I think this song is talking about Stevie's current situation with Lindsey. She's always talking about past lives and reincarnation and saying things like "Lindsey and I are destined to be in a band together for another hundred years." The "arms that go around you'" echoes No Questions Asked, which I also believe is about Lindsey.
She feels apart from Lindsey - he has his own "house on the hill" and his own family and now she must watch from the outside. When she sees him again, for instance, in the studio, she "can still feel" him, but any romantic relationship is doomed now. The "spirits are ruthless in the paths they choose" is a great way to say that the choices they made have separated them and, as painful as it is, that's the way it has to be. They have to "follow the rules" now - something they've never bothered to do before!
Six weeks in a foreign country? This sounds very specific. I really don't know what she's referring to, but it sounds like a last fling before getting back to those "rules." As for the inclusion of the first verse of Illume as the third verse here, that is puzzling and frankly annoying. Come on, Stevie, it's bad enough when you do it for songs on separate albums but both on the same one? That's not such a great idea. (Admittedly, she does switch "city" and "ocean." Significant?) It does make me wonder, however, if the "foreign country" might just be a figurative term for New York?
I have read on the Internet in the past couple of days that a lot of people don't like the fact that Stevie included the verse from Illume(9/11) on Destiny Rules. I didn't at first, but, when I listened to the whole song over and over (well...I did that anyway because it's one of my favorites!), it just made sense to me. Just look at the title of the song. Destiny Rules. It rules everything in her life. Destiny brought her and Lindsey back together again. Destiny brought this whole Fleetwood Mac thing back together again. Destiny brought her to New York City during what would become one of the most harrowing times our country had ever seen. Destiny caused her to write such a beautiful song (Illume) to tell the world what she saw. Once again, destiny rules.
This song, to me, seems to be very strongly about fate. She's writing this for someone that she feels deeply, viscerally connected to, but can't be with for one reason or another. Forces in "the real world" are telling her that she shouldn't be with him ("maybe our paths are not supposed to cross twice, maybe your arms are not supposed to go around me"), but she is left confused by the feeling of destiny/fate that surrounds him. Why would she be so drawn to him in such a way if it wasn't meant to be?
The time that they spent together (the 6 weeks) could be anything; it could be the best time in their relationship, it could be a specific tour, who knows. I don't think that it's literally a foreign country, but it might be. I wonder if it means that in whatever place they were, they didn't have to answer to any of the forces/pressures keeping them apart. She says she never wanted to "come home"; never wanted to return to the life where love and relationships are structured, sanctioned, pigeonholed. She knows that this world is what will tear them apart, and tries to forget him. However, the ways in which the events in her life unfold keep placing him in her path. I think that the "following the rules" line implies that she can't help the way that she feels, and that her thoughts/feelings and actions towards (Lindsey) are beyond her control. The "ruthless spirits" that place her on the path she's walking don't give her a choice, and she has no choice to be carried along with them, despite the consequences. This song is a powerful portrayal of long-faught desire weakening a will; an emotional battle culminating in eventual resignation to powers greater than two people's hearts.
I once read on the internet in an interview (read so many, don't know the source) that Stevie went to Chile for 6 weeks after the Tusk tour. (alone)
Maybe she is refering to that?
In Stevies songs Everybody Finds Out, Destiny Rules, and Smile At You, the speaker is someone in a love affair with someone that is either married or involved with someone else. Example: When love starts out in the darkness it doesnt do well in the light. Affairs of the heart that start out in the dark usually stay with the night. EFO You love someone else I shouldnt be here . You love someone else I shouldnt be here. SAY, I knew that this would be the only time that we could be alone and foolish. DR
Could these have been written or begun during the Rumours/Tusk era when Stevie had her brief relationship with Mick? How well do we really know Stevie? If she had a relationship with one married man could there have been others? I think she has said that writing is therapeutic and she wants to share her mistakes with others so they wont make the same mistakes. How many affairs are in the gypsys closet?
So, I was walking around town, listening to Say You Will today, and I got to "Destiny Rules" (my favorite song by Stevie on that particular album) and I began to think about the stanza "I like the coastal cities, I like the light/I like the way the city blends into the ocean at night/It's like living on a working river, the coastline is glittering/Like a diamond snake in a black sky" and how this song relates to "Illume". Well, it occured to me the placement of these two songs on the album: "Illume" is two songs after the beginning, and "Destiny Rules" is two songs before the end. As the Webmistress mentioned, "city" and "ocean" are swiched in "Illume". I started getting a mental image of a city rising out of the ocean and (at this point I'm looking far too deep into this) I thought of the concept that all life was created from the ocean at the beginning of time: "Illume" is at the beginning of the album. In "Destiny Rules", the city is going back into the ocean: in all sorts of cultures, it is believed that the world as we know it will come to an end with a great flood at the end of time: hence, "Destiny Rules" is at the end of the album... But then again, I believe I may be looking into this too much; Stevie may have just liked those lyrics and thought they worked well with both songs.
Also, about the stanza "Six weeks in a foreign country, how the time flew/We didn't speak the language but somehow I knew/That that would be the only time that we could be alone and foolish/We swore we'd never come home": the fist thing that comes to my mind is that Stevie went to Chile for a while after the end of the Tusk tour. I don't know if any infidelity happened there, but it is a "foreign country" and as far as I know "[she] didn't speak the language". Another thing I think of, is the reunion tour in 1997, when they were all finally cleaned up and back on good terms. I read a speculation about "Thrown Down" stating that whomever was speculating thought that that particular song was about Stevie and Lindsey being intimate during that time. It is possible that this song is about the same thing. They were by themselves, on tour, away from the responsibilities that awaited them back home: this doesn't support the "foreign country/not speaking the language" idea, but it does support the line stating "Somehow we knew that that would be the only time that we could be alone and foolish". I believe that, not long after the tour ended, Lindsey became engaged to his wife and had his son. Maybe while they were out on the road, "being foolish", Stevie's intuition flared up and told her "You had better enjoy this, because it's the last time it's gonna happen".
Want to speculate about "Destiny Rules"? E-mail me and I'll post your comments.