Friday, 8 August 2014

The Dude in the Pointy Hat

The Hierophant isn't always welcomed by some when he turns up in a draw. I can see why there is some resistance to institutions and hierarchies, especially where spirituality is concerned. In our time, many readers have come to associate this card with the negative aspects of organised religion, social mores and conventional thinking. It's true, the Hierophant can represent all these things, and the image of the Pope does trigger this in some poeople (though of course not all).

However, it is also true that the Pope (the original name for Hierophant, and one I often use because it's shorter and, well, it's the original name) stands for positive things, like a true spiritual leader or a teacher or mentor. That is why many decks change the name to Teacher, High Priest, or Guide. Apparently the word 'hierophant' comes from two Greek words: 'hiera' (holy) and 'phainein' (place), so it means one who brings into the place of the holy. In other words, a spiritual teacher or guide. Now, some tarot deck creators have changed with the zeitgeist a bit and assert that the only true guide is the inner guide, so they change their decks to reflect that. I personally think there is a place in our lives for learning from teachers, mystics and gurus, and their words are worth listening to. So for me, there is always going to be a place for the traditional Hierophant (though not necessarily organised religion!).

I use tarot cards as part of my personal spiritual practice, and I also use Sanskrit mantras in my meditations. It was natural for me to combine the two. The mantra I use for the Hierophant is:

Om maha jagadguru namaha

This means 'Om and salutations to the great world teachers'. To me, the Hierophant is the Jagadguru of the tarot, as well as inner spiritual knowledge, and even those shadowier aspects such as organised religion, dogma, institutions and social conventions associated with morality. 

What does the Hierophant mean to you? 

What role does spirituality play in your life? Social expectations? Conventional behaviour? Today's card invites you to ponder these things.



9 comments:

  1. I associate the Hierophant with the Catholic Church. Since I was raised Catholic I have a whole host of positive and negative associations with that. On the one hand: yes a teacher. Many values I still hold dear and also a certain mystical truth as well I learned from the Church. I have respect and gratitude for what the Church taught me and for what it has provided the world throughout history. On the other hand: limitations and rules etc the Church acts as an intermediary and I have a desire for direct experience without an intermediary (Gnosticism - which is verboten by the Church). Also: there are many paths outside the Church which aren't acceptable to the Hierophant. There are many teachers and each one seems to think he or she is the only one! LOL but there's something to be said for doing things systematically and in a certain order. There's something to be said for following the paths set forth by one's ancestors. There's something to be said for the guidance and protection of a teacher. But in following a teacher you are also at risk of following false doctrine and hypocrisy and abuse of power. You are also vulnerable to be "lambs led to the slaughter" like the poor alter boys who've been molested. So teachers can be useful... To a point. But I personally wouldn't surrender my own inner GPS. Just sayin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose to me the 'jagadguru' would be the true greats -- Buddha, Jesus are my personal jagadgurus. I would add Patanjali, Krishnamurti and Eckhart Tolle as lesser teachers. (for me). :)

      Delete
  2. Where The Hierophant looks more religious is where I may think more about doctrines etc. But there are many times when we (well me anyway) need advice or strength from someone who knows more than us and can support and advise. I like to think of him/her in that way.

    I once read that The Hierophant is like a deputy head master - he has all the responsibility and none of the fun!

    Thank you for your kind words on my blog :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think so, too. Sometimes we need to turn to those who actually do know better, like doctors or lawyers.

      Delete
  3. I've had a few run-ins with the Hierophant, not being a great fan of authority. Yet, I appreciate many teachers, and seeing him in that light is a good way to see the positive side. Perhaps I shall chant that mantra for a bit to connect with that sense of gratitude to the teachers who have most touched my life... :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Carla! Great post. Thanks for sharing the mantra, too; I'll definitely give that one a whirl on the old Malas! I tend to encounter the Hierophant in the context of relationship readings. He often represents someone whom the client works with or met in a work/service related capacity. As his 5 symbolises versatility, instability and communication, expressed through this archetype I often encounter this energy as someone who wants to merge romantically but is holding back for whatever reason - perhaps shyness, traditional/conventional courtship rituals, or restrictions placed upon them by the group ideology, e.g work colleagues contractually forbidden to become involved.

    It is always fascinating to read how other people perceive and interpret the Hierophant. To me, he is one of the most elusive Majors. I am also not involved in organised religion, so perhaps it is nothing more than feelings of disconnectedness from this particular archetype, an unfamiliarity we experience more acutely than with more accessible archetypes, such as the Lovers, Magician or even the Devil.

    P.S I re-posted this because I addressed you as 'Rowan', not Carla! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's an interesting take, the person holding back romantically. I've not seen that one before. :)

      Delete

Share your wisdom, please! Comments welcome.