78 Weeks :The Hierophant

This week : The Hierophant

My Impressions:
Images and Symbolism:
My initial reaction to this card is that whatever it sets out to represent it has done so using the popular (rather than esoteric, more on that later) symbolism of the time: a Papal figure may have automatically said "compassion and mercy" when Waite set about creating the deck (see LWB content below), but to me, and maybe to many others nowadays it is far more an image of hierarchy (haha - I think the etymology of that word just wriggled free of my subconscious ;-) ) of staid, old-fashioned, inflexible aspects of organised religion. So with this deck that is always going to be an element for me, but I recognise that more is intended, so lets look closer.

The next thing that shouts at me is the presence of the followers/accolytes/students: the Hierophant is defined by their presence. Without them he is the one hand trying to clap, because his role is to be the vehicle through which the the divine is communicate to people. there was another Hierophant image from another deck I saw and commented on recently (if I re-find it I will link it here) where the figure was a kindly looking old scholar, a Sufi-like figure, with 2 children actively listening and taking notes as he taught in a much less formal setting - that was the first time I understood the interpretations of wisdom and advice and I now mentally overlay this image to help me.

So from among this I draw out the representation of the structure of authority (rather than the Emperor who was the head of that authority as an individual) The structure needs someone at the top and someone at the bottom in order for it to mean anything and for it to achieve anything - so here we acknowledge the important 2 aspects, perhaps represented by the crossed keys?

Upright: A spiritual authority figure (as opposed to the Emporer's "authority authority" figure), sound advice, wisdom, the connection to the divine.

Reversed: Trapped in tradition, stubborn, immune to good advice.

My take (what I make of it/what I might see in a reading where I drew it): A representation of a trusted advisor, a connection to higher things. (I'll admit I'm struggling with this one just yet - any comments appreciated here or on the 78 weeks thread)

From the LWB:

Upright: Marriage alliance, captivity, servitude, mercy and goodness, inspiration, the man to whom the Querent has recourse.

Reversed: Society, good understanding, concord, over-kindness, weakness.
From The Pictoral Key To the Tarot by A.E. Waite:

"He is the ruling power of external religion, as the High Priestess is the prevailing genius of the esoteric, withdrawn power. The proper meanings of this card have suffered woeful admixture from nearly all hands. Grand Orient says truly that the Hierophant is the power of the keys, exoteric orthodox doctrine, and the outer side of the life which leads to the doctrine; but he is certainly not the prince of occult doctrine, as another commentator has suggested."
"He is the order and the head of the recognized hierarchy, which is the reflection of another and greater hierarchic order; but it may so happen that the pontiff forgets the significance of this his symbolic state and acts as if he contained within his proper measures all that his sign signifies or his symbol seeks to shew forth. He is not, as it has been thought, philosophy-except on the theological side; he is not inspiration; and he is not religion, although he is a mode of its expression."

PDR : 2 Card Draw 7th Jan '10

This is the first in what I hope will be daily draws for the PDR. The spread is simply:

  1. The challenge or issue of the day
  2. What the challenge brings; the lesson or what must be done to overcome the challenge

And there is the 2 of Wands again from the other day. Then I said
the "Lord Of All I Survey" card for me : looking out over his dominion yet also contemplating the globe. It seems to reflect the situation - I have all I need (a brain, a deck and a world of learning resources) yet I seem unsatisfied. Longing to explore, dreaming of bigger and better things.
which I think is firming-up to be about real-world-choices. Logistics today meant I have had to choose between work and family.

And here's what it means to be new to this: you keep getting cards you know nothing about :) : 6 of Pentacles I'm going to have to look up. At first glance it looks to be about sharing - so underlining trying to balance time and attention between work and family, but looking at it longer I am drawn to the beggars: to get paid they have to prostrate themselves to their benefactor: swallow their pride and do something they would not normally choose to do.

If I didn't have to work to get paid (or if I prioritised differently in that area) I might not have to put myself in a position I'd rather not: maybe I'd have spent more time with my family. I'm going to think on this and may post a follow up in a day or 2. In the meantime if this sparks a thought please do comment - conversational learning seems to come so much easier :)

Walk, don't run

It's easy to get confused, distracted, over-excited when deving in to a new subject, so I was pleased to stumble across the following advice on this thread at the Aeclectic Tarot Forum. It suggests, among many other very sensible sounding things, that:
“Doing a daily draw of one or two cards a day is fine for yourself. I like a daily draw of two and only two cards. The first is the challenge or issue of the day. The second is what the challenge brings to you; your lesson or what you must do to overcome the challenge."

“When folks are new, they have a tendency to ‘over read’. If they do not like the reading, they do a second ‘clarifying’ reading, and then perhaps another ‘clarify the clarification’…
I am going to try and stay mindful of this. I have committed to the 78 Weeks study and the Primary Deck Reflections exercises, so I will try and stick to those 2 activities and no more. Once my new decks arrive I may do the PDR with one of those.

There's a snail in my garden

Well, more accurately in the garden on the 9 of Pentacles (Rider-Waite-Smith)

I don't think there are many purely aesthetic elements in these images, so it must have meant something, but what?

New Decks

Following on from my umm-ing and ahh-ing over new decks I have decided to cheat: I have ordered 2 and am trying to track down a 3rd :)

First up is Dame Fortune's Tarot which I expect will need some additional study but which I'll enjoy I think

and secondly, Revelations Tarot, which just struck me with its slightly unusual images and the whole reversals thing - I'm hoping it may help dispell fears about working with reversals by making them feel more accessible. Plus I like the way it looks, so there.

Plus I'm trying to track down an easily obtainable (ie in the UK if possible) Alchemical...