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HeierophantImage

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
Disruption that
Spawns new
Direction.

I sit within the
Place of anchor
And all that flows from
My discourse will
Take root.

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
Ever open.

Where will you find
The courage to
Pass through?

Keywords:

WISDOM
SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP
SKILL
DISCERNMENT
SELF KNOWLEDGE

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.

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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.

Sheld of Focus.jpeg

Lower Row:
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.

Middle Row:
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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This poem is an excerpt from the final installment of a Three Round working with the Triple Goddess Hecate.  Enjoy!

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I wait for you at the
Dark waning of the Moon.

I wait at the crossroads
And, my silence reaches
Out to draw you back to me.

I have called to you as
The Maiden who knows
The power of her desire.

I have held out loving arms
To enfold you as only a
Mother can do to comfort
The child that has strayed.

And, now I wait in the power
Of age and wisdom that
Has seen all and can see
The truth or dishonesty that
Spills forth from seeking lips.

I am cloaked in the darkness
But those who have the
Courage to come to me
See the truth of my hidden
Light that burns brightly
With the lantern of time’s
Ancient mystery.

 

Read More at Womb of Light

 

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Throughout multiple systems you will find groups of three as dynamics of change and definition. These groupings of three are present in Astrology, Pagan Deity and Pantheons, Lunations and Solar Cycles, as markers of Time, Esoteric and Energetic Anatomy, Color Scale and more. The measure of each component of this three is generally one of minimal to maximum, each expanding upon the other and serving as bridge of transition.

The number Three itself conjures up the geometric symbol of the triangle. Each side supported by the other creating a space of base line and point arising from each of those ends. This allows for the multiple nature of the number three, given that there are within that shape the potential for 3 different base lines and three different points. Three is the result or product of interaction between two other forces. We begin with the singular 1- which seeks another to interact with resulting in 2. The 2- seek to create beyond their duality and the third is born, holding within its energy the sum total of both of its sources now coalesced and transformed to become a third force. It is this same action of creation that is present in the multiple forms this triplicity takes. I think of it as three phases of development; that of testing, tempering and ultimately transforming.

Testing              Tempering Transforming
Maiden Mother Crone
Youth Father Sage
Past Present Future
Cardinal Fixed Mutable
Dawn Noon Dusk
New Moon Full Moon Waning Moon

 

Testing

The Testing phase is that of trial and error. It is the place of beginnings that are not necessarily overt in the expertise that is recognized (note that I said recognized, not drawn upon). In the listings of triplicity that I presented, this is the spark of the Maiden and the Youth. Bursting to the brim with great expectations, boldness of execution and a catalytic flow that is fully opened and ready to make its mark towards change.

In the scheme of Time, it is the Past that propels us towards the present and ultimately into the future. It is the past to which we retreat when life offers an unfair curve or unexpected change that unsettles and disrupts our balance. We use the past as barometer of our worth as we seek the lineage and ancestral ties that we wish to claim as our own. And, as history has proven, the lessons learned within the past are not always heeded in the desire and enthusiasm to move forwards.

Within the discipline of Astrology, we see the testing principal play out in the form of its Cardinal Modality. This is the modality that offers the potential for whatever elemental correspondence its acts upon. Cardinal Earth is the turning over of the fertile ground to expose what potentially will come to fruition. Cardinal Air is that first breath of inspiration that hopes to take root in the intellect so it may become a manifest creation. Cardinal Fire is the first spark that must be carefully tended lest it be extinguished or spread uncontrolled leaving destruction in its wake. And, Cardinal Water provides the first stirrings of emotion so that desire may be set into motion and applied to a will that is just testing its mettle.

Perhaps, the most well- known triplicity is that of the lunar and solar cycles. We see the steady progression that the sun takes in any given day moving through its course and are held in the ebb and flow of the lunar cycles that flow through the monthly cycle. Dawn is the testing phase of the daily solar cycle. These are the moments of first light and the emergence from the darkness of the night. We are challenged with each Dawn to make the waking hours of the day productive. It is the point of testing our determination to stay the course and stand in awe at the beginning of each day seeing it as another opportunity to be more fully human bathed in the light of strength and power that also rises within us in synchronicity. The lunar cycle is that of the New Moon. The light not visible and the testing being that of trust that although you are unable to see the Moon in her glorious orb, she is there nonetheless and waiting for what inspiration and creative working you will ask her to join you in.

In the pattern of the Three this phase is the crucial starting point. And, if its withstands the test of all the filters, obstructions and false starts that serve to strengthen the resolve of natural flow of progression it gathers to itself all of the necessary tools that will support its expansion into the space of tempering.

Tempering

I have purposefully used the word temper here despite the appearance of contradiction in definition of the word. To Temper by definition is to:

• To soften something
• Strengthen material
• Harden metal
• Tune (early keyboard instrument)

The energy in this mid space is one of refining and continuing what was begun. Here we find the Mother and Father aspects of the Goddess and God. There is the need to bring to harmony the impetuous energy of the Maiden and Youth and space of initial impulse. Youthful exuberance has given way to stability and firmer resolve. The task of this more mature role is that of softening those rough edges and strengthening what is viable. Nurturing and offering guidance are the responsibilities taken on as the dreams and aspirations that preceded it are brought to a state of fullness of expression.

When we speak of Time, the Present is held in the place of tempering. It is the present that holds us fast in its grasp and it is the present to which we always return after our wanderings down memory lane or anticipatory visions of what our future lives may hold. We learn to soften our expectations and harden our resolve as we know that age and time continue in their cycle no matter how we wish it to remain still and often what we believed to be wrought in stone has scattered like paper on the winds of change.

Astrologically, the Fixed Modality wields the force of tempering. Fixed Earth becomes the immovable mountain that offers up its rigidity to bolster and support as its cradles in the softness of her body. Fixed Air becomes the space of pause and refining the great thoughts and inspirations that want to pass through unnoticed. They are drawn into the eye of the storm where each can be calmly scrutinized and assessed of their staying power. Fixed Fire is the tempering of the will, hardening it to withstand the pressures of misdirected desire and softening it to be receptive and pliable in receiving the wisdom of the Higher Self. Fixed Water finely tunes our Soul so we may easily move into the depths of our own pain and suffering and emerge strengthened and in harmony with both our weaknesses and our strengths. This is the action of receipt and release, the ebb and flow of the waters and the comfort it provides like the gentle rocking of the waters of the great mother’s womb.

The phase of tempering within the solar cycle is one of the heat and relentless downpour of the noon-day sun. All is illuminated, with no space to hide the flaws that we perceive. The truth of our solar nature and the resonance within our bodies to this penetrating source is brought into attunement so that we may co-create the music of the cosmos. The lunation of Full Moon is the softening and breaking down of those barriers of reserve and doubt that we cling to. Our emotions are tempered by the loving touch of rays of pure light and energy that is expansive and contractive in its dynamics.

In the pattern of the Three, this phase of tempering and rendering more pliable and diverse in expression is the coalescing point. It brings in synthesis and harmonious balance those polarities that are brought into its cycle. It is the phase of standing perfectly poised and ready to accept the flow into transformation and change.

Transforming

The last phase of the Three is both the result and what will become the cause that catalyzes the triune anew. The test has proved the energy to be viable. The tempering has imparted all that is needed to insure its strength of purpose and now the deeper work of transformation is required. The Crone and the Sage are the Deity that hold this transformative power. Their expression is one that has been honed through experience trial and error. They are the end product of that can only be brought forward through the work of willing sacrifice and the knowledge that surrender is the path of return. In the never ending cycle, it is the Crone and Sage who will transform into rebirth as the Maiden and Youth.

This is the phase of Future Time; always just one pace ahead and always knowing the outcome before the query has been made. The bridge of transition at this place of time is in the knowledge that what is the future is also the past and the present simultaneously, each replacing the other, each switching dynamics and place in a dance of complexity and grace. For it is always the future that gives birth to what will eventually become the past.

Astrologically, the Mutable modality is the transforming dynamic. It is this energy that stretches and expands, reaching beyond itself and then recoiling back to dip deeply into its source. Mutable Earth is the adaptability to change, reorder and draw upon all the resources available to craft a new form of expression. Mutable Air weaves the intricate patterns of complex mind and breathes out the answers to all who will listen and understand its intent. Mutable Fire spreads far and wide as it reshapes all in its path. It is vibrant and potent in its flame and its desire to connect and transmute. And, Mutable Water carries the weight of the lands and its creatures in its belly offering solace and healing to all who would venture into its waters.

The Solar cycle is one of the soothing of a sunset, spilling forth colorful and radiant yet gentle in its heat offering reminder that even those who shine the brightest must at times dim their luster so all may witness the Sun’s beauty. The Lunar cycle is one of waning light and movement back into those dark waters to retrieve the pearls that have been buried far beneath the surface. The excavating is done in trust that what is revealed will inform and enliven in a way that will carry the seeker gently on moving waters to a place of new birth and new form.

The Third phase is both endings and beginnings. For what has been transformed is not what was before. It is new. It is rebirth, and it is growth. If we moved through this cycle again, bringing forward all that we know if the first three, the power of the number six is revealed. It is the rebirthing of all of the work accomplished at the first level. It is the harmonious interaction between what was and what is becoming. And, if we take this one more step we arrive at the potential of the number nine. Three sets of triune cycle. Three levels of testing, tempering and transformation. Nine gates of opening and the number of initiation, endings, thresholds and renewal.

So, the next time you see the number three or one of its multiples, think about the many ways in which that simple number can impart its own wisdom and open your understanding to triune cycles as they flow through the magick that is our life’s work.

Note:  This is the beginning of a series of essays looking at each of the aforementioned phases. 

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Six-Mysteries-of-Our-Solar-System-2
As pagans, we are continually reminded of and work with the energies and mysteries of the Moon. We have ritual, offer devotion and live in the light and through the cycles of Her many phases. By contrast, the Solar Mysteries are generally continued within the Sabbats and the occasional working that requires the assistance of a solar deity. Doing work that will deepen and strengthen our connection to both of these cycles establishes a point of balance that is informed by the strengths of each and the interweaving of their subtleties to produce work that is synthesized and illumined by light and dark.

There are many attributions that are given to the Sun. in magickal work, we think of the sun’s energies in the forms it takes as the solar deities we work with, the heat and light the sun provides at a physical and manifest level and the impact of the solar meridians and chakra on our subtle energetic anatomy. As the polarity to the feminine intuitive and healing Lunar qualities, we see the power of the Sun as the masculine strength that is woven through folklore, mythology and the vastness of the varied and diverse spiritual streams.

These are just a few of the ways we make connection with the archetypes of the Sun. Regardless of what form these solar energies take, the underpinning keys that hold true are those of strengthening, enlivening and ultimately transforming anything held in its power. There is, as well, the timely caution to not stray too close to the full potency of the light of the sun lest it burn the fragile skin we are contained within. In counter to that we also carry the lessons of the Phoenix, whose sole (soul) work is that of the destruction of itself, reduction to the refined essence of its components and the rising up from the ash of flesh and bone to be reborn anew. Let’s take a closer look at some of these vehicles of change.

In ritual and magickal or devotional work we call to the Deities that will best inform and serve what we hope to manifest. The solar deities are those who are called forth to enliven, strengthen and ignite change in a very specific and transmutive way. The Egyptian Solar God, RA reigned supreme and took many forms, including that of the rising and setting of the physical Sun, the sustainer of all life. Each aspect held the key to another level of transformation that those who followed the energy of his Solar flame could hope to lay claim to. The Celtic Goddess, Brighid as a solar deity was keeper of the sacred triple flame and ignited the creative spark in her seekers. Her blade was one of healing that cauterized that which had been excised. She was mistress of the Forge and as such applied the heat of her action to temper the malleable steel of our form and bathed it in the soothing waters too cool and set what had been crafted. The Greek God, Helios was considered to be the Sun itself, traveling much like RA through the day lit sky in a chariot drawn by fire breathing horses. These are the Gods/desses that light the way and blaze the path towards transformation. In ceremonial work, the Liber Resh Vel Helios was written for members of Aleister Crowley’s Order to be performed four times daily as devotional and adoration of the Sun. Its intent was that of focus of the mental process from a heliocentric view, greater connection to the energies of the sun and attunement to The Great Work.

At the level of spiritual evolution and transformation of the energetic bodies it is the solar connection that assists in the building of a Light enlivened physical or manifest body. This energy is gifted through the Etheric body via the vital force gathered from the sun. This energy of the sun presents in three streams of force:

• The Fohat, which is the physical manifestation of electricity and the electromagnetic state. This form of solar energy directly impacts the neurological systems of the body that, in turn stimulate and open the pathways of communication, both at physical and spiritual levels.

• The flow of Prana, which provides a state of vitality to the body and is the penultimate and primary life force that transforms the fluids of the body.

• The Kundalini or serpent Fire that transmutes, refines and quickens the impact of the Endocrine System. It is the union of the solar and lunar pathways working each in accord and in friction with the other that sends the life force upwards to nourish and flow through the pathways of the 7-Stars (aka: the glands/organs of the Endocrine system)

In energetic practice, it is the action of calling upon the accumulated Fohat, that serves to enliven the individual’s Prana that can then in turn be used to raise and quicken the Serpent Fires of the Kundalini. As this polarized flow of energy of both the lunar and solar currents is pulled up into the crown center, it bathes the pineal glands in its milky elixir and acts as interface to opening to cosmic and expanded consciousness.

At the level of the Chakras- the vortices of energy that draw in and emit the refined spiritual light, the Sun is associated with the Solar Plexus. This chakra is the core center of our inner sun or seat of great power. It is within the solar plexus that awareness of the raising of energy is first noticed. It sits at the center of gravitational balance, keeping us strong and secure in our footing as we move forward. And, it is this chakra that acts to energize and strengthen our actions and fires of will. If engaged fully it is the opener of the heart center of compassion and works in conjunction with the throat center so that will, heart and mind are expressed in an effective manner.

In the overlay of the system of the Qabalah, the sun stands as the central sephira (sphere) of the Tree of Life as Tiphareth. This is the place of sacrifice and reassembling from the wisdom of the inpouring of the other spheres of connection that enter and pass through Tiphraeth. It is the sphere of Beauty, the beauty being held in the synthesis and transmutation by application of the solar principle. On ascending the Tree towards the Godhead of Kether (The Limitless All) the next sphere of connection is Geburah on the Pillar of Might. The heat of the sun is now aligned with the cauterizing blade of the surgeon that cleaves to heal. In descent towards the manifest realm of Malkuth (Foundation) Tiphareth pours into Netzach on the Pillar of Mercy, the fires of refinement. The Solar Principle is gathered here as the soon to be manifest form is fired in the kiln’s of selective balance and desire to create. And on the Middle Pillar of the Tree Tiphareth reaches up through knowledge (Da’At) and the resultant self-awareness to return to the formless source of Kether. On return circuit, the solar energy of Tiphareth reaches down into the sphere of Yesod, affecting discernment and exerting will that is devoid of illusion and misdirection as it is brought into the physical world.

Astronomically, at the time of the Solstices and the Equinoxes we are offered the dynamics of bringing a state of balance between the polarities of sun and moon; night and day. The solstices herald the dominance of one over the other, still being ever mindful of the need for each to maintain this cycle of excess and release. The equinoxes provide a dynamic of seeing solar (day) and lunar (night) in harmonious balance, each providing the pause of equilateral tension as the movement into waxing or waning begins anew.

There are as many ways to attune to this cycle as there are the overlays and characteristics that comprise it. I routinely use these energies in my daily spiritual practice. This may take the form of simply sitting outside at lunchtime and calling into myself the spiritual (Prana) and physical (Fohat) energy of the Sun. I breathe in the rays of the sun, pulling them into the Solar Plexus and then exhaling them into distribution throughout my body. I envision this process radiating out ad into all of my subtle bodies. I have used crystals to hold the specific energy of the sun for later use in ritual work calling upon a Solar Deity’s assistance in quickening the start of a new project. This is particularly effective during a solar eclipse; bringing together a sphere that has been charged with the building lunar energies and another holding the energies of the solar cycle. This eclipse only occurs when the moon is in its New Phase, and is signified by the passing of the moon between the earth and the Sun. I can call upon this combination of energy to create the pathway of the Sun strengthening the heart’s desire (The Moon) as it aligns with the manifest plane of earth.

A few years ago, our Coven embarked on a deepening of our understanding and use of the solar mysteries in a year-long plan. We used as our foundation the Egyptian Pantheon and the cycle of RA and the movement of the Solar Barque (Solar Boat) across the sky through specially crafted rituals. We honored Khepra-Ra at the Vernal Equinox as keeper of the Dawn and new beginnings. We invoked Amum-RA at the Summer Solstice as quickener and peak solar force of noon. The Autumnal Equinox held the energy of RA-Atum in the solar form of Dusk and the setting of the sun to rest and integrate what had been enlivened. And, we entered the Du’at at Samhain in preparation for the calling forth of the Midnight Sun at the time of the Winter Solstice. The products of this work were an uplifting of the foundations we had laid towards a better understanding of the primal nature of the solar energies and their impact in all of our workings.

I have included below an invocation that I wrote that was used at the start of the Solar Mysteries cycle. If you are so inclined, feel free to use this as an opening to the Gateway of an energy that is potent in its outpouring and serves to inform and illuminate all aspects of our being. In Solar Light!

Hymn to RA

All Hail to Thee, Mighty RA
Blaze of noon day sun.

Your fiery orb high in the
Sky above as we kneel
Beneath the heat of
Your radiance.

All the Gods bow to your radiance
All the Goddesses sing hymns of praise
To Your glory
And man, lays prostrate in humility
And devotion at the altar of
Your making.

Sweet music of adoration and offerings
Brought forth from the Black Land
Rise up in praise and thanks for
Your Sustaining Light.

All darkness flees at the touch of Your hand
All ceases its movement as You
Stretch across the sky
The lotus opens to receive Your Touch
And the sands glisten as rare jewels
As You gaze upon each grain

All Hail to Thee, Amun-RA
All Hail to Thee, Who sits high above the world

Khepra in the East
Atum in the West
Whose eye holds the point of Life
Trifold Arc of Power.

Your eyes see all and
You are the place of return
Within the Midnight Sun

All Hail to Thee
All Hail to Thee
Amun, Amun, Amen!

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