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The Academics: The Scholar


The first of the Academics cards is the Scholar. The Scholars hold the lowest rank among the Academics; they are students, not teachers; they receive knowledge rather than create it; they are learners, not masters.

In a reading, the Scholars signify the receipt of something--the receipt of learning, the receipt of a message, the receipt of instruction from elsewhere. They are young, full of energy, but have not yet acquired discipline or mastery. They learn by observing, not by doing.

The Scholar cards may represent the beginning stage of some part of the Querant's life, when it represents the Querant himself or herself. The card may also represent someone other than the Querant, who the Querant may seek for guidance. The Scholar card in the latter capacity may indicate a child or someone with childlike enthusiasm.

The Scholar of Ribbons

A young woman sits on the edge of a large garden tub. She is wearing a robe and has a ribbon tied in her hair. She looks down into the tub, dangling her fingers in the water; a flower floats on the surface near her trailing fingertips. In her other hand she holds a rolled-up scroll, tied with a ribbon.

In this card, the Scholar of Ribbons is learning to understand her own motivations and aspirations and those of others. This is an image of the beginning of a great journey toward realizing her dreams, but at this point the dream is still unrealized--the Scholar of Ribbons is yet naive, and is still learnig the rules of others.

In a reading, the Scholar of Ribbons may indicate that the Querant is about to embark on the process of creating his or her own dreams--a process which will necessitate understanding those dreams, and also learning how to let go of conformity, naiveté, and previous reliance on the rules and strictures of social convention.

The Scholar of Chains

A woman stands before a table in a long flowing robe. Spread out on the velvet tablecloth before her are keys of every description--skeleton keys, tiny keys, large and elaborate keys, old and rusty padlock keys, fancy ornamental keys. The woman's wrists are chained together with a long loop of chain attached to iron manacles around each wrist. In her hands she holds an unrolled scroll, with a picture of a key drawn on it.

The Scholar of Chains is a card of change and the journey away from bondage (literal or figurative) and toward freedom. The Scholar has only just become aware that she is bound; the chains on her wrists have been with her for so long that she was scarcely even aware of them. Now she has received a message which guides her toward freedom.

Similarly, this card in a reading indicates a situation in which the Querant is either just becoming aware of or has just begun to free himself or herself from some form of bondage--perhaps a habit, or a failed relationship, or something else in life which has been holding the Querant back.

The Scholar of Books

A woman sits cross-legged on the floor. On one side of her is a pile of rolled scrolls; on the other side is a flat pile of sheets of parchment. In front of her is an inkwell and an opened scroll with the characters "" written on it. She holds a quill in her hand, and is beginning to write "tentac" on the blank scroll in front of her.

The Scholar of Books is a translator of scrolls; she receives messages in one language and creates scrolls containing the same message in another. Her knowledge is considerable, but at this point, it is craft, not art. She is not yet skilled enough to be a writer herself; she is still a recipient and a translator of knowledge.

In a reading, this card indicates some part of the Querant's life where he or she is able to interact in two worlds--perhaps two different social circles, two different but related crafts or job skills, or two different areas of knowledge. It is a caution that the ability to interact in these spheres does not necessarily, by itself, indicate mastery of either. The Querant should keep in mind the limits of his or her knowledge. Beware, for knowledge without understanding can be a tricky thing. The Querant should be advised that the truth might not always be what it seems; after all, the Oracle at Delphi always told the truth, but not everyone was prepared to hear it!

The Scholar of Tentacles

In a vast room, a large number of schoolgirls, all naked, are bound in a sea of writhing tentacles. More tentacles penetrate the schoolgirls from above and below. A young woman sits cross-legged on one side of the room, dressed in a modest dress. In front of her is a scroll, and in her hand she holds a quill. She watches the events unfolding around her and takes notes on the scroll.

The Scholar is recording the events, but whether that is for the purpose of combating the monsters or for salacious intent is not for her to decide. She observes and records without interpretation. Because she does not understand which details are important and which are not, she observes all of them carefully.

This scholar symbolizes the need for care and meticulousness in the face of chaos. When life is swirling all around, and anarchy and madness surround us, sometimes we can chart our way through by paying careful attention. In a reading, the Scholar of Tentacles may signal the need to be consciencious and precise about the things occurring in our lives, especially in the physical, tangible, material sphere. The bigger picture can wait until later; now is the time for paying attention to the details.

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