Here in Sydney, the days are getting warmer, presaging another scorching Australian summer.

For my friends in the Northern Hemisphere, your days would be growing shorter and colder as the night stretches around them.

, I’m writing this email under the golden rays of the afternoon sun, willing my words to radiate with warmth when it reaches you.

I may have named my newsletter after the moon, but I draw on the power of the sun in this email as a reminder of the duality within us and our need for balance.

I feel most attuned to the generous enlivening force of the sun when I’m teaching. Knowledge illuminates but it takes deliberate effort to project and sustain that light.

Early in my career, teaching burned me out. I felt bound to mainstream business curricula that promoted the ideals of imperialism, white supremacy, capitalism, and the cis-heteropatriarchy.

Textbooks in my subjects glorified the knowledge of white men, case studies celebrated labor exploitation, and theories impelled students to chase productivity, performance, and profit at all cost.

I knew that I could raise my energy if I aligned my teaching with my values, yet I was nervous about introducing social justice into the classroom.

My one tame attempt to discuss the gender wage gap led to a student evaluation survey response that complained: “lecturer has very biased opinions and tries to force feminism down our throats — there is no such thing as a gender wage gap!” These kinds of experiences daunted me from bringing my whole self into the classroom.

Original illustration from the Rider Waite tarot deck of The Sun as painted by Pamela Colman Smith.

In the tarot, the Sun is a delightfully bodacious card. A merry, naked child sits atop a gentle white horse. The child represents the joy of being connected with your inner spirit; their whole self joyfully bared to the world.

The Sun reminds us of our inner light. It dares us to be courageous and step into our vitality and strength. If you’re going through a difficult time, this card portends that things will get better; your inner light will guide your way, as it always has. Through the darkness, you’ll better understand who you are. The Sun calls on you to let your truest self shine through.

For teachers, guides, and elders, I recently shared two resources on Disorient to help you bring intersectional feminism into your pedagogical practice:

The first outlines five ways to establish a solid foundation for teaching, helping you develop the knowledge, sensitivity, and trust needed to have generative discussions about social justice.

The second shares my entire lesson plan on intersectionality theory to support your students to reflect on intersectional dynamics and structures in their lives. You can also download a copy of my lecture slides to adapt and use in your class.

So whether you’re tentatively beginning to introduce social justice into your teaching or you’ve been a scholar-activist for years, I hope this message reminds you of the fiery force within you ready to set the world aglow.

Let’s illuminate the darkness.

With light,
Helena

P.S. If you need to charge your energy, watch this radiant performance by Sampa The Great.

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