The Teacher Card.
I met Joanna Powell Colbert at the The Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference two years ago at Ghost Ranch. As I sat down to have a reading with her beautifully illustrated Gaian Tarot, she shared with me how her inspiration for the teacher card came from the UpS poster “If you listen they will teach you” donated by artist Kevin Morgan. I loved how Joanna’s teacher card portrays someone posed in meditation sitting in front of a western cedar surrounded by five medicinal herbs: dandelion, stinging nettles, garlic, yarrow and comfrey. This seemed so fitting to the mission of UpS because if we use these common herbs that are such potent and abundant medicine, we take the pressure off of the native herbs of the forest that are on our “At-Risk” list. These vulnerable plants are not as abundant, reproduce slowly, and depend on a fragile pristine habitat that is under stress due to development, fragmentation, invasive species, over harvesting, and poaching. As a teenager I read Tom Brown’s book The Tracker. Grandfather was Tom Brown’s teacher who taught the way of the coyote, these lessons further inspired the teacher card. How do we as teachers share the wisdom and mission of UpS with others? Joanna points out that “Grandfather was always inspiring the learning process by asking questions, telling stories, teasing and perhaps some trickery to make his lesson well understood. In lessons gained from the teacher card Joanna adds, “Coyote teaching also happens when you plan to learn one thing (the medicinal use of herbs, for example) and end up learning something else altogether (perhaps the limits of your own courage and stamina)”. To see the rest of the deck and perhaps buy your own go to www.gaiantarot.com.