Dandelions, Snails and Conforming

What’s the joke I’m not getting here? I think it may be about control. You have to wonder why we spend so much time and effort decimating the poor dandelion. Really. I mean think about it. Hours and hours of sweat. Tons of money. All to make sure …

Ahhh, I wondered when this card might show up. I really like this one for so many reasons. You see, this card is one I never really like in other decks. I instinctively mule-kick against what it traditionally represents. Joanna’s vision of this Major Arcana standard is very different from others. Even my primary reading deck shows this one in a fairly traditional manner. It seems to me that this particular card is the very antithesis of free-spirited living. So when I drew the Teacher from the Gaian Tarot, I smiled.

The first thing that captures my eye is the smile. He’s old. He’s wizened. He’s grinning like a Cheshire cat as he offers me a curious plant. He sits in the lotus position against what must be a cypress tree. Maybe it is a redwood, but the pieces of branches that I can see look like cypress to me. And cypress is a tree from my home that I am very familiar with so that may be why I want this to be a cypress. 🙂

My old friend the Great Blue Heron stands in the water to the left and rear of the tree. Brother Coyote is laughing from the right side of the tree. His gaze is directly at the Teacher as though he is sharing the joke. And what is the joke? Well, it has to be the plant that the Teacher is offering.

It’s a dandelion!

Anyone who has ever had to maintain a yard knows the dandelion. A bright bit of sunshine yellow that insidiously takes over your pristine green yard. There are books written about how to eradicate this suburban homeowner pest, but here he is–handing me a dandelion. Other plants with him are a Queen Anne’s Lace in the lower left with an unknown plant just above that. Maybe it’s lobelia? Comfrey perhaps? On the other side I see what might be tobacco and at the bottom right is an onion-type plant like garlic.

But I keep coming back to this laughing old man trying to get me to take a dandelion. What is his gimmick? What’s the joke I’m not getting here? I think it may be about control. You have to wonder why we spend so much time and effort decimating the poor dandelion. Really. I mean think about it. Hours and hours of sweat. Tons of money. All to make sure your lawn is green all over and conforming with your neighbors.

Uh oh.

There’s that word I associate with this card’s traditional counterpart, the Hierophant. Conformity. Rules. Structure. Fitting in.

This card is often associated with Saturn, the Task Master. This is the card I see as telling me I need to play by the rules. I have to color within the lines when the Hierophant aka Pope shows up. And I don’t like that. So to see the Gaian Tarot’s Teacher here makes me smile.

And think. I will have to think about what I do to conform. What risks do I misss because I am being the teacher instead of the student?

Book says: “I receive my best spiritual teachings from Nature.”

Well, it is a Western Red Cedar not a cypress. The plants are Comfrey, Yarrow, Stinging Nettle and Garlic. And this is the Crazy Saint or the Wise Fool archetype.

The affirmation really speaks to me. It’s been raining a lot here in central Texas. Where I live is already down in a darker, moister part of town. I’ve been seeing snails all over the place. And it’s a test to my agility when I’m trying to avoid stepping on them. Now I’m weird. I dislike slugs intensely but like snails. I have two varieties that I’ve noted. In looking them up on google just now, I’ve discovered that I have the brown snail (I see these the most) which are considered a voracious pest and a detriment to the garden. I also have the decollate snail which are apparently the King Snake of snails as they eat other snails. They can also become a pest to the garden. How fascinating! I never knew there was a snail that could be used to deter other snails.

I’ve been very much trying to learn more from my environment. I am reminded that it is not my job to step on bugs. There are other bugs designed to take care of that for me. This affirmation is not just for snails.

What do you see in your world right now? Is it spring or fall where you are? What reminds you of the season you are in? How do you mark your seasons?

P.S. My workshop is nearly full. If you are considering joining, please let me know ASAP. It’s going to be five weeks of fun!

Pssst, want to learn more about the snails of Texas? Click here.

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