Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Hierophant

The Hierophant is one of the major arcana of the tarot. He's the spiritual teacher with the lesson for you, and I've adopted him as a personal totem. If you've seen my website,, yeah, I think that should convince you. LOL.

I guess the main reason that I like the Hierophant so much is that he reminds us that we have a dual role in life as both teacher and student. I am always looking for new ways to expand my mind and bring the spiritual into my everyday life. People in my life often teach me very valuable things, and while I don't believe that everything has a metaphysical/spiritual overtone, I do think there is a lot we can learn from the teachings and examples--good and bad--of others. So while I do have a role as a spiritual leader, I have a responsibility to both them and to myself to be the eternal student.

"The Hierophant" (Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot)

For me, here are a few of the many, many possible divinatory meanings of the Hierophant.

  • A spiritual leader or teacher--following one or being one
  • The idea of the "traditional"--following a path that has already been tread or doing what has always been done in the past
  • "My way or the highway"--the Hierophant may say "Use me as your example" but in the end, the choice to follow is your own
  • Education of all kinds, whether in a formal or informal setting
  • Any kind of leader or teacher role, especially one that has you showing people "your" way of doing things
  • Identifying yourself with a particular group, whether spiritual or not
  • Conforming to the group's needs or point of view
  • The important question of "What am I supposed to learn about myself from this experience?"

I have a pendant with the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot card image of the Hierophant, and sometimes I'll wear him when I teach or read cards. It's a reminder for me of what my role is, and to act accordingly. They always say "Teachers make the worst students" and in some ways that's true. So when I'm a student these days I try to keep the teacher very much in mind--how would I feel if someone talked over me constantly, or was texting throughout a class, for example? It's a good ego check. 

Personally, I think that teaching high school right out of graduate school was one of the most formative experiences of my life. It really taught me how to lead in a classroom setting, and to call it the school of hard knocks is not a stretch. In addition to the fact that they were teenagers who might have had difficulty staying on task, they critiqued my wardrobe a few times, and made comments about how little money I was making. In other words, you really develop a new appreciation for anyone who is brave enough to face a group of people as a leader, no matter what the setting is. That's definitely a Hierophant experience. 

One other Hierophant experience I can recall is the day that I put on a pentacle for the first time. I had been struggling spiritually for many years, but the day I decided to wholly embrace the Craft was the first day I wore the pentacle. Jen bought me my first one at 13 Magickal Moons just before our Litha ritual, which was the first ritual I ever attended. I knew I had found the path for me. Nowadays, I have quite a few pentacles--and lots of other jewelry as well--and it's very rare to find me not wearing a pentacle. I don't wear it outside my clothes most of the time--it's not necessary to advertise!--but it's there, along with my Head High Priest medallion. 

Thanks again for stopping by! Stay tuned tomorrow for my "I" post! 

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