The Traveler is the Journey

20150704_211720aaaaaa“The traveler is the journey. What we see is not what we see but who we are.”
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

I see a deck of magic fortune-telling cards that have blots of ink instead of classic tarot pictograms. The king of pentacles, the Magician card, the queen of cups — this deck represents them as accidental abstract mish-mashes of black ink. This is a Rorschach test tarot deck, which you shuffle, deal, and read to yourself. You engage with the formations in each ink blot and sagely blend the spread of cards into a true static painting of your future.

Where does this information come from, the forbidden knowledge of your certain fate? Is it encoded in the holy chosen random-not-randomness of the cards? Was it written in lightning by a sympathetic demon?

The Rorschach Test tarot deck accurately predicts the future by causing you to perceive your own submerged secret knowledge of your future. The vagueness of the inky form embraces your vision: you transcribe the smokey shadow-figure who waits there, leaning against a wall in your mind. The seeming passivity of “reading” the ink blots belies the pro-activity of you “writing” occult information, the ink of your pen scraped from deep inside. This tarot deck tricks you to “remember” your own future, which resides inarticulately in your vast unconscious webbing.


I am no authority on who other people are or what they are like, but I would guess that many people would tell you that they have had convincing intuitions of their own fate. The people, I tell you, have seen and believed absolutely in visions of their future that proved to be true.

It might seem that these visions, coming before the future in time, cause the future: the dreamer dreams, and then perhaps a little bit or some day the dream gets realized. But I have come to feel that the opposite is true. The hazy dreams of the present are caused by clear knowledge of the future. The dream of the past becomes the reality of the future, sure; but the reality of the future bends back over the past and blows visions into the dreamer’s eye.

So sometimes you sense and tell yourself things you already know about your future, and depending on who you are may heed yourself or not.

Do you remember?
If you do not have a strong sense of what your own fate is (I’ll confess to being uncertain about my own), you should first consult your dreams about the future. What did you see yourself doing? There you will be. You will get just what you saw.

But there is pain when you look into dreams about the future. How much fantasy can represent literal future reality? At least some of it, but not most of it.

But if you dredge your mind for dreams and drag up none? I’ll confess solidarity on this score as well: my dreams have been chased off. So do we have elsewhere to look to find out what we already know about the future? Or are we auguring in our dreamlessness our future past the edge of life, out in the land of the dead? Here on the northwest side of Chicago I am scanning imagery for clues, for leaks. A tell, or a shadow of its tail. I can’t believe what is going to happen to me.

“I’ve always been an ironic dreamer, unfaithful to my inner promises.
Like a complete outsider, a casual observer of whom I thought I was,
I’ve always enjoyed watching my daydreams go down in defeat.
I was never convinced of what I believed in.
I filled my hands with sand, called it gold, and opened them up to let it slide through.
Words were my only truth.
When the right words were said, all was done; the rest was the sand that had always been.”

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Published by



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s