With our current Lunar cycle starting in the sign of Taurus is a great time to be looking at the Tarot cards aligned with this astrological sign to see what wisdom they hold for us. For the Major Arcana Taurus aligns with the 5th card known as The Hierophant, the Teacher, Keeper of Tradition and Grand Initiator into Wisdom.
The Hierophant is also entitled the Magus of the Eternal, he sits enthroned and emblazoned with the symbols of his Power. Holding his hand in a sign of benediction he is representative of Religions of all kinds, particularly in their traditional forms. His wisdom is communicated to the seeker via words & signs, his transformative powers are bestowed upon the Seeker through the secret keys of allegory, tale & symbolism. By these means he awakens not only knowledge of tradition and ones place in society but also opens the way for one to begin to seek one’s own deeper spiritual knowledge of self.
Another side to The Hierophant is as a representative of power and authority, prompting us to consider our responses to these structures in our own society. We can each pause to examine what are our attitudes to structures that have traditionally upheld our society such as church and state, morality and duty? In the face of corrupt governments, the fall of the pillars of the Church in the face of child sex allegations, the exclusion of Women from positions of papal Power and the continued condemnation of homosexuality, the traditional place of the Hierophant has become decadent & despicable causing many to turn away from Traditional religions to embrace spirituality.
In our post-modern world we are often faced up the shadow or reversal of this card not only in our social structures but in the acts of those who occupy positions of political power the new gospel of perpetual economic expansion. We are faced with those who seek to monopolize knowledge & information, to be the sole gatekeepers, who stand on the self-sanctified pulpits of expertise, proselytizing their own version of infallible truth, seeking to mould & cultishly convert their voters in their own sacrilegious images of moral virtue. Perhaps the Hierophant may lead us to consider over the coming month; what is the appropriate response to power structures that have become warped, that serve the few rather than the good of the many. Do you comply, do you resist or do you rebel?
The Shadow or reversed side the Hierophant can be turned upright again if we remember the true keys to his power. Allegory, symbols and signs, these keys have a tendency to subvert or at the very least stretch formulaic language that has become rigid, fixed and strongly defined as people claim their own versions of the true as the right. True Knowledge and power cannot be conferred by words alone, only discovered through inner contemplation that is stimulated by the power of symbols, images, tales and stories. The works of the poets that form the celestial bridge between consciousness, religious sages who speak in riddles can connect us back to the true nature of the Hieorphant as the Magus of the Eternal. When we connect with the Hierophant through his symbols of the gate and the keys we are reminded of that knowledge is not communicable by word but is an experiential process that the early Christians called Gnosis.
Another way of restoring the Hierophant is to turn away from external forms of religious authority altogether and understand the Self as ones ultimate spiritual & moral authority. This requires one to examine their personal beliefs in all arenas of life with patience & choose to either hold them, refine them or abandon it altogether. Perhaps this is the true prompting of the Hierophant needed for us at this time, not a spiritual education or the transmission of social mores but rather an encouragement to constantly ask ourselves what do I believe here? What underpins these beliefs and values? Do these values serve me & the greater good of those with whom I form communal relationships? In this act of self appraisal & introspection we may find the way to the shrine of self-knowledge, the keys to gnosis.
*Image Credit The Hierophant Thoth Tarot US Games systems