3. Phagos

Teaching, education, mastery, virtuosity, legacy

Tree: Beech (Fagus spp.)

Letter: Ph or F

Image from Wikipedia

Phagos is a reminder of the mental discipline it takes in the process of acquiring knowledge. When you get to the point of knowing a subject so well, you can teach it effortlessly, then you have mastered the subject on the mental plane, which reverberates through the other planes. Saturated knowledge is knowing a thing inside and out. Those who believe in reincarnation believe this is the kind of knowledge that does not go away when you shed one mortal body for the next one: for instance, a skilled midwife will stand a good chance of coming back as a competent ob/gyn who stumbles upon their talent in a seemingly random way. Or a lute player may be reborn and pick up the guitar at age twelve and learn it faster than any other kid in their class because of knowledge picked up in past lifetimes.

Teaching and inspiring others to master a subject is the physical manifestation of knowledge, or in old terminology, the Word made flesh. Beech tree bark makes a primitive form of paper. Phagos implies the written word and the transmission of knowledge through our uniquely human invention: writing.

Teachers and teaching are often undervalued in the modern West, with denigrations such as “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach,” being thrown about by the arrogant who have never been able to translate their mental skill in a way that consistently inspires others to learn. Bad teachers abound, and they can be bad for any number or reasons: some choose teaching when they have no passion for it, some want the glory of being labeled a teacher. Everybody knows that a good teacher is worth their weight in gold when it comes to the transmission of knowledge, and that a bad teacher is hardly worth the powder to blow them to hell, and often what a teacher is paid has nothing to do with what they’re worth. If you have a good teacher, let them know. Learn all you can while you are able to do so with the best teachers you can find (we live in the age of the internet, and a huge number of great teachers “live” there). Concentrate on a small number of subjects until you gain complete mastery, because you will take that knowledge with you long after your current flesh body dies. If you know a subject well enough to teach it, this Ogham is encouraging you to spread the wealth of your knowledge with other humans in a direct and potentially physical way such as writing.

Questions when you draw Phagos:
-Who was the best teacher you ever had and why? What did you learn from them?
-Who was the worst teacher you ever had and why? What frustrated you about them? Did you end up gaining the knowledge you wanted by going around them? How did you do this?
-What topic/topics have you mastered in this life, no matter how mundane?

“A good teacher must be able to put himself in the place of those who find learning hard.” -Eliphas Levi

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” -Michelangelo

“Mastery is not a function of genius or talent. It is a function of time and intense focus applied to a particular field of knowledge.” -Robert Greene