Linda Marson has more than 30 years experience in Australia’s vocational education and training industry. She also has a deep passion for what she calls the ‘two Ts’ – Tarot and travel. She brought the two together in her book and TV series, Ticket, Passport and Tarot Cards and in a partnership with Gothic Image Tours in the UK where she offers Tarot experiences on tours to ancient sacred sites in Scotland, Ireland and England.
In 2011 she established Global Spiritual Studies, an online learning hub where you can purchase master classes and courses on DVD or as recordings you watch online. Here she talks about her broad interpretation of the word ‘learning’ and about the twists and turns in her own learning and education journey.
Recently I received a hand-written letter from a young man in Zimbabwe who wanted to enrol in a spiritual studies correspondence course. He was passionate about wanting to immerse himself in learning that would open him to spiritual insights. His heartfelt request set me thinking about the nature of education, learning and teaching.
In ‘developed countries’ with affluent lifestyles the range of post-school learning options is mind-boggling. Any topic you can think of is catered for. You can complete courses in a college which lead to formal qualifications. You can undertake hobby or personal development classes. Institutions and private teachers offer distance mode delivery, flexible learning options or correspondence courses through the internet which allow you to study at home at times that suit you.
Finding my niche in the education industry
My own journey in the education industry has taken many twists and turns. At school in the 1960s I excelled at languages – Latin, French and German. I continued in this vein at university, completing a BA and then an MA in German Language and Literature, which did not serve me well on my first visit to Germany in 1974. I could read complex novels by the likes of Franz Kafka and Thomas Mann, but could I carry on a fluent conversation in the language I had studied for 10 years? Sadly, no. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about the value of my ‘higher education’ learning experience!
I dipped my toe into the teaching waters with an extremely unpleasant year at a Catholic High School. This might have been less traumatic if I had done some teacher training, but you live and learn, don’t you? In 1976 I became involved in the new community broadcasting sector in Australia. That’s when I realised I had a talent for facilitating learning that gives people a sense of their own power to pursue a passion and make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.
I was in the right place at the right time. I was instrumental in obtaining Government funding to support the development of training for community broadcasters and this experience led me into the vocational education and training sector where I earned a living as an administrator, then freelance consultant for 25 years.
The esoteric dimension
Moving in parallel with my ‘day job’ was a growing interest in the esoteric and Tarot in particular. I was fascinated by the way in which a Tarot reading gives people insights into issues and opens their eyes to new possibilities and new ways of seeing old issues. If learning is defined as ‘knowledge acquired through study, experience or being taught’, a Tarot reading is a learning experience.
I had been studying Tarot through books and involvement with the Tarot Guild of Australia for many years before I decided to develop a course and run classes. At first these were face-to-face classes but by 2008 I could see the potential of web conferencing and Skype as a way of reaching people anywhere in Australia, or the world for that matter. In the middle of 2010 I woke up one morning with the words ‘Global Spiritual Studies’ ringing in my ears. Without a second thought, I registered the name, developed a website which went live in early 2011.
Spiritual learning experiences take centre stage
Through Global Spiritual Studies I have the pleasure of working with people with expertise in a whole range of areas. My role is to help them produce their classes or products in ways which take advantage of the wonderful medium of online learning. I’m using the skills and knowledge I gained in mainstream vocational education and training in a new more rewarding context. Our vision is a world where everyone can find and follow their spiritual path in peace. To play our part in realising this vision, we provide learning experiences that nourish the soul and open doors to ways of living that embrace both spiritual and worldly needs.
Learning happens through life experience which could be a formal course of study that leads to a qualification, a job and a particular lifestyle. At the other end of the spectrum is experiential learning – gaining knowledge by falling in love, ending a relationship, developing and maintaining friendships, having children, working in different jobs, moving house, caring for ageing relatives…the list is endless.
For me, travel is a powerful learning experience. Think of the last time you returned from a special holiday with a sense of inner peace and renewal. Maybe you spent time in a dream destination or made a pilgrimage to the land of your ancestors. You’ve been on what I call a ‘soul journey’, one that opens you to a deeper understanding of who you are.
I’ve undertaken many soul journeys in some amazing places over the past 40 years. However, it took a while before I understood what lay beneath this addiction to travel, this quest for new experiences that took me outside my comfort zone. Gradually I became aware of how much I was learning through meeting people from cultures other than my own and being open to new experiences. I realised there was a link between where I was on my own inner journey and the outer journey I was undertaking at the time. For more on my soul journey experiences read Personal transformation through travel, the blog I wrote after returning from Scotland a few months ago.
Spiritual travel is an integral part of the learning experiences offered through Global Spiritual Studies. I do this through partnerships with people who share my passion for providing travel experiences that connect people to the spirit of place in a relaxed, supportive environment that opens them to exploring their full potential. I join some of the tours bringing Tarot into the mix of learning experiences.
Global Spiritual Studies expands its range of learning experiences
Currently classes and courses are offered once as live, online experiences. Subsequently they’re available for purchase on DVD, or as recordings you watch online as many times as you like. Earlier this year a new course feature was introduced. By courses I’m referring to a series of classes that develop knowledge incrementally – Tarot, Kabbalah, Petit Lenormand, Dreamwork and Astrology are areas where you’ll find courses. Twice a year now, we schedule periods when you have direct contact with teachers through private online discussion groups and a range of online activities.
I’ve now added face-to-face workshops to the mix of learning experiences. Distance mode delivery is wonderful in that it gives people anywhere in the world access to quality classes offered by experts. But nothing beats sitting around the table with fellow students and really getting to grips with a topic or issue.
So, in November 2014 I launched the Global Spiritual Studies road show with a one day workshop in Sydney on Kabbalah and Tarot. In 2009 I completed Evelynne Joffe’s year long Kabbalah course in Melbourne, which opened my eyes to the rich layer of meaning an understanding of the Kabbalah adds to the interpretation of cards. By the end of the workshop you’ll be able to overlay Kabbalistic principles and teachings to the interpretation of layouts.
About the presenter
Linda Marson is a former President of the Tarot Guild of Australia and author of Ticket, Passport and Tarot Cards. Before the manuscript was even finished, Linda was onto the next stage of the Ticket, Passport and Tarot Cards journey – a series of 22 x 5-minute programs for community television in Australia – one segment for each of the 22 Major Arcana cards. The series won an award for the best personal or spiritual development program on Australian community television in 2006.
No longer content to write or produce TV programs about tarot and travel, Linda took people on tarot guided journeys to Peru for a number of years. She continues to do this through a partnership with Gothic Image Tours in the UK.
Linda has been reading Tarot cards for over 20 years and for many years wrote for, and edited the Tarot pages of Spheres, a spiritual magazine in Australia. She has presented workshops on various aspects of Tarot practice and organised major Tarot events involving internationally renowned Tarot experts. In 2011 she established Global Spiritual Studies. For more information about Linda visit her Experience the Tarot website.
Over to you!
What’s your experience of the formal education system in your country? Do you agree with Linda’s broad interpretation of learning experiences? Do you have any experiences you would like to share? We’d love to hear from you.