Work With A Zen Master

Zen master is a somewhat vague English term that arose in the first half of the 20th century, sometimes used to refer to an individual who teaches Zen Buddhist meditation and practices, usually implying longtime study and subsequent authorization to teach and transmit the tradition themselves.

Natalie Goldberg, whose work I have always admired, wrote the Long Quiet Highway: Waking Up in America, a memoir about her Zen teacher.

When I was young it was a thing to go off to India, meet a Guru and ‘find yourself’. Not everyone has the opportunity to spend time in retreat working with a Zen Master or a Guru, but collectors of cards will know that amongst their decks lies a true Zen Master.

I have a couple of decks in my collection that could earn this title but the stand out at the moment is Morgan’s Tarot, which isn’t really a Tarot anyway. Sometimes I suspect I may get more sense out of my colourful pansies.

Out with my Zen Master

My new Zen Master, the Morgan’s Tarot, and I went out together for a private session at a local labyrinth. Before going I painstakingly numbered all the cards in the order in which their descriptions appear in the booklet. This ritual is the closest I will ever come to modifying a deck. Scissors and I don’t go well together, but at least I now get what this deck modification is about.

But I digress. When we reached our destination I explained to the deck that I wanted to know more about my path.

It seems that my master is intent on baffling me, for nothing made sense, at least not at first. Perhaps bafflement is the point. “Zen koans are statements which, on their face, make no apparent logical sense. The intention of the koan is to crack-open the seeker’s habitual thinking, so that new ways of thinking can seep in through the crack. Morgan’s Tarot seems to invoke some of that spirit”.

Over to You

Check out your collection of decks, experiment and decide who is your real Zen Master. To do this you might use this relationship spread with each deck.

Some Exercises:

  1. Think of a question to ask your Zen Master. Decide on a lay-out to use to answer the question, three-card, five-card, Six-card Hungarian, Celtic Cross-and-Wand, your choice. The thing is, you’re going to ask this same question of both your Zen Master deck, and your choice of one of the other symbol-system divination methods available. Note which cards landed where in each spread. Do a comparison and contrast of both decks. Was there a fundamental agreement in their answers? Did one deck seem to focus on one aspect of your situation and the other deck, another? Source: Divination Lessons
  2. Head out with your Zen Master, preferably in some outdoor space, and seek advice. With any luck you will not be told you are experiencing illegitimate feelings, whatever they are.

Morgan Tarot Online

Sleepbot, whoever they are, has a wonderful divination generator featuring these cards, which reminds me of Willa’s Tea Leaf Readings, a fun generator that was around back in the early days of the net.

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