Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Hierophant

How someone reacts to the Hierophant card is very revealing. Traditional tarot decks show the Heirophant to be a pope-like figure giving a benediction to 2 supplicants kneeling at his feet. People who have felt oppressed by the church, who are not in agreement with it or have had bad experiences with it, which is a typical tarot reader, will view this card in a negative way and generally feel it as something repressive.

Because of this, many of the new decks have attempted to expand the image of the Heirophant by changing it to a more shamanic figure. Most people find this image less repelling but I think that working with either of the energies can be productive.

When I work with the traditional pope like image, I find myself thinking more in terms of how I fit into the larger society in terms of my spirituality. This very much limits the meaning of the card but in some instances it is the best interpretation. When someone such as myself, has unorthodox spiritual beliefs, there is often a price to pay. This price can range from having people view you as a little bit kooky to being cut off completely from community with others who view tarot card readers as evil or subversive. When one works with the tarot, coming out with it can be a big decision.

One of the uses of tarot is meditaion. Proper meditation on a tarot card can instruct, improve and help one to clarify where they stand in terms of an archetypal principle--with amazing results I might add. Meditation on the Heirophant can bring up very spooky thoughts for me. I have always related to the witches rather than the witch burners. I have related to the people tortured for heresy rather than the inquisitors. Meditating on this card has helped me to name these fears which is the first step in dealing with them. It has helped me to affirm my beliefs and to to remember why I have these beliefs.

One of the things one needs to be careful about when exploring these thoughts and feelings is that one does not develop an 'us against them' mentality or that one does not become someone who is completely close-minded about anyone who ascribes to more traditional beliefs. We have something that we can learn from anyone. And the spirit can be found anywhere.

When I work with the more shamanic energies something changes. It causes me to use my own spiritual beliefs as the reference point and instructs me to understand how these beliefs have caused me to construct my perceptions and the way I relate to the world on a spiritual level. I find myself searching for places inside of myself and outside of myself where I can find that sense of 'oneness' or connectedness with something larger than myself. Medication on this principle helps me to develop a spirituality that is more personal and meaningful. Meditating on the helps me to deal with woundedness instead of wallowing in it, which as I said is the danger of the other.

Now, on a more metaphysical level--and forgive me if I don't explain this very clearly, it is something that I have a very difficult time articulating--reality itself is somewhat dependent on perception. The dominant viewpoint is the one that determines reality and this world is ruled by linear left-minded people who have imposed their view of reality on everything. Now don't get me wrong! I'm not bitching! I love left brainers because they have brought us modern medicine and built bridges and invented the automobile and my personal favorite--Computers! And our favoring this type of thinking has made these things possible. In other words our leanings have created the present reality that we live in.

This concensual reality is also the realm of the Heirophant. The Heirophant interprets reality and teaches it. Not just religion but reality as well! When your perceptions are not entirely congruent with the acceptable perceptions of reality you may find the Heirophant card to be somewhat oppressing as well. Because unfortunately, less linear and more diffuse thinkers are largely denigrated in the Western world and are thought to be of less value than the lefties. (I'm going to say lefties and righties from now on.) Because of this, they can be left feeling like their perceptions are not valued. They may learn to doubt themselves and to feel a 'stranger in a strange land'.

I'm going to post this without a picture for now. My computer is acting weird today and I don't feel like messing with it anymore.