Exploring Archetypes:
Teacher and Student

by Karen Mann, SoulCollage® Facilitator

Teacher, by Karen Mann

About ten years ago, when I was feeling stuck and was searching for some answers, I went to a tarot reader to see if they could give me some guidance. I remember that this tarot reader told me that I was a teacher and also a student. As a qualified teacher who was not currently teaching, but who was studying a part-time administration course, I paid little heed to her observations. I was working in a bank, and being a teacher and a student didn’t seem to have much relevance to my life or career at the time.

As it turns out, this tarot reader was actually picking up on some the energies of some major archetypes in my life. I am an eternal student, having spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours studying, and now I am also really beginning to embrace my role as a teacher (and workshop facilitator) too.

When I began looking through my SoulCollage® deck I found that I have at least six cards that depict the archetypal aspects of teaching and learning, most of which I made intuitively. What I found particularly interesting is that a number of the cards, which I made at different times, seem to unintentionally share some of the same symbols.

My Teacher Council card (see above) shows a flower growing; the blossoming flower & the supporting root system are both being nurtured through my teaching. I am the one who nurtures both that which can be seen and that which can’t. This card reminded me of the quote by Henry Brooks Adams which says

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

Eternal Student, by Karen Mann

My Eternal Student card also contains flowers and growing plants. I am the one who loves to read and learn. I am always looking within and with out for the answers. As I seek, I grow, sometimes in unexpected ways.

The similar symbols in these two cards seem to illustrate the close connection between teaching and learning in my life. There is a Latin proverb which says

By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn.

This is something I have found to be very true. I am fascinated as to how this connection has been expressed through the symbols which came up through my intuitive card making- I did not set out to include similar symbols in these cards.

Learning by Doing, by Karen Mann

A third card I made around this theme, called Learning By Doing seems to fit in nicely with this pair of cards. I am the one who loves to read but learns better by experiencing stuff myselfonce I have experienced something for myself, not only do I learn the lesson more easily, but then I can also teach about it with ease too. Through my writing, you will notice there is reference again to the connection between learning and teaching.

Symbolically, you will notice that the woman in this card has coated herself with paint that is the same colour as the hat in the Eternal Student card. It is as though the green (which could be interpreted as the colour of growth) has covered the area involved in the learning, the body or the mind.

I also feel that it is no accident that the Eternal Student is wearing a hat, as though she is trying to keep all her book learning in her brain. The woman who is Learning Through Doing, however, is missing the top of her head. It is as though she is very open-minded, waiting for the wisdom to fall into place, rather than trying to figure the answers out or to remember it all.

It has been fascinating to notice the similarities between the symbolism in these cards. I have certainly learned some more about trusting my intuitive card making, and after learning this myself, I am able to share this with my students and encourage them (and you) to trust this method of cards making too.

Joseph Joubert said To teach is to learn twice. As I have written this article, I have learned even more about my connection with the Teacher and Student archetypes. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share my new learning with you, as I learn twice.

Karen Mann is an artist, art teacher, Lifestyle Coach, yoga and meditation teacher, and SoulCollage® facilitator. Karen has been working with SoulCollage® cards for more than three years and facilitates a variety of SoulCollage® Groups. She also is a creativity coach and works one-on-one with people using SoulCollage® and a variety of other tools to encourage personal growth and creativity. Karen is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Copyright by Karen Mann, 2007. This article may be reprinted by permission only.