Weighing Up The Right With The Wrong

I’ve just spent two weeks shut in my apartment.

Not because I have coronavirus.

Not even because I’m a close contact of someone who does.

What happened to me is symptomatic of a system in chaos. A society under stress. A modern workplace, which is so concerned about not doing the wrong thing, it doesn’t do the right thing.

A student diagnosed with coronavirus had come to school.

Teaching staff were informed we’d need to stay home until close contacts of this student had been traced. It was meant to take one to two days. Three days, tops.

Each evening, around 5 o’clock, a message came from the education department, informing everyone to stay home the next day.

This message came on Tuesday. On Wednesday. On Thursday.

And then it came again on Friday. After the three days had passed.

And then the next evening. And the next. And the next.

Until the entire school staff had done a full quarantine, regardless of whether or not we were a close contact.

For some people this was probably fine. But I live on my own. In an apartment. There’s no-one to do the shopping for me. I can’t get groceries dropped at the door. And I never knew, from one day to the next, that I would be staying home, so it was hard to put a system in place to get support.

Fortunately, my daughter returned from the country, and replenished my food supplies in the nick of time. But that was just sheer, dumb luck!

What made the whole situation more distressing, was that the school leadership team never once directly addressed what was happening. Oh yes, they implied we must all be at home. But they never asked how we were going, or if we needed support in any way. Just referred us to the department messages and available hotlines.

I suspect they were afraid of saying the wrong thing. Getting in trouble. There’s so much compliance pressure in schools these days, no one wants to do anything but what they’re told to do.

We’re so focussed on not doing the wrong thing, we don’t do the right thing.

And I wondered if Tarot had anything to say about this.

I think the lesson comes in this card…

Temperance: Finding the right balance

There has never been a system invented that takes into account every factor involved. Let alone, one that does this in the workplace. Yet we’re expected to be compliant to the letter, without taking into account other possible issues. There’s so much focus on ticking boxes in schools these days, there’s no opportunity to step back and ask:

What else should we be doing?

What are we missing?

Temperance is a card found in the Major Arcana. Or, as I like to call it: Life Lessons Tarot. Finding the right balance is an important lesson to learn. As the card points out, in its association with health, this is what maintains well-being.

Right now, it feels like work environments are this…

Justice Reversed: When the scales are out of whack

Don’t get me wrong! We need compliance in systems. As this card reminds us…

The Emperor: Boundaries

But we definitely place too much emphasis on it…

Eight of Pentacles + The Emperor: Intense focus on following the rules

Does it feel like this in your work place?

The Emperor: Taxes and Audits

The Emperor

Phew! I just finished getting my tax stuff in order. (Note: That’s not the obsession I was talking about in my last post, I’ll get to that.) Am seeing my accountant tomorrow and possibly (definitely) left the paperwork until the last minute. Nobody enjoys doing their taxes. It’s a fact of life. And there’s at least one peep I know who never does them. Ever. Because it’s too hard. He’s one of those hoarder types who collects piles around his house and can never find anything when he needs it. Luckily the government owes him way more than he owes them. I’m not too bad when it comes to keeping track of my paperwork. I might even be a bit of a filing geek (*confession*). But it’s still a chore to do my taxes. That’s why I’m filing them under the Emperor card. He demands self-discipline and hard work. As my luck would have it a letter arrived in the post today telling me I’ve been randomly selected by the teaching body of my state to have my professional practice audited as well. Oh yay, more forms to fill out. Taxes and audits, I’m deep in Emperor territory right now.

How do you handle tax time?

The Tarot Of Elections

It’s the day after the election here in Australia and while most peeps are probably nursing a hangover after celebrating the win or the loss I thought I’d have a look at the Tarot Of Elections.

The Empress

Continue reading

The Emperor: Tests And Reports

The Emperor

It’s that time of year as a school teacher in Australia when you have to report on your students’ progress. My reports were due last Friday at 4pm and I was still tidying up sentences when the computer sever got turned off and I was forced to stop tweaking. Report writing is very much the domain of The Emperor. Let’s take a closer look at the process shall we…

Continue reading

The Boston Bombers And The Frankston Rapist: The Tarot Of Dealing With Imported Cultural Values

So they’ve caught the last remaining Boston Marathon Bomber and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. At least the immediate danger is over. Although the pain is not. Everything about this situation makes me sad. The loved ones lost. The victims who must learn to live without an arm or leg or maybe both. The families hurting. The futileness of the whole thing. And two young men who believed that harming others in the most horrific way was the best thing they could do with their lives. How did they come to such a conclusion? Was it because they were born in a country where terrorism is seen as a valid means of expressing your dissatisfaction? And more importantly, how can we stop this from happening again?

Australia like America has a worrying track record when it comes to ensuring newcomers embrace the values of our society. Men from certain countries manage to find a way to have more than one wife, 14-year-old girls are sent back to their parent’s country-of-birth to get married, female babies are circumcised, even though these things are against Australian law. And then there is this. Alongside the news about the capture of the Boston Bomber in the Australian media this morning was a distressing story about a young Afghan refugee who confused rape with consensual sex.

Esmatullah Sharifi was jailed a few years ago for raping a 25-year-old woman on Christmas Eve. He subsequently faced the courts again on charges of raping an 18-year-old five days before the other rape took place. The courts heard that Sharifi regularly drove around outside nightclubs in Frankston, on the outskirts of Melbourne, on the lookout for drunk, vulnerable, young women. As a result of these two cases Sharifi was placed on the sexual offenders registry and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Incredibly, unbelievably, he has won the right to appeal his sentence on the basis that as a refugee he did not understand what ‘consent’ means in Australia. Even though in the second case it was made clear that the girl screamed and called for help at which point he put one hand over her mouth and another around her neck to restrict her breathing i.e. He had to use force for the sexual act to be performed. As one commentator has pointed out, the idea that rape might somehow be excused in Australia because of cultural differences in horrifying.

It strikes me that there are disturbing parallels between the Boston Bombers and the Frankston rapist. In both cases the imported cultural values of young men has led to acts that we would consider evil. So maybe we need to look at the ways we manage the assimilation of immigrants. Of course the onus should be on the individuals involved to take responsibility for their actions. Few immigrants commit such horrifying deeds and there are plenty of homegrown rapists and murderers. But surely it’s also in our interest as a society to look for better ways to impart our values to newcomers.

This is how I would describe the Tarot of this situation:

The Emperor: Young men

The Devil: Evil

Justice: Weighing our options as a society

Two Of Pentacles: Dealing with different values

We need to consider carefully how we deal with young men who are importing what we would consider evil values into our society. We need to deal with those values before they erupt into rape and murder. Ignorance should never be admitted as a valid excuse before the law.

Any suggestions as to how?

Throwback Thursday: The Holy Book Of Tarot

I’ve decided to dedicate Thursdays to re-running old posts. Maybe mashed up together or with new information thrown in. Because there are some Tarot stories that deserve to be retold. Because I want to refocus on central themes from time to time. Today is one of those occasions.

One of the reasons I love Tarot cards so much is that they’re deeply meaningful. In particular the group of cards commonly known as The Major Arcana. I refer to them as Life Lessons Tarot because together they read like a book about the core life experiences of a human being. For me this is Tarot’s Holy Book. I’ve divided it up into three volumes and a prologue.

Prologue: Continue reading

The Hierophant: Bill Gates Socks It To ‘Em

The Hierophant

Bill Gates gave a speech at a high school recently in which he talked about how feel-good politically correct teachings had created a generation of kids with no concept of reality which sets them up for failure in the real world. He outlined eleven rules students would not learn in school but should.

Rule 1: Continue reading