The Arcanum Has Begun! (in Beta) Part 2

In Part 1 of this mystical journey, I told you about being part of the The Arcanum’s launch. Of course, typical of me – there is also the inner journey!

What The Heck IS a Master, Anyway?

In the beginning,  I wondered what being a Master really meant. Community is huge in The Arcanum – and the idea of a Master’s role not to “teach” in the same sense as my 35 years of experience would dictate. Our job here in the beginning is to step back, let the community develop, carefully watch the conversations – and let folks discover their rhythm and their answers. At first, I wondered how a group of peers could grow together and not simply be “the blind leading the blind?” It was a question I grappled with for awhile.

My Cohort – and My “A-HA!”

I was still thinking about this as I chose my fabulous first group of Apprentices. I wanted a community that could take an Artistic approach to photography. People who had lived a multi-faceted life. Who were grown ups. Multi-passionate, multi-talented people who bring a certain kind of “cross trained” perspective. Different ages, genders and geographic locations who wouldn’t flinch at avant-garde ideas. Who, when alchemically blended, became an artistic force breathtaking to behold – both individually and as a community.

As I read their profiles and still pondered this “how to be a Master” question… it began to dawn. In any artistic endeavor, no one should look to a person, and mentor, a teacher, or any single entity for what is Right. The goal should never be to please the Master… it should be to unlock a deep creative force; the Muse, the divine fire within which creates fantastic art and expression. In that scenario – the Master doesn’t lead in any conventional sense – he/she provides an epic bread crumb trail then gets out of the way. If the trail is a good one, an Apprentice will “miraculously” discover their own answers.

The kicker; it doesn’t merely require a Master – it takes a special community of people who are all pointed in the same direction. That’s the most powerful space in which to grow; and I set out to create one.


Art & Community

My friend and fine art photographer Keoki Flagg says true art is three things; it’s Emotional, Original and Timeless. IMHO, what kills that quest is trying to please another.  Teacher, leader, Master, doesn’t matter. Trying to please “the other” turns your creativity into something other than  yours. What can help it exponentially is to not go it alone – but to travel with a group of like-minded artists who want to go there  too. Folks with enough perspective, heart, soul and life experience who can create a space where “flourishing” is the norm. Right there is the incredible power of Community.

I grew up as a loner; communities were either nonexistent, or horribly disappointing. It’s taken my experiences on Google+ to truly understand the power of Community.

The Arcanum is the perfect platform for this particular style of learning, Art and Mstery. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea! But that’s the beauty of these incredible times we live in. There is every kind of Photography education you could dream of, brilliant people standing at every turn, just waiting to share what they know. And there’s room – and an audience – for all of them! Exciting times for Photography, indeed.

My personal takeaway from all of this so far? The discovery of a new “voice” in my teaching. Doing anything for 35+ years will dull you around the edges. In fact, I’d stepped away from teaching for awhile, on purpose.  I needed to take a breath, dive deep into my own art & expression vs. always facilitating others in finding theirs. See what new light could be shed on things. This return to “teaching” (we need a new word!) as part of The Arcanum is opening up new ideas, new approaches and a totally new & inspired way to think about how to help – and make a difference.

It’s pretty awesome to get to share it with you! 😀

14 thoughts on “The Arcanum Has Begun! (in Beta) Part 2

  1. Hi Karen, Well some time has passed since you posted this article and commentary, and as a new Master in The Arcanum I am grateful that the team who puts together the Master orientation list that included your article. What you have articulated, both technical and emotional, fills me with a sense of joy and excitement as I start this journey. I love how you describe the intent of the Master in developing their Apprentices is more of a ‘guide on the side’ rather than a ‘sage on the stage’ approach. I am clear that I will learn and grow as much with the community as they will from the all the Masters and Apprentices they work with. Thank you for the post. I look forward to getting to know you and the other Masters. Cheers Kingsley

  2. Karen the Arcanum sounds like just the ticket..If I thought I was good enough I’d ask how do I join as an apprentice..

  3. Karen, your enthusiasm and joy is inspiring. I only found out about the Arcanum a couple of weeks ago and, as I have been going through one of those “I can’t shoot worth shit” months, I had pretty much given up on photography. Thankfully, the spark has returned, and you have been one of the inspiring factors for which I thank you.

  4. You have inspired me, I am ready to take up the challenge and look forward to creating works of art that are visually pleasing to me. I have so much to learn and maybe a little to share, but will enjoy the process of learning and sharing with my peers and becoming part of a community of like minded people.

    Diane Walker

  5. The pleasure of seeing your pleasure is only slightly blunted that I am still awaiting my selection as a cohort, ;))
    would love to be an early adopter but at this stage can only wait to be selected. Please keep up your reports as it will help keep my fire alive

    1. I hear you, Guy! I wonder sometimes if I should say ANYthing, because I know lots of people are waiting. But in the spirit of learning, sharing – and sharing the learning – I’m talking about the process. It’s so new! There are lots of tweaks and adjustments as we do this for the first time.. the good news is that by the time you’re in there, the machine will be purring like a cat!

  6. Karen, thank you for the wonderful two day post. Your insights are truly thought provoking. I have never been a teacher, nor will I ever be, but to see someone see the light is a wonderful moment. Thanks again.

    Murray Parker

    1. Thank you for taking the time to write and tell me that, Murray! Not everyone can relate to these sorts of things… it makes my heart sing to discover the ones who do. 😀

  7. A beautiful mind will produce beautiful results. And to say the least, yours is a beautiful mind! Thank you for your wisdom and your inner “speak”, as they both produce true art from the heart.

Comments are closed.