Image: Rider-Waite Tarot
What do you hold sacred and
Who are your Gods?
You stand before me and
Hope that I will show you
The way of return.
I am wisdom and the hidden knowledge
Gained from effort and sacrifice.
I have achieved the balance
Of foundation and
Now may be the
I sit within the
Place of anchor
And all that flows from
My discourse will
The mystery is how
To initiate that seed of
Root and the form it may take
For that is your path
Only to reveal.
The halls of knowledge are
Where will you find
The courage to
The Hierophant sits upon a throne of sorts, the Pillars of Polarity to his right and left. He is the Middle Pillar of balance, union of polarities and guardian of the Supernal wisdom. This card is one of my favorite cards in the Major Arcana. Looking at the card gives a sense of peace, as well as a call to action of the highest aspiration. I see this card as a call to “service”. What form and who that service impacts are exerted by the choice of free will and where you have chosen to give your attention and focus.
The Hierophant appears as the quintessential spiritual advisor, bestower of Divine blessing, master of ageless wisdom and beneficent authority. Saying all that often brings a feeling of security in the knowledge that a higher authority – other than our human selves – exists and to whom we may placidly entrust the guiding of our spiritual growth.
Image: The Alchemical Tarot (Rosemary Guiley)
I particularly like the image of the Hierophant represented in the Alchemical Tarot Deck. The balance of lunar and solar, feminine and masculine energies seen through the arch of window. When we think of a window we imagine a space to see out from and a haven of sanctuary to stand as observer and perhaps go unobserved. I think of this depiction as the natural tendency we have to see these energies of the Moon and the Sun as something apart from ourselves and that we look at longingly through whatever safe haven we have ensconced ourselves within. The Hierophant being the bridge or point of interface between the two, holding open the book of knowledge that will enable us to recognize our place within these two states of being.
The statues of male and female at the left and right hand of the Hierophant are smaller in size and are reminder that our physical form is only a small piece of the greater mystery. That we too may sit in the place of the Hierophant as we draw into our core (the middle pillar) all aspects of our true nature, moon, sun and cosmos; male, female and manifestation and rise as guardian of our Higher Self as the Hierophant looms large in the place of center.
All of the aforementioned is true; but another part of the Mystery (definition of: a spiritual reality that transcends normal reasoning) lies in the Key number of the card – #5- the number of rebellion, change and disruption of the status quo to move us beyond the false security of an earthly foundation. Five is the occurrence of the stability of equilateral Four opening up and reaching out towards the unknown. The foundations laid in the structure and order of a four-sided figure (square) are now being tested and stretched to their limits. This is the primary principle of nature abhorring a vacuum or inertia. If we remain too long in the comfort of everything being the same, we become stagnant and dis-eased. Nature steps in and causes illness and discontent (the number Five) stirring the call to action that will ultimately bring us to a place of transformation.
If we combine this information with the other attributes of the card, we realize that the lesson of this card is that with every embracing of and opening to higher levels of understanding and spirituality there will also be the necessary resultant disruption of the security felt by simply remaining where we are. By seeking the strength contained within the Emperor- who appears more than a man- but, still a man grounded in the physical reality- we can experience the Self-Knowledge and spiritual security of the Hierophant.
Wherever this card falls in a spread, expect, changes and the need to take a closer look at those things we consider the foundation and pillars of our Spiritual Path. The number Five is also the number of sides on a shield – four sides of the square and the point of a triangle. With the Wisdom of the Hierophant, we may deflect from ourselves what would harm, gather the energy into its space of security and then turn the focus of that shield’s point of light and Divine Wisdom to illuminate our way along the Path.
The Shield of Focus Spread (rcf)
I seek the highest Spiritual Truth
For my guidance and inspiration.
I seek to unify the inner world of Spiritual Illumination
And the outer world of personal experience.
I seek to walk in the Light
Remove The Hierophant Card from the Deck and place it centrally in the position of the anchor, face up. Focus your query and intent in a meditative way directed towards The Hierophant key. Lay 4 more cards face down in a semi circle in the order presented below:
This spread takes on the form of a shield. Four sides create the foundation upon which we hold and direct the energies we wish to direct in a focused and refined manner through a singular tip of expression. The Hierophant sits in the center as hidden anchor. His energy is felt at a deep level of internalization rather than in an overt and obvious manner. There are many cross paths contained within this spread that await your revealing.
1. Action- This is the place of first steps. What is indicated here shows where movement needs to be made.
2. Restraint- This is the place of what needs holding back, and where there is needed a pause and taking a breath before moving forward.
3. Information- Information about the situation that is not on the surface. This is what needs to be retrieved so that the action required may hold greater choice and potential for outcome.
4. Protection- This is the place of safeguarding and may give indication of those things not quite ready to be revealed or acted upon.
5. The Point of Focus:
This card indicates the place of releasing the appropriate course of combined action and information having been processed through the filters of restraint and protection. This is the synthesis of those cards that form the base or foundation. This is the point where those efforts and indicators for change and action may now be released in a synthesized stream for the most effective use.
This posting is a Sneak Peek at:
The Inner Chamber: Volume Four
A Walk Through the Major Arcana
By Robin Fennelly
Release Date: Fall 2014
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