The aspirant would do well to avoid those ‘spiritual teachers’ who delight in pointing out the evils of the world. These are immature egos attempting to discard their own negativities by projecting them onto others.
The true yogi is one who is like a lion with himself, always striving to eradicate that which shadows his inner light, and like a lamb with others, always striving to see their inner light, no matter how dense may be the clouds that hide it.
He is the king of the jungle of his world. He hides from no one and seeks escape from nothing.
Prem Prakash, The Yoga of Spiritual Devotion: A Modern Translation of the Narada Bhakti Sutras
As this week guides us into the “seismic window” of the Nov. 30 Lunar eclipse, is it any wonder the Tarot would grace us with an important Major Arcana card? Let us bid welcome this week to Tarot’s great spiritual leader and guide, The Hierophant.
The timing seems more than simple coincidence (is there even such a thing?), because as 2020 begins to waver and at last disperse in just over a month (thank the Gods!), we are heading into 2021: the Tarot Year of the Hierophant (2+0+2+1=5).
So it seems as though we are being offered an appetizer for the vital insights of the period ahead. (And naturally, I will be writing much more about it at the new year).
With its obvious reference in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck to the Roman Catholic Pope, many people are put off by their perception of the Hierophant as stodgy and judgmental, or by their own experiences of the frequently stifling contrast between religion and spirituality.
Certainly, with his astrological ties to Taurus, the Hierophant can occasionally be stubborn, even hidebound. But, despite its recognizable image and the name used in older decks, Arthur Waite rejected calling this card “The Pope,” because he felt it was too narrow an interpretation.
Instead, hierophant was the name given to the priest of the Greater Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece. It translates to “speaker of mysteries.” This priest was the translator and representative that offered the word of the Gods in ways the populace would obey and understand.
Although the secrets of the Eleusinian Mysteries are long lost to us, most ancient records and historians that mention them seem to agree that whoever participated in them no longer feared death.
Thus, The Hierophant, in whatever guise your deck portrays him (for yes, he is usually male), offers profound knowledge of life and death. He stands for tradition and heritage in these matters, as opposed to the more individualistic, mystical experience of The High Priestess.
At his feet are the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, as well as two priests kneeling, one wearing the roses of passion, devotion and the heart, the other cloaked in the white lilies of sacrifice, intellect and purity.
Preparing for the Gemini Full Moon Eclipse
The powerful insights of Lorna Bevan ring out this week, as we descend into both the Underworld time of the year before Winter Solstice (in the Northern Hemisphere), as well the Full Moon eclipse a week from today.
The Sun now back in Sagittarius is about to cross a series of head spinning Black Holes on the way to the Great Attractor. Ideas will rain down like confetti straight from the Cloud, Source, and the Noosphere. Adding to the dreamscape, Neptune slows to turn direct on Saturday 28th in his own sign of far-seeing Pisces, square the karmic eclipse Nodes of Fate across Gemini/Sagittarius. Venus tunes into Awakener Uranus and deep space planet Albion – midwife of the ending of huge cycles – revealing the scale of this collective Rite of Passage.
It’s going to be so, so important to capture these flashes of inspiration – flickers of intuition, sudden epiphanies that come and go with lightning speed, fragments of conversations, dreams – by writing them down as they blow your mind or drawing them and saving them in an ideas folder aka incubator.
How perfect, then, that our Guardian for this period is the Hierophant, for he is Tarot’s ruler of spiritual guidance, as well as adept, teacher, and expert.
In addition, astrologer Robert Wilkinson has begun an utterly brilliant two-part series that examines the splitting apart within the human race that we are witnessing. This, too, is clearly illuminated by the instruction of The Hierophant:
It seems self-evident that around the world, people are dividing into two camps which can be approximately described as “higher humanity” and “lower humanity” based in their level of awareness and critical thinking skills. It’s really a matter of what parts of the brain are being used, and the ability to distinguish subtleties. Because some strive for excellence and integrated understanding, while others live in fear, superstition and ignorance, the division has to do with brain functioning…
This division is graphically illustrated by how people react to the pandemic, including the disease, the inconvenience, the risk, and the responsibilities. It seems this is going on in many nations. There are those who are fact-based and socially responsible who strive to make a better world despite the inconveniences, and those who are belief and opinion based, and superstitiously afraid of inclusivity and change.
The polarization around the pandemic has made this division clear.
We have those who accept science and their greater social responsibility to take precautions, care about their impact on others, and do what they can to prevent giving or receiving a virus which can kill, and we have those who do not accept science, take no responsibility for the potential to spread the virus, and put money over life itself. This shows as the split between those who are acting in unselfish ways and those who are acting in selfish ways…
As you can see, this division of humanity into higher humanity and lower humanity is not about whether a group of Souls aren’t “as good as” those who are more advanced; it’s strictly a matter of their personalities not being as advanced as those who have chosen to lead a mindful existence and examined their emotional issues and baggage and dealt with it.
This also extends to what they care about and why they care about it. You will see they always frame things in terms of narrow interests and what they believe they know with hostility to all which might contradict their world view.
A pandemic virus which kills millions of all ages and ethnicities and has no regard for wealth or opinions has brought all of us to a critical point in history: will we accept the science and our shared humanity, or will we ignore the science and participate in a mass die-off of our species?
I have noted that while some accept the official death tally and are aware it’s probably much larger than the official totals, there are millions who believe the virus is a hoax, cannot have killed and isn’t killing countless people around the world, and refuse to take responsibility for showing compassion for others by the simple act of wearing a mask.
Even now, the number of deaths globally are accelerating. We are told it is raging on every continent, and we have no idea how many have really died, since there are no cameras or hospitals in the middle of the Sahel, the Kalahari, and other remote places where people live and die.
This is Nature Herself knocking on humanity’s door with death on her elbow. Those of us who have learned a certain fearlessness through surrendering to the reality of the underworld are here to maintain our equilibrium when everyone else is off theirs. While we cannot do much about the chaos all around, we can be the Lighthouse in the hurricane…”
(I know this excerpt is a little long, but the full article is really quite outstanding, and I hope you’ll read it in its entirety).
The Hierophant, in the lineage of the Eleusinian Mysteries’ Speaker of Mysteries, demonstrates how we must overcome our private fears, especially regarding death. In so doing, we may each be of a higher service and a Lighthouse in the hurricane.
The Hierophant’s visit this week might represent any formal religious or educational system, particularly the kind that offers knowledge that is not available to the ordinary layman, such as medicine, the law, or other highly technical or esoteric subjects.
He also may refer to the power of our social institutions, and the codification of our behavior. In service, he acts as a gate-keeper challenging those who break norms and customs, especially when they do so in harmful, greedy, or selfish ways. Heaven knows we need his intervention now.
Perhaps you could benefit from more discipline and structure during these chaotic times. And maybe it’s time to take another look at the benefits of the “trappings” of ceremonial power. After all, the myth of the rugged individual is risky in times of global crisis, and there is much to be said for aligning with ancient ways and paths that were tested and forged before we arrived on the scene.
Thus, the Hierophant offers the gifts of the leader and way-shower. His are the rewards of shared 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 may find more success now by following a prescribed program or by embracing tradition. We all have to rely on experts sometimes, and you may encounter someone whose credentials are impressive indeed. This may be the time to find a teacher who can guide you to a new level of expertise. Perhaps you will be given the chance to be taught the inner workings of some field of knowledge that is important to you.
Or it may be time for you to recognize these strengths in yourself, and offer them in service to others.
The formality of rituals, assemblies, and institutions are important and very natural to humans. Choose wisely when to give your trust to the expert or guru, and when to follow your solitary path, finding your own way.
May The Hierophant offer his loving benediction to us in the days ahead, and under his care, may we hide from no one and seek escape from nothing.