Curiouser and Curiouser
Ostara is the time to entertain that curiosity, even if it seems risky
Alice has completed her tumble down the rabbit hole in the first chapter of Lewis Carroll's famous book, and she begins immediately to encounter bossy objects that tell her "Drink me" and "Eat me." And while Alice does stop to consider whether obeying the commands of inanimate objects is a wise idea, in the end, her curiosity gets the better of her and she goes along with all the instructions.
"Curiouser and curiouser," she says at the opening of the second chapter, having just eaten a bossy biscuit that made her significantly bigger. Indeed, Alice's entire trip in Wonderland is her blundering from one nonsensical episode to the next, and at no point does she allow her second-guessing to result in her turning back, or dismissing her impulse to seek the next experience. Of course, Alice's adventures in Wonderland are at bottom, a dream Alice has, and so one can (and probably should) avoid too much interpretation, but that hasn't stopped anybody, really. Carroll's work has been accused of being a commentary on mathematics, of containing symbolism for everything from the war of the roses, to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli to merely a representation of the daughters of one of his contemporaries, scholar Henry Liddell. The work is considered part of the "nonsense" genre, which seems a little ironic. How can something that literally eschews reason be considered part of a coherently formulated artistic genre?
None of that is really the point here.
My point is that curiosity as a mode of operation in the world can seem like a nonsensical way to be. Maybe that's why we started mistakenly accusing curiosity of having "killed the cat."** After all, blundering into something because you were merely curious about it can get you into all kinds of trouble. It's the start of many a suspense movie or adventure flick. A character takes an interest in a seemingly harmless thing like an old book or an attic or a doll or a white rabbit, only to discover that the thing has a history or a power or both and the person who got curious about it is now sucked into a much deeper mystery and/or problem that they must deal with. It's a time-honored plot device that has been used over and over again.
But curiosity is also vital to our growth as humans. Curiosity is the thing that draws us out of what we think we know and into the realm of the new (well, new to us, at least.) To be without curiosity is to believe that you already know everything, or even worse, that you know all you want to know. It is a blunting of human experience. To never be curious is to never proactively open up the possibility of new growth. Without at least a little bit of curiosity, the only changes that occur are those that happen to you.
And make no mistake, the Wheel turns and change happens, whether you are actively seeking it or not. You don’t really have a choice about that. What you do have a choice about is whether you are willing to go meet the change and see what it brings, or are content to have change blindside you on a regular basis.
Ostara is that moment when curiosity takes hold. It is that moment when the instinct to break out, to see what’s happening, to move past the fear of the unknown and see what the world has to offer. The Universe calls, and you answer. And just like Alice’s trip to Wonderland, it might all turn out to be a dream, and come to naught. But we don’t know how things are going to turn out yet. We are here, at the beginning. Things could go either way at this point.
What I love about being curious: it sends you down paths, opening doors, choosing, sampling, investigating. Some of these paths are retreads or related to places you've already been, or are brand new.
I get that for some people, this kind of activity is scary, laced with the fear of the unknown. What if I uncover something I'd rather not have encountered? What if I don’t like it? As Alice learns in her trip to Wonderland, curiouser does not always mean more pleasant. Some people prefer the safety of their well-worn ideas and well-trod paths, and take comfort in never looking past the gate of the village they've built around themselves. They know all they need to know and all they're ever going to. No need to go chasing after white rabbits or drinking bossy liquids. After all, some sort of awful nonsense might happen. Someone could get hurt.
I'll take that risk. I'll go into the woods. I'll fall down rabbit holes and travel to distant lands and even other planets and dimensions. I'll ask the questions that lead to uncomfortable answers and be broken and expanded and wrong. And I'll say eureka! and WOW! and "did you see THAT?" I'll be noisy and unruly and dissatisfied and sometimes, even angry or sad. In the end it might all turn out to be nothing more than nonsense. But until I find out, and even after, I am doomed to never being entirely at peace and blessed to never ever be bored.
Dance on the Wheel of Life or get ground up in the gears. Take joy in the turns or get nauseous as you try to fight the natural motion of the Universe. Your choice. The fates will honor your will and you'll live with whatever you choose, which will be both a blessing and a curse.
This is the moment that hangs in the balance at Ostara, at the spring equinox. It’s the moment to jump forward and seize on that curious whim that has presented itself. You might want to hang back, play it safe, and wait and see what happens to you. Your whole future is precariously balanced here. And as always, if you choose to act, if you do something instead of nothing, you get to decide where you want to land.
** The phrase "curiosity killed the cat" appears to be a bastardization of a much older phrase from a 16th century play -- "care killed the cat."
I love what you’ve written here: “But until I find out, and even after, I am doomed to never being entirely at peace and blessed to never ever be bored.“
I hoped for an interesting life, and I’ve had that, by being curious (or what I call adventurous). It’s been really, really good, and really, really bad. And I’m still here, and on the same path.
You have had a very interesting life. I wish you more of that.