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Tarot Reflections

 January 17, 2005

The Burden of Going to Work and Chiseling out a Living
Christopher delaMaison, CPTR

Christopher delaMaison is an instructor at a private college, who packs his Ten of Wands burden in the back of his Toyota truck. He has plans this coming weekend to use his brother’s chop saw to deal with said burden and use it in his woodstove. When not teaching, Christopher can be found at one of the local gaming stores playing the strategy miniatures game Mechwarrior with his tech buddies. Such activities contribute to being “one of the sharper tools in the shed.”

His web site: features a number of items which you simply have to see for yourself.


Earlier this week on my way to work, it dawned on me that there is a series of cards that seem to reflect how I feel about going to work: the Ten of Wands, the Three of Cups and the Eight of Pentacles. Now, I suppose anyone you talk to would prefer a life of ease and luxury, but the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of us are obliged to trundle off to work in the morning to exchange eight (or more) hours of our lives to maintain what sociologists would call our standard of living. Be that as it may, I find my Monday morning motivation for constructive employment somewhat lacking, especially if I’ve been out with friends partying over the weekend. I suppose such an attitude could be seen as the “Revenge of the Nine of Cups.”

As I drive to work, I feel as if I’m the guy in the Ten of Wands, trudging along with my load of wands. As I’m slowly crawling along the highway towards work (remember when highway travel meant speed!!!), I see other commuters with their burden of wands, looking no more enthusiastic about a Monday morning drive than I am. What is interesting is that on any given day, I see two to three logging trucks hauling trees down I-5 and I-205. I don’t know where these trees are coming from, as any logging operations would have to be quite a ways away from either highway. However, it is almost too appropriate for a Monday morning Ten of Wands burden visualization.

When I do get to work, I find what looks like the opposite of my Ten of Wands: a Three of Cups celebration in full swing. The ladies in the Financial Aid office seem to know how to deal with Monday mornings. They bring in baked goodies and treats, and always have a smile and kind comment early in the morning. This always seems to dissipate the Monday morning blues and puts me in a better mood to face the day. To me, it looks like these ladies are participating in their own little Three of Cups exercise. Being around them always seems to simply make things better.

As the work day unfolds, I find that events never really come to the level of my Ten of Wands burden. There are problems to address during the day, PCs to fix in the classroom, administrative issues to deal with, and of course, students to teach. When I step into class, I can see that the students are feeling the Ten of Wands burden themselves. As a teacher, it is my job to show them that what looks like a Ten of Wands burden is really nothing more than a bag full of blank pentacles that need to be chiseled out, as in the Eight of Pentacles. I go through the exercises with them, showing them how to chisel their way through the assignments, taking one step at a time and solving individual problems in sequence. The Eight of Pentacles is most appropriate for this setting, as the skills I teach in my classes are those I used as a computer technician. This type of work is very much a “hammer and chisel” affair, as techs must be able to hammer out problems and chisel out solutions if they are to carve out a niche for themselves in the real world.

At the end of the day, it seems that most of my worries never really do materialize. The department deans tell me the students seem to be satisfied (which translates into the admin staff being satisfied with me), most of the computer equipment is still functioning in the classrooms (which is a huge relief), and I’ve also managed to fix a PC belonging to one of the medical assistant students during a PC Diagnostic & Troubleshooting class. I’m still at the lower end of the totem pole at work, as far as status is concerned, but I’ve managed to make myself valued to those folks I come into contact with, which seems to count for something.

Looking at these three cards, I see that each one of them is really only a representation of an idea. I never do actually shoulder a burden as heavy as that depicted in the Ten of Wands. Being basically lazy, I would be motivated to correct such a situation before it ever came to actually having to exert any real effort. I also realize that my friends in the Financial Aid department have very real lives that are nowhere near the “Three of Cups” carefree existence they portray. What I do realize most of all is that my work-a-day life is much more akin to the Eight of Pentacles than anything else, which is really for the best.

As a teacher, I do get a feeling of satisfaction when I see my students graduate and find employment. I feel that my time teaching has actually accomplished something worthwhile, aside from simply providing me with a monthly paycheck. It is said that a classroom is something that has four walls with the future inside. This being true, I find that the future is arrived at by slow steady work as seen in the Eight of Pentacles. This is the sort of granular progress that causes society to move forward and, hopefully, advance.

Illustrations from the Universal Tarot Deck © Lo Scarabeo



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