they turned 40. Life and jobs kept preventing it, but now they were able to go. They had a trip planned for next month. Paris in May: It’s a dream that had kept her up at night for years. 

Now, though, the dream was turning into a nightmare. After the Paris attacks in November, Lucinda had trouble sleeping. What the people there had gone through, of course, was her primary agony, but she kept imagining herself there. She thought of dying horribly and leaving her husband and kids behind. Then the attack on Brussels in March made her realize that something bad could happen anywhere. She called me asking whether she should go or if it was better to cancel. 

Obviously, I couldn’t tell her if she will be safe or not— it’s not something that could be predicted. And while the odds are vanishingly small that she will be in the exact wrong place at the exact wrong time, that is small comfort if those odds come to pass. But she wasn’t looking for me to say whether or not something would happen. She wanted to know if she was simply letting her fears stand in her way or if her reservations about going on the trip were reasonable. I decided to do a three-card Tarot reading to help Lucinda look inside herself to make the right decision.  

High Priestess: Trusting Your Instincts

In talking with Lucinda, I got the sense that she felt she was being irrational in her fears. She kept saying things like, “I know I shouldn’t be scared,” and, “There are very small odds of something bad happening, right?” She struck me as someone who didn’t just think about her ideas; she researched them. This was confirmed when we drew the High Priestess. When in the past position, this card represents intuitive wisdom drawn from knowledge. I wanted to let Lucinda know that this card implied that, whatever she felt, she wasn’t being unreasonable. If she had concerns, they came from a legitimate place. At the same time, if she felt safe and that things would be ok, that was not irrational or foolhardy. She had to trust herself because her instincts contained wisdom. 

Two of Wands: Braving Your Fears

The second card I drew was the Two of Wands. The card shows a man looking out into the world, which he seems to understand, holding a globe in one hand and a staff in the other. The card is a symbol of power and knowledge. In the present position, it symbolizes a great opportunity. “The globe in the picture is not a coincidence,” I told Lucinda. The staff is a symbol of setting out, taking a step forward, and beginning a journey. The globe is the success of that journey. This card demonstrated that Lucinda had more courage than she believed and that if she listened to and trusted herself, she could accomplish the things she wanted most. She could brave her fears. 

Six of Swords: Signs of Strength 

The final card I drew for Lucinda was the Six of Swords. With its ferryman pushing forth a boat toward a distant shore, this card is a sign of calmness with stress and chaos  close behind. The boat is full of swords pointing down, but the boat is intact and not leaking. It’s strong, and the shore ahead is peaceful. After a period of stress and confusion, this card shows there will be peace. 

It does not mean peace in the world, unfortunately, but for Lucinda, it was a sign that her decision could be a peaceful one. That if she decided to go, she could be happy and at peace with her decision, and excited about the chance to see one of the world’s great cities with people she loves. The stress, trauma, and agony of her decision would be met with joy and acceptance, and the sooner she stopped agonizing, the happier she would be. 

Needless to say, I couldn’t give Lucinda a straight answer as to if she should go to Paris or not. But I could tell her that the cards indicated better horizons ahead and that she has the courage and wisdom to make a decision not based on fear (whether that was fear of dying or fear of missing out on the trip), but on her own intelligence, intuition, and passion. That’s the heart of Tarot: It can’t make a choice for you, but it can guide you to make a choice for yourself that you can trust. For Lucinda, it helped her take a journey to the most exotic place of all—within herself— to make a decision that was right for her. Bon voyage!

If you need help making the right decision about anything in your life—from travel to work to loveadvisors at KEEN.com can help.