Great Arcana – Tarot Interpretations
0 – The Fool I I – The Magus I II – The Priestess I III – The Empress I IV – The Emperor I V – The Hierophant I VI – The Lovers I VII – The Conqueror I VIII – The Witness I IX – The Hermit I X – The Wheel of Fortune I XI – Passion I XII – The Hanged Man I XIII – Death I XIV – Art I XV – The Devil I XVI – The Tower I XVII – The Star I XVIII – The Moon I IXX – The Sun I XX – The Aeon I XXI – The Universe
V – The Hierophant
“search for hidden truths and quest for meaning”
Keyphrase: „Know your true self“
Symbol: Wisdom through experience
Astrology: Sun in Sagittarius
Path of Vau: Chokmah – Chesed
Archetype: The light bearer, the bridge builder between micro- and macrocosm, Horus/Seth
The Hierophant represents the bridge builder between god and man and therefore the crowned child. The symbol of the child (Horus/Seth complex) is dual in its nature, so he’s not only is the liberator, but also the destroyer.
„Destruction“ is a negative term at first glance, but nothing can or should last forever – it would be a timeless condition of insanity and stagnating order. Evolution is only possible through destruction. This law applies equally to cosmic systems, empires and cultures but also to our own body, mind and ego.
The Hierophant in the center is the balanced self within the chaos of outside forces or orders. In the corners the four cherubim representative for the 4 elements (water – scorpion/ eagle, earth – taurus, fire – lion, air – aquarius) are depicted. They are swallowing their own tails like the ouroboros. This means that every extreme eventually leads to the beginning without escaping the cycle. Only balanced between these four forces the Hierophant can emerge inside the pentagram and be more then the sum of his parts (4→5 within 6).
The keys in his hands represent the knowledge of the laws and forces of the universe as well as the balance between negative and positive forces within his own self.
At the base rests a person in meditation, surrounded by the phases of the moon. Obviously the key of transcending into a higher state of consciousness or evolving into a better self is making peace with the female forces, the dark mother or the inner wells (subconsciousness). The mother-son symbolism has many layers, a deep well of meaning itself.
Christianity absorbed this cornerstone of the multiverse from archaic cultures and expressed it into their mother Mary with her infant. Which leads to the symbol above – the fetus within the womb. Between this two incomplete archetypes (above and below), the Hierophant represents the independent but understanding son who redeems the mother. The symbol of the nails (=vau) also found their way into christianity with the crucified Jesus. (salvation through suffering) Of course this is an important part of the mystery, but not the main aspect of becoming one’s own saviour. The nails are necessary to fix the position of the Hierophant and keep him in focus within the diversions of the cosmos.
Within the Hierophants circle there are no stars, but only blackness. His own light blazes into the darkness around him. This symbol for the inner illumination in contrast to the distracting flashes of light from outside forces/the archons/the stars is probably the most important one.
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