Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Hierophant

I am now taking two classes from T. Thorn Coyle, author, teacher, Pagan priestess, soup kitchen worker, human rights advocate, the list goes on. Her teaching helps us to explore our inner workings, bring things into balance and to become more effective at living and loving and being fully human. And better at what she calls the Great Work, which I equate with what Judaism calls Tikkun Olam, the work of healing and repairing the world. 

I liked the first class so much that I signed up for her ongoing classes, called Fiat LVX. Right now we are working on the Pearl Pentacle, an energy exercise developed by Victor Anderson, one of Thorn's teachers and one of the founders of Feri, a non-wiccan pagan path. The Pearl Pentacle explores five points: Love, Law, Knowledge, Liberty and Wisdom. Each aspect flows into the next one. We think about how these relate to us, what they mean to us, and look at them in depth. Each month we study another point. This month it's Love we're looking at. Very interesting discussion. Her videos on the topic, one a talk and one a meditation on it, offer wonderful insights and ask us to explore our own take on it. 

As an added exercise, she has us (if we are so inclined to) use Tarot cards or Rune stones, or whatever divination device we might choose, casting one for each of the points. I am no expert at Tarot cards -- though my oldest daughter is a Tarot maven. I am not a Rune person, either. So I decided to try the Tarot cards and do the exercise. I had a Motherpeace deck -- feminist, native american-y and round. I also have a Rider-Waite deck somewhere but can't find it. The image above is from that deck. I also have a newer deck loosely based on Rider-Waite, and decided to use that. Lots of decks for someone who doesn't use them! But I always mean to learn them! Well-intentioned... I lay them out, look the meanings up, then meditate on the card image and the meanings. I use more than one source for the meanings so I can get a multi-dimensional grip on it. Cards are just tools and have no real significance except to open you to what you already know. 

I did fine with the first four points, relating fairly easily to the readings I got, and then I came to Wisdom.  What card came up? The Hierophant. You can tell from the picture that this guy is a hard-nosed institutional figure. He's wearing the triple crown! He's the Pope. He represents tradition, ritual, "but we've always done it this way!" -- the institutional, conventional, unchanging traditions, upheld in spades, to use a different kind of card term. 

Is that what I conjure up when I think of Wisdom? Could it be that there is a hide-bound traditionalist in there that thinks the culmination of love, law, knowledge and liberty is dogmatic institutional religion?  Am I, always the bohemian, the hip girl, always the unconventional, artistic one, always in the avant garde, always the one who's poking the hornet's nest, secretly a Square? Is becoming a Square inevitable as we age? Say it isn't so! 

My grandmother always said, "The cards don't lie." She meant it. The cards she read were an ordinary deck, stripped of everything below the 7s, and she could tell you anything. I wonder what she would have to say about this guy? Who would he be in her deck? Probably the King of Spades. A dark man. Maybe the King of Hearts. 

Maybe he's like the new Pope, who is a breath of fresh air in the Vatican these days. Maybe this Hierophant is transforming into the unconventional one. I can only hope. But I did come across one other meaning for this card that makes me a little more comfortable with it. It also represents Torah. 

That, I'll take as wisdom. 

Photo credit: Google Images

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