Thursday, 26 April 2012

the truth is out there

The Hierophant is one card on which a great many Tarot guidebooks shed little clarity, in my opinion. I've always had difficulty translating the definitions offered in these books into something digestible and useful for a querent looking for advice on a love match, for example. Yes, I know there are connotations of secret society, hierarchy and officialdom in this card, but how does that kind of imagery manifest itself into something helpful and relevant for a querent seeking advice based around personal problems and fraught emotions? I'll admit to being lazy when it comes to my understanding of The Hierophant. I've been meaning to dedicate some time to intensive study, taking a particular interest in what other experienced readers have to say about the meaning of this very tricky card. However, because it's one of those key cards in the deck that seem to 'bug' me, I've let my shortcomings on this score slide for way too long and now, facing myself with the task of writing about the damn thing, I'm like a worm on the end of a hook!

Well, I'll give you what I've got. The Hierophant is about tradition and power structure. It's also about being initiated into some form of higher learning where asking profound questions and seeking illuminating answers becomes less of a secretive or occasional act and more in keeping with the daily business of life. I also see the figure of The Hierophant as the kind of guy who kept The Emperor down before he made his big break for freedom. Now, that's not to say that The Hierophant is the bad guy here, but purely that if you want to play his game and gain acceptance in his world you'd better learn how to play by his rules. Be prepared to be humble. Be prepared to play the role of student. Be dedicated, be serious and offer your commitment with open hands. Traditional values and principles are always at work under this influence. This isn't just about 'falling in line'. It's also about working on something for the greater good, being selfless, doing charitable things and trying to see how the different parts of a system come together to create a 'whole'. This card can sometimes heavily reflect on the querent's desire to know the truth and to be able to see a situation for what it is, unimpeded by contrasting points of view or biased information. It represents a mission to dig deeper and find out more.

You're either teaching or being taught under this influence. I often feel that if The Hierophant appears in the reversed position it could point towards a defiance against accepted values and norms. It could be a sign of rebellion or secret resentment of assumed control by someone over your thoughts or actions. There could be a desire to break away but it could be something the querent's wrestling with, unsure if they really want to go it alone or stay under the instruction of the teacher and learn more in order to enjoy the fruits of achievement in the long run.  This battle of wills should eventually settle itself when the querent ultimately makes up their mind on what's most important for them.

So, there you have it. The definition of The Hierophant according to an experienced reader who admits to still having a lot of difficulty with it! I'll be exploring this card more in the coming months, particularly with regard to what it means when it appears to answer certain queries. Wish me luck!