Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.
— Bertrand Russell
From the past two weeks of revolutionary change and difficulty, we emerge under the tutelage of the Hierophant.
With the Rider-Waite-Smith deck’s obvious reference to the Roman Catholic pope, many people are put off by their perception of him as stodgy and inflexible, or by their own experiences of the sometimes stifling differences between religion and spirituality.
Certainly, with his astrological ties to Taurus, the Hierophant can occasionally be stubborn, even hidebound. But there is much more to him, I think.
As Gaian Tarot creator Joanna Powell Colbert reminds us, “The word ‘hierophant’ actually means ‘revealer of the mysteries,’ or ‘teacher of the mysteries.’ It was the title of the high priest of the Eleusinian Mysteries.
“These rites of the pre-Christian Mediterranean world celebrated the story of Demeter and Persephone and revealed the mysteries of the cycle of death and rebirth. At the culmination of the rite, the Hierophant silently revealed a single ear of grain to the initiates. In their heightened state of awareness, brought on by days of ritual drama, fasting and mind-altering substances, they experienced a profound revelation. It is said that whoever participated in the Eleusinian Mysteries no longer feared death.”
It seems no coincidence that the Speaker of Mysteries appears this week, at the exact time of year when the Eleusinian Mysteries would have been completing. With the turn of the Wheel of the Year, this is the time of Persephone’s annual departure for the Underworld, and all that grows must die.
Faced this week with our own personal and societal reminders of the natural cycles of growth and death, abundance and scarcity, the Hierophant appears. Lessons await.
Perhaps you are in need of more discipline, structure, or an ancestral lineage of wisdom. The Hierophant offers the rewards of group experiences: spiritual groups, clubs, teams, and our social institutions. He is the one who supports, preserves and interprets the lessons of humanity into patterns and systems of behavior that serve the greater good.
You now may find more success by following a prescribed program or by bowing to tradition. Perhaps an initiation lies ahead, when you are challenged to surrender in faith to a teacher or guide.
Also this week, pay attention to the advice offered from experts. Consider those you rely on, to translate today’s esoteric data into information that you can understand: doctors, attorneys, politicians, pundits, technical support, financial experts, and even Tarot readers.
Do you simply take their word on faith? Why or why not? And whose counsel do you seek when you are presented with complex challenges?
This is not a demand for blind, mindless obedience. But at times, we all need to rely on those whose understanding is greater than our own. We must choose wisely when to give our trust to the expert or guru, and when to find our own way.