Table of Contents


Tarot Reflections

 August 15, 2003

Dealing with the Crime
Errol McLendon, CTI

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.



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