Monday, March 25, 2013

The Hierophant/Lesson Five

The Hierophant is usually depicted as a spiritual leader, most often a religious leader such as a priest or pope. His right hand is raised in a manner to offer a blessing.
This card stands for spiritual leadership in a more conservative traditional form with a definite sense of authority. He revels what he wants you to see.
This card signifies authority, guidance, upper management, conservatism but it also can indicate a leader of a spiritual path/ a higher being or spirit working through a spiritual person/teacher.
It may represent a religious ritual or rite and combined with other cards could indicate a marriage, christening or other ritual/rite passage into a religion or belief system.
The spiritual/ religious aspect of this card is very clear but the interpretation isn't limited to just that.
It represents knowledge and education and or joining a group.
The Heirophant is the trusted guide, the one leading the way.
 Consider the spread and surrounding cards, it may indicate a person in a place of power and influence and whether or not the seeker is the heirophant or one of the ones who kneel at his feet.

 Reversed this card may  represent a false leader or one is ruling with an iron fist. It may indicate that you are feeling restricted or constrained by the structure or rules in a group or situation. It is about breaking the rules and challenging the status quo. You no longer accept the rigid dogma or traditions surrounding you and you are questioning whether what you are doing is really right for you.

Exercises: Write about your experiences and dealings with religious establishments and spiritual leaders/ leadership, even in regards to your current path. What/who have you found to be the best spiritual teachers in your life?
How in your mind and in your experience have you differentiated between teachers and leaders?
Is it right to award a role to a person who is experienced in spiritual matters or are we all on our own very individual spiritual course, where personal experience is the only teacher needed?

I find this a very interesting card. My first feelings when considering the card was one of vague dislike.
Having a preacher for a grandfather, brother-in-law and a cousin, I've had first hand knowledge into the
fundamental structured dogma and all the guilt, fear and dictatorial leadership that goes along with organized religions.
As a young woman in my church I was put in charge of the 3 to 4 years old nursery class. Basically I was a glorified babysitter who told bible stories , sang songs and supervised the coloring  of bible verse pages.
It was summertime , I and my brothers and sisters were going to our little town swimming pool for the afternoon.  Mother was driving us but we needed to stop at the local clothing store so my oldest brother could purchase a swimming suit. We had been parked in our car out in front of the store waiting for him  for a bit of a time when Mother asked me to go in and see if he was almost ready.
 I was sixteen years old, dressed in my bikini with no cover up, only my beach towel  to wrap around me. I went into check on him, as I was coming out of the store I happened to notice my pastor and his wife driving by and the look they gave me was chilling.
The following Sunday evening I was early for services. The deacons of the church were meeting with the pastor in the main auditorium. I went in the back pews to leave my purse when I happened to hear what they were discussing.
   They were criticizing and condemning a Sunday school teacher who had been spotted downtown in their little bitty bathing suit exposed to the world. And wasn't it shame full. Until that moment I had had some regard for my Church Pastor. I was embarrassed and mortified that these elders of the church could gossip so. My Pastor never had the decency to come talk to me first before he felt the need to condemn me to those old men. I stopped being the babysitter right after that happened.

 The best spiritual teachers/ epiphanies that I have had have come from movies and books.
 When I was thirteen I saw the Disney movie Pollyanna. In it she talks to the pastor about all the verses in the Bible dealing with love and why didn't more preachers preach on that subject instead of fire and brimstone.
I felt like she had voiced the inner most feelings  that I had always had about church. I realized that it was alright to talk about love and the tolerance of other people besides what one had to do and not do to stay out of hell.
 When I was eighteen I went to see Fiddler on the Roof. I was dumb founded to learn that it was alright to talk to God like he was a friend instead of a fierce, mean dictatorial presence who was ready to strike you dead for any sins you may or may not of known you were committing. It was a revelation to me.
So I tend to take a very dim view of religious leaders until I feel that they merit my respect.
Now as I travel the Path I have come to know that one needs teachers sometimes for learning the basics of rituals and rites but true spiritual learning comes by being aware and open to divine spirit as one walks the path.
It is an on going life changing practice. And I am so much more content and happier than I have I have ever been.

1 comment:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Interesting post! As you know, I've been doing an intermittent series on my own blog about the Major Arcana, relating their meanings to photos I've taken here in the city where I live. But it is also so powerful to relate their meanings to our own lives and experiences.