Notes on The Hierophant (Wisdom Passed)
Four Pillars Society Tarot by Gary Rosenberg (GAR) and Nyxsaurius Fallsong
The Hierophant, in many tarot decks and for many tarot readers gets a bad rap. As the Empress can often represent the mother or the maternal and the Emperor represents the father, the Hierophant represents our teachers, the ones who lead us into knowledge. This knowledge may be secular or spiritual, but in theory, the knowledge we will need to undergo initiation and advancement into adulthood and the society in which one finds oneself.
It is essential to learn the rules of any system that we get involved in, if only so that later we can understand the ways around the rules, as we stretch the boundaries of our ignorance further. This is true whether it be the hierarchical laws of our society or work environment or more esoteric rules of spiritual development in whatever path that we choose or that chooses us. The keys that the older spider is handing out to his younger acolytes are the keys of knowledge and wisdom. After all, you really can’t teach anyone anything. All you can do is hand them the keys and hope that they learn as they go, if not from you, then from each initiation that life brings them. No matter how painful it may be.
About the Archetype:
In Ancient Greece, the Hierophant presided over the Eleusinian Mysteries, the rites that initiated one into the cult of Demeter. In the Tarot, he represents that ritualistic initiation into the outer order of both religion and society. This can typically be seen today in ceremonies such as First Communions, Bar Mitzvahs, or graduation ceremonies. Less typically but perhaps more powerfully it can be found in the initiation ceremonies of groups such as the Masons, Golden Dawn, O.T.O. In any of these initiations, there must first come a time of training and education into the spiritual tradition that one is seeking to enter. The Hierophant can also be seen as the religious leader of the community. Where the Emperor rules the temporal concern of his subjects, the Priest or Pope is the spiritual leader. He (traditionally) can be seen as the conduit of a higher level of vibration that can be attained. In more recent times many have seen less of a need to have an outer intermediary and many have chosen either method of direct contact with a spiritual source or making contact with an internal ‘guru’.
Whether external or internal, the Hierophant is a connector of our outer selves with our higher spiritual nature.
This is represented by the silver and gold keys which usually are shown crossing somewhere on the card. The initiations themselves help break us out of the lives we have lived up to this point and open us up to a deeper experience. Many times this is not felt when the initiation takes place but afterwards as that higher vibration makes itself known in our lives.
Taurus(♉︎) – The Taurus influence is one of enjoyment of that attained. The bull will plod along workmanlike in pursuit of his goals but afterwards will revel in the food and comfort that comes as a reward. The energy is a stubborn fixed one that can easily become dogmatic. Taurus is a sign of harmony (its planetary ruler Venus) and this extends to all areas be it romance, spirit, or environment. It is eminently practical and will follow all the steps necessary to get them to their goal.
In a Reading:
When the Hierophant shows up in a reading it may be time to ask what authority the querent is accepting rather than their own inner guidance.? Are they looking to a spiritual leader for answers and are they questioning the answers they receive? It may also indicate that they are following a traditional path in their lives rather than trying to think outside the box. This is not necessarily a negative thing because there is much wisdom to be found there as long as one does not become dogmatic, accepting without question someone else’s interpretation of truth. There are many times when it is necessary to challenge the status quo and this is probably not one of them. The Hierophant coming up may also mean that there is someone in the querent’s environment who is very fixed on how things have always been done and is intolerant of finding new ways to do it. The card may also show that some form of traditional transition is coming up such as a graduation, promotion, or wedding. The Hierophant may also represent a teacher or course of study that the querent is following.
The Hierophant reversed or badly aspected, may mean that it is becoming increasingly difficult and restrictive to stay within the confines of accepted society. Perhaps there are too many rules either in the career, project, or course of study that the querent is following. It may also represent someone who is abusing their position of authority to tyrannize the people who are following it into doing things their way. The reversed Hierophant may also mean that the querent takes an unorthodox approach to life and finds it difficult to follow a more conventional way. Depending on the other cards in the reading, it may behoove them to at least learn their stuff before taking it in new directions.
Reality was formed and life was given, but what brought purpose? The fabric meticulously woven to connect all being would be used to comprise the Web of Fate. The Spider of Fate made the original essence of language and magick alike, Not many had the chance to witness this subtle process. Silently it would be stitched in the fabric of every being. So they could connect and initiate what the Spider of Fate would call his tapestry Fate’s Tapestry is an ever-changing body of energy that can pinpoint where he was needed to keep energy growing and break stagnation.
As you can see the Spider of Fate hands the keys to the future so that they can grow and make their own tapestry. What these keys are depends on what part you play. Are you an artist or an engineer? Do you make dreams or make their blueprints so that they can be passed to the next generation? So many questions can be asked as these young spiders ask their seniors about the future that is in their hands. We all hold different keys to the future. What will your key open? –