Errol McLendon picked up his first deck and
Tarot books seven years ago on a trip to New Orleans at a small shop in
the Quarter called Esoterica; however, Errol's teaching experience goes
back twenty-five years, having been involved with teaching and directing
theatre-related classes and workshops throughout the United States.
Errol has had over twenty-five articles
published on the educational aspects of Tarot. He currently resides in
the Chicago area, where he teaches a 15-week Tarot Master Class. In his
spare time he is an actor, director and interactive theatre performer.
Errol primarily reads with The Nigel
Jackson Tarot, but uses the Rider-Waite deck as his personal meditation
deck and the Tarot of the Sephiroth for working on his study of the Tree
of Life. Errol believes that Tarot provides practical guidance to allow
us to create our own future and that the strongest power in the universe
is the power of laughter.
You are invited to visit Errol at the
TarotGuy website, launching soon.
Working as a mentor in the PSP presents us with ethical dilemmas never
encountered by mentors in other programs. We have volunteered for the
difficult task of helping teach a packet of information which is dependent
upon a certain amount of quiet and concentration to a person who rarely
has quiet or any personal time to themselves. Externally, there are
adjustments that have to be made to our guidance style; however, there are
also adjustments which have to be made internally, as well.
There are certain guidelines which I have followed since reading them in
the original Mentor’s Manual. The only two mentions of how to deal with
feelings which may be generated within the mentor as they deal with their
student is a quick question asking “Am I capable of exercising
non-judgment?” and a very short paragraph on discussing the crime which
approaches the question more from a legal perspective than an ethical one.
Nothing in the manual gives guidance to the mentor on how to deal with
feelings generated when you are told by the prisoner of his crime.
I have mentored half a dozen incarcerated students over the years and I
have never asked what they had done. I had no reason to know and I
preferred to take the ostrich approach and treat the student (with some
adjustments to fit their physical and logistical restrictions) as if he
were David Jones, Hardware Store Owner, Toledo, Ohio. This approach worked
great for me until my latest student took it upon himself to advise
me of his crimes.
There are probably very few crimes he could have told me about that would
have really affected my connection to him. I am a child of “real-crime”
TV; The Court Channel is one of my most often watched stations; however,
when my current student advised me that he had been convicted in several
states of multiple instances of child molestation, I was forced to
reexamine my association with him and with the entire program. After a bit
of soul searching, I worked out a system to reconnect with the reasons I
began working with the PSP.
With my student’s letter in hand, I went to a quiet place with a pen and
paper and The Hermit card. I placed the Hermit card on the table and put
the letter on top of it. Taking the pen and paper I wrote down all my
feelings of negativity I experienced when I first
heard of my student’s crime. I then took several cleansing breaths and put
The Hermit card on top of the letter. At this point I wrote all that that
The Hermit meant to me within the PSP environment. After several cleansing
breaths, I took both pages and reread them. I then made my decision and
tore up one of the sheets of paper based on my decision. In this instance,
I continued to mentor the student and, I believe, his crime is the only
one that is likely to affect me this way.
What would have happened if I had destroyed my “Hermit” paper, instead? I
would have immediately contacted the ATA and asked that my student be
reassigned. I don’t believe you can effectively mentor a student in the
PSP unless you are able to deal with
them on a totally non-judgmental and loving basis. I hope this small
ritual keeps you from making a snap decision should you be confronted with
you student’s transgressions. Although we, as mentors in the PSP are
offered more unique challenges than the average mentor, we are truly
blessed to be able to work with some of the most devoted and dedicated
students in the world.