|The second rank of the Academics cards is the Disciple. The Disciple is just realizing the ability to act, but has not yet gained the experience to act wisely. The Disciple may be brash, impulsive, or undisciplined; full of energy and vigor, untempered by experience, the Disciple lets nothing stand in the way.
The Disciple may not always act with the best judgment, but that's okay; good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from poor judgment.
The Disciple cards may represent the Querant himself or herself, in which case it stands for the first action toward a dream, goal, or ambition. The card may also represent someone other than the Querant, who the Querant may seek for guidance. The Disciple card in the latter capacity may indicate a person of unbounded energy, for whom the world is filled with new opportunity, or who the Querant recognizes as embarking on a new journey.
The Disciple of Ribbons
The young woman is wrapped in a towel and perched hesitently on the edge of a large hot tub. A long ribbon ties back her hair. Her friends in the tub beckon her to come join them, but she shrinks back uncertainly.
This card reprents the earliest movement toward realizing a dream. The Disciple of Ribbons is moving forward, but is still conflicted; her own inhibitions and fear of being judged hold her back. This inhibition is an obstacle she must overcome before she can take the next step on her journey.
In a reading, this card may symbolize the Querant's need to learn the tools of self-realization and introspection in order to continue on the journey toward his or her goals. The Disciple of Ribbons is learning to take action, but is still learning how to navigate her own way through the maze of other people's expectations. Similarly, the Querant needs to carefully consider how the expectations and conventions of others may be preventing him or her from realizing dreams or reaching goals; this card serves as a reminder to the Querant that our lives belong to us, not to others, and are there for us to live as we choose, not as others expect us to live.
The Disciple of Chains
A beautiful young woman, wearing a long flowing robe, stands with her back to us. On her outstretched hand rests a small but beautifully ornate box, which is fastened to her wrist with a chain. With her other hand, she is unlocking the box with a small bejewelled key.
The Disciple is both bound to and ignorant of the contents of the box. She has carried it with her for a long time, but has never thought to do anything other than bear it as a burden. Now, at last, she has finally decided to open the box, freeing herself from the weight of whatever mysterious contents it holds.
In a reading, the Disciple of Chains represents the opening of Pandora's box--initiating change, perhaps naïively, without completely understanding what lies within the box. Change s a powerful force; it is not necessarily bad or good, but it is definitely tumultuous. The Disciple of Chains is not sure what she will find within the box, and the Querant is not sure where the change in his or her life will lead. The Querant may have been carrying the seeds of this change for a long time, but only now will the change start to manifest.
The Disciple of Books
A young woman sits at a desk in her study, with a pile of books to one side of the desk. In front of her, a large, heavy tome is open, and she is tearing a page from it. Behind her, the wall is covered with pages she has torn out of other books; some of the pages have parts circled or underlined, and there are notes scribbled in the margins.
The Disciple is eager for knowledge. In her eagerness, she is hasty, impetutous, and undisciplined. She devours books the way the Cookie Monster devours cookies, always wanting more. She is ambitious, excited, and passionate...but in her passion, she is heedless of taking care of the source of her knowledge.
In a reading, the Disciple of Books indicates the turbulent nature of intellectual discovery and inspiration unchecked by experience or wisdom. The Disciple of Books is consuming vast quantities of information from a wide range of topics without synthesization. So too, the Querant may be finding himself or herself eager for and overwhelmed with information, but without a framework to comprehend it properly. This does not necessarily have to be a problem, though, for mastery is within reach and the excitment and unbounded enthusiasm of this time in the Querant's life makes it possible to learn very quickly. Be warned, however, not to allow passion and enthusiasm to cause you to damage the source of the knowledge you pursue!
The Disciple of Tentacles
The young woman is shown here standing in a modest dress. In each hand she holds a leash. The leashes are connected to collars around the necks of two nude schoolgirls, on their knees beside the Disciple. The schoolgirls are held firmly in place by writhing tentacles as more tentacles penetrate them between their legs. One of the schoolgirls, eyes closed, is crying out in ecstasy; the other is struggling frantically to escape her torment.
The Disciple is astonished to see the differences in the responses of the two schoolgirls. They are both experiencing similar things, but one is enraptured in pleasure and the other is desperate to escape. The internal emotional state of the two schoolgirls is vastly different despite the similarity in their circumstance.
The Disciple has arrived in a place where she has the opportunity to take action, rather than simply being an observer. But what will that action be? What should she do? Should she do anything?
Sometimes, fate places us in a situation where we have the ability to act, but it's not clear what choice we should make. When it comes up in a reading, this card indicates that the Querant is in such a place. He or she has the knowledge to decide what to do, but may lack the experience that helps guide the choice. Even though it may seem that the choice is perplexing, there is nothing to do now but to choose.