Talent: Contemplating the Queen of Swords

The bulk of my magickal work will be completed too late for me to blog about it until tomorrow, so I thought I might answer a question posed by a friend instead. S. Connolly recently asked her readers, “What talents do you have, and are you sharing them with the world? There are people out there who would say that if you have a talent – you have a duty to share it with others.  I am curious how others feel about their talents and am curious how others are sharing their talents.” I initially responded with a long and angst-filled entry that was thankfully interrupted by workmen showing up in my suite. Upon reflection and a damn good nap, I realized consulting the Tarot was a far better use of my time.

I already have a decent idea of what my talents are, but the Domagick Challenge has shown me that I struggle when it comes to applying them. I asked my Sharman-Caselli deck, “Am I sharing my talents with the world?” and turned over the Queen of Swords. I’ve heard this card described before as She Who Suffers. Personally, I’ve thought of it as ‘She Who Wouldn’t Say Anything If Her Mouth Was Full of Shit.’ The Queen of Swords is afraid to make a scene. I’d say this aspect of the card ties directly to what I was talking about yesterday; I want to live authentically, but I’m afraid to share who I am because I worry people won’t like it.

This isn’t a great attitude for an artist or writer to have. Sharing with the world takes courage. The Queen of Swords could also mean that someone aloof has entered my life—or that I need to develop that personality trait myself. I suspect most people participating in the Domagick Challenge wouldn’t call themselves professional occultists, but I’ve still worried about sharing my artwork these last twenty-two days because I know it is student-grade and this is supposed to be my “work” blog.

I never fret when it comes to including my artwork in my weekly Goetia Immersion class notes. Whether she realizes it or not, S. Connolly has actually has seen more of my talent than most. She’s the one teaching the program I’ve been enrolled in for the last year and a half and has already received well over 100,000 words of notes and more pictures than I can count. At this point, she deserves a shiny red apple and one of those World’s Best Teacher mugs simply for reading all of that. She’s also helped me realize two of the reasons why I may be thinking about going back to school all the time.

For one, teachers are okay with seeing you at less than your best. They want you to get better, of course, but the good ones can see students progressing. They don’t expect perfection right out of the gate. You don’t enter a classroom as a professional. The idea is to leave a classroom as one.

Secondly, good teachers can see the gaps in your knowledge and help you fill them. When you’re lost, they’ll guide you to the next thing you have to do. They are there for help when you are stuck—or at least they should be.

When it comes to being a creator, I’m entirely self-taught. Except for one class a couple years ago, I have never taken a creative-writing class. When I took that, I already had the majority of my publishing credits under my belt. I’ve never taken an art class outside of high school, either. My well-meaning son keeps telling me to learn from YouTube videos, but this is the kid who taught himself 3D animation. The response that wells up inside me every time he says that isn’t fit to print.

If I want to get better in either of these areas, I’ll most likely need to enroll in some kind of class. It’s how I learn best. To do so, however, I’ll need to quiet the voices in my head and convince myself it is all right to pursue these talents regardless of the class outcome. I may never live up to the standards I’ve set in my head. The Queen of Swords is connected to air, and she often has high ideals. When she cannot match them, she comes away disappointed. She doesn’t necessarily talk about it, of course, but she is.

If I want to grow as a creator, I’ll have to decide how I’m going to proceed in the months ahead, so I don’t cut myself on her double-edged blade.

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