Upaguru – The Small Teachers

Upaguru means the teacher that is next to you in this moment. And so, my teachers include the wind, the stranger, and the broken bit of glass in the alley – Mark Nepo

In Paths to God, Ram Dass speaks of satgurus and upagurus. A satguru is the true teacher. The upaguru is anyone who teaches us something, which, when we are truly open to recognizing the good in all, is literally everything.

It only takes a quick web search to find the Sanskrit word for the notion of an Upaguru. Apparently an “upaguru” means “an assistant teacher” or “near a teacher”.  It feels like the right word  to describe how the lessons in life are all around us, we just have to remain aware enough to recognise them.

Upaguru Project

In this project I am seeking all the small teachers who may, so easily, be overlooked and using Tarot and Oracle cards to translate messages for me.

The Castlemaine Anticlinal Fold

When I visited the Anticlinal Fold in Castlemaine I took my deck of Soul Cards with me. As I stood in front of it I drew a card and I could distinctly hear this geological formation telling me that it had borne witness too enormous changes in this area.

2020 has highlighted that sometimes we have no control. At times like this we simply have to Bend to Earth’s Will.

This Soul Card helps clarify the message from the Anticlinal Fold. This card helps me reflect upon transmutation, change and the need to bend to the will of forces greater than oneself.

To transmute is to change from one nature, substance, form, or condition into another; transform. The anticlinal fold has been actively changing for centuries.

Of more recent times it has seen the massive changes that have taken place here in the place that was once the land of Indigenous people but has since been transformed to become Castlemaine.

In the card we see a woman with a butterfly behind her, striding away, prepared for transformation, willing to leave the past behind her.

Butterflies are not only beautiful, but also have mystery, symbolism and meaning. They are a metaphor representing spiritual rebirth, transformation, change, hope and life. The magnificent, yet short life of the butterfly closely mirrors the process of spiritual transformation and serves to remind us not only that life is short, but that life brings constant change.

Castlemaine began as the centre of the Mount Alexander gold fields in 1850. It was briefly larger than Melbourne, as that city’s population moved to Castlemaine to seek it’s fortune. It was the richest alluvial gold field in world history and that title has not yet been surpassed.

At it’s height one of the weekly convoys alone, shipped 3 tons of gold to Melbourne. However, the rich alluvial diggings were worked out within 15-20 years.

Castlemaine was where the “little fellows” became rich, with nearly all the gold being found within 4m of the surface. Thus small groups of men could band together and work a stake together in the hope of winning the lottery.

Of course the Gold Rush is long over, the pick axes were silenced over a hundred and fifty years ago and the diggers dispersed leaving the area to transmute and become something else again.

For Reflection

  • the Anticlinal Fold has had no control over its shape. Maybe we won’t ever have full control over what happens to us. Maybe we have to bend to the universe’s wishes more often than not. Consider some events in your life which you have had no control over. However have you regained a semblance of control?