Monday, June 8, 2009

Love shows us the way

The tarot cards are on a journey, each balancing or playing off the one before it. If the Hierophant was group rules and beliefs, the lovers are personal beliefs and commitments – it doesn’t get much more intimate than lovers!

People generally like getting this card, which I have found comes up in many more readings than other cards. Well, love, relationships, intimacy, it’s a core desire and one which brings many people to tarot readings, so it’s not surprising that it comes up often.

Also it’s an image and card that most people can interpret for themselves. The woman who recently separated from her husband gets the Lovers card upside down in her reading – you don’t need to be an exceptional Tarot reader to figure out what that meant…

Inner child card series represents the Lovers as Hansel and Gretel in the woods – and I like that image - sometimes when we fall in love, we feel so young and vulnerable, like we're lost in the woods. The card warns that there will be genuine obstacles in the way, that love can have weakness (the father who allows himself to be convinced to let the children go) as well as strength (the siblings who see each other through) and greed - shiny things (or candy) can distract us and lead us astray. But love, the intangible, can guide us and lead us to safety.

Love is also about choice – you chose one person to love, you give up all those other fish in the sea. The above image isn't a Tarot card, but I liked it because it shows that to chose Love, sometimes you have to turn your back on other options.

Sometimes the choice is not about a lover per se, but a very important aspect of your life – one girl got the Lovers card when she wanted to know if she should go to a better college far away or a less established one closer to her family. She saw it and immediately said, which one will I find my true love at? But I said, in this case it’s not about Love, it’s about choice. You are about to make a profound choice, the selection of which will bring certain options into your life and eliminate others. We hate that idea, that options are closing/leaving, but that is one of the aspects of love – I chose You, so I can’t have anyone else…

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Society's rules and what to do with them...

If the Emperor is will and authority, then the Hierophant is rules and regulations. The Hierophant is the male version of the High Priestess. And what does ‘Hierophant’ mean in any case? In the dictionary, hierophant means an ancient Greek priest who interpreted sacred mysteries, which loosened to mean any interpreter of sacred mysteries or arcane knowledge and finally, it can mean anyone who explains or makes a commentary. So a kind of know all narrator, the man who writes the by-laws, the person who knows the intricate rules of the game.

Many Tarot decks depict the Hierophant as a priest - at his best, he is wise and soothing, at his worst, he is an unbending traditionalist. But one interpretation that I saw and really spoke to me was a quilt that a woman called Deb Richardson Ewing had made of the Hierophant as Librarian. She saw the Hierophant as a person with vast knowledge to share, but without a great deal of empathy or openness to new ideas, which rings true to me. It is not enough to have knowledge; one must be willing to share it. It is not enough to share knowledge; you must be able to engage new people in becoming interested in what you value, to pass that knowledge on.

The Inner Child cards translate the Hierophant into a Wizard. You study the magic runes, you get the power. And often we want a bit of wizardry to solve our life’s problems. But sometimes you need to find your own moral compass, and other people’s rules are not enough.

If this card appears in your reading, we talk about the teachers/priests/rabbis in your life and what influence they may have. And we look at you - are you just following the rules, without thought, are you being stubborn and wanting a simple, clear cut solution? There is a comfort in rules, but life is rarely black and white.

One of the things I really like about doing this blog is that it forces me to clarify a few of my own ideas. As I browse around, I get a clearer notion of what other people are thinking about certain cards or Tarot ideals. I found a site which was really helpful with the Hierophant which spoke a lot more about the educational aspects of the card, something I realized I tended to overlook. Below is their useful list of definitions:


getting an education

pursuing knowledge
becoming informed
increasing understanding
studying and learning
seeking a deeper meaning
finding out more

having a belief system

sharing a cultural heritage
learning a religious tradition
honoring ritual and ceremony
identifying a world view
following a discipline
knowing where to put your faith


following the rules
taking an orthodox approach
staying within conventional bounds
adapting to the system
fitting in
going along with the program
doing what's expected
being part of the Establishment

identifying with a group

being committed to a cause
devoting energy to a group
joining an organization
working as part of a team
feeling loyal to others
being in an institutionalized setting

That helped me a great deal. I think when next I get the Hierophant in a reading I’ll have a much more nuanced approach for it.