Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finding Your Teacher

Part of the fun of working with tarot theme decks that use unconventional imagery is the possibility of engaging those decks in ways that might not work so well with any other tarot deck. So, at this past Sunday’s informal, drop-in workshop, we were working with the Wizards Tarot, which is patterned after a magical academy, to see how we can relate different teaching personalities and learning situations to the magic of living.

To try out one of the exercises we experimented with:

Shuffle the cards while posing the question, “Please show me how to get the most out of this semester’s learning experience in the school of life,” or, more simply, you can recite the old Taoist adage, “When the student is ready, the teacher comes.” When you feel you have shuffled enough, set the deck of cards face up before you and go through it until you come to the first Major Arcana card, which will represent a member of the Mandrake Academy’s teaching staff. This represents a major teaching influence that you can call upon and gain from, and may denote a person or experiential situation. If a person, he or she may be someone you already know, or who is soon to enter your life to bring a valuable lesson. Of course, you can take a proactive approach and seek out persons with strong teaching personalities and knowledge to share.

Also, take note of whichever cards come before and after your teacher card, and treat them as flanking cards in a three-card spread. If your teacher happens to be the first card, treat the card on the bottom of the deck as the one which goes before it. The flanking cards are likely to be Minor Arcana cards featuring scenes of Academy students, and will provide clues as to areas of life significant to your learning experience, or ideas on how to actualize that experience. Sometimes the card on the right may also be a Major Arcana/teacher card, which suggests team teaching, or one teaching influence affecting another.

Because each of the Major Arcana card teachers serve as a professor of some magical subject of study, consider how delving into that subject (or approaching that subject in some new way if it is already something you have been studying), might help you find new meaning in your experiences, (including in relation to the archetypal experiences this card represents in more conventional tarot symbolism). Also, look at material images in the flanking cares to consider whether they represent certain “school supplies” or “learning materials” to utilize. The flanking cards’ elemental associations also say something about the nature of your learning experience: Swords emphasize intellectual energies, Wands creative ideas, Pentacles are for practical hands-on learning, and Cups show the affect on your inner life.

After looking over your three-card spread, you can now turn your attention to your “Hidden Teacher” card. There is a hidden teacher in every learning experience, and that is the teacher that you become by virtue of being able to pass on what you gained out of that experience. In fact, in learning and, in turn, teaching, you become part of a “lineage.” To discover the teaching personality that you are likely to express as a result of this semester in the Magical Academy, add the numbers of the three cards in your reading, and then (if necessary) use magical numerology to reduce that number to a number between one and twenty-one, which will correspond to another Major Arcana card and professor in the Mandrake Academy.

Note that you could also apply these techniques to other tarot decks, and then consider how you would perceive the Major Arcana cards as teachers, and the Minors as learning situations.

With the next post, I will elaborate on some of the tarot teaching personalities.

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