The Druid Craft Tarot rightly focuses on the Celtic Forest God-Cernunnos as its Hierophantic image. The figure of Cernunnos as shown on the Gundestrup Cauldron, thought to be from the 2nd Century AD, is probably the best known rendition of This Horned God.
However, the Cerne Abbas Giant, in Dorset England, is also thought to be a 180' tall image of this Fecund Forest God.
Cernunnos, means "Horned One". He is often shown, holding a serpent and a torc while wearing an antlered cap. He is also shown on the Gundestrup Cauldron, with a yoga sitting pose, with his right heel against his genitals. Very interestingly, nearly all Hindu deities show the same yoga pose. Hence, his fertility is stressed, as the torc and serpent are also genital symbols, female and male respectively. Hence, the naked male wearing his horned leafy cap and the naked female, wearing her crown of mistletoe flowers and berries, symbolize the torc (female) and serpent (male) in this very attractive Druid Craft Card.
Cernunnos, is the Spirit of the sacrificed star-god (another mythological dying god)who is a nature deity to whom sacrifices were dedicated in order to maintain the wild creatures, the forest, and the cycles of nature with his holy blood. Also, noted for his fecundness and fertility, ritual sex was often done amongst the ferns and trees of the forest to insure children. This seems to be the motif of the Druid Tarot, as Cernunnos looms over the "after glow" couple, sprawled in languid pose, after copulation. The ancient fascination with horned festooned gods, seems to go back to an ancient association with the horns of the moon. For example, Keroessa, "Horned One", was a title given to Mother Hera or Io as the Divine Moon Cow. Many scholars have also suggested that Cronus or Kronos, also meant "horned" , as his name was derived from the Assyrian and Babylonian garnu, Hebrew and Phoenician geren, Qarnuim or Kerenos. Apollos Karnaios was also a variant of Cronus. Cernunnos of Celtic fame, was also a similar deity. Hence, the Christians came along, with their predaceous predilection of subjecting pagan gods to villainy, and made all devils, demons etc, horned gods. Even the fun loving Satyrs of the forest, got this undeserved treatment. Probably, because the Christian doctrine is horrifically "flesh-0-phobic", and most Horned gods, were fertility gods, that were shown with full erections.
The Hierophant of the Thoth Qabalistic Tarot, is known as the Path of Vau (Nail or Hook), the 16th path, on the Tree of Life. Leading from the 4th Sephiroth- Chesed (mercy) to the 2nd Sephiroth- Chokmah (wisdom) and is known as the Eternal Intelligence. The Path of Vau is the uppermost path on the Pillar of Mercy (Right hand Path). In the Golden Dawn texts, this path is described as, “The Zodiac acting through Taurus upon Jupiter". Here, Chokma is Jupiter, and his action is the spermatic potential of the Manifested Universe Chesed, the Yod of Microcosm (Microprosopus), is the Father in Manifestation, while Chokmah (the Yod of the Macrocosm (Microprosopus) is the Supernal Father.
Therefore, the Path of the Hierophant is a powerfully masculine one (Electric Force), to which the Bull-Taurus is applied and image definitively applied to this card. Being "Fixed Earth", this is a stable foundation; a stabilizing extreme. This is the absolute foundation of the process of revelation....where the inherited Knowing of the Creator, where THE Great Father, is expressing It's experience through the Supreme Spiritual Self to the Personality or Ego of Tiphareth (The Sun/Son of Beauty). Thus memory is involved and the solid foundation of "Above all things, Know thyself" is established as a Universal Inheritance for the Divine Child, shown dancing in the pentagram on the Hierophants chest.
The meaning of the Hebrew word Vau (bottom left of card), is nail or hook, implying a nailing together, or binding, and links the Macrocosm (The Great Universe) and Microcosm (Manifestation), and/or The Greater Self to the lesser Self of matter, forever linking us to the Divine Spirit. Hence, the body of flesh is known as the "lesser spirit". Hence, the nine nails shown, as if nailing the Oriel (window), that is behind the Hierophant's head, to the Abyss. This "binding consciousness" is described in multiple ways, such as: Binding or linking the Sun and the Moon or tying together the "Above and the Below". The Hierophant sits on a bull between 2 elephants (all depicting fertility), holding a wand with 3 interlocking rings, signifying the Aeons of Isis, Osiris and Horus ; Horus is also shown as the "golden child" in the pentagram on the Hierophants chest. Crowley stated that this child, " This symbolizes the law of the new Aeon of the Child Horus, which has supplanted the Aeon of the 'Dying God' , which governed the world for 2,000 years." Also later along in his writings, he states, "...for the rhythms of the Hierophant is such that he moves at intervals of 2,000 years."
THE HIEROPHANT is related to teaching, which relates Higher ideas into Lower organisms that is often called, "As above so below". The Hierophant is a state of conscious energy that is the only source for our understanding of the inner Spirit/Spiral energy conscious. Hence, this "Magus of the Eternal" is explained by Dr. Paul Foster Case in his text," THE THIRTY TWO PATHS OF WISDOM, as being the," ....Pontifix, the 'bridge maker' who provides a connecting link between outer experience and interior illumination." Thus, the Hierophant gets the discriminating experience of the Body-operating-Personality, while teaching that very same Personality its inherited Divinity. Therefore, The Hierophant can be said to "Learn by Teaching" and the Eternal Intelligence can be called "Life" and/or the reasoning behind manifestation and its evolution, implying that a teacher who learns from his students, is a great teacher.
Crowley's main concept was the "grounding" of the 5th- ATU/ Key-, using the corner symbols of the Four Kerubim (Guiding intelligences of the Four Elements) as the tentative expressions of the primordial Elements of Kether (Crown) that are passed down to Chokmah as the Sphere of the Zodiac. Interestingly, we think of the Zodiac as 12 signs, but it is really four ternaries... Where each element is broken down to three signs. To the Qabalist, this relates to Yod (hand) Heh (Window) and Vau (Nail).
The Administrator to the emerging duality that is Chokmah (Phallus -Womb, male-female, electric-magnetic) is the Hierophant and it is given form or structure by Binah (Great Mother) which begins as manifestation below the Abyss (Dark Energy and Dark Matter) in Chesed (Mercy). Thus, relating to Tiphareth (Beauty-Synchronicity), the central point of manifestation. This relationship is shown in two ways, first as the letter Vau, which is related to "The Son/Sun" ( Golden Child of God) , and Tetragrammaton (secret name of the Creator) and the second is the number six which is related to Tiphareth. Crowley shows this by the Pentagram on the chest of the Hierophant as the four elements are combined under the fifth element-Spirit, thus forming the 5 pointed star. The Pentagram image, confirms the Great Work known as "As above, so below", a process in which the symbolic Moon always is a key part. For the Moon is both above and below the Sun on the Tree of Life, as it is both implied as Yesod (Foundation) and is the Path of the High Priestess and is exalted in Taurus. Hence, in place of an erection, the Hierophant is shown with a "dark Isis" with her moon sickle, as she is "life and death", and/or ruler of Time, the material of manifestation and is associated with the Moon.
Let us not forget that Taurus is also ruled by Venus, referring us to the Empress, the Path of Daleth, between Chokmah and Binah. THE EMPRESS is Mother Nature, and/or the fertilized Universal Consciousness that is the foundation of the HIEROPHANT'S teaching.
THE HIEROPHANT'S teaching is intuitive, as it is on the "feeling" side of the Tree of Life (Venus-Netzach side), applying intuition to concepts collected by reason and built up by memory. However, in this position between the Above and the Below, can contribute to some very unpleasant aspects to this ATU-5. The Simonian Gnostics attributed this key of the Hierophant to Jehovah, who was often unpleasant. Richard Cavendish, in his work, The Tarot , cleverly shows the relationship of this Key to Gnosticism, as he wrote:
Taken in descending order, the trumps from the Juggler to the Pope recall the gnostic accounts of the creation of the Universe. It was believed that in the beginning the One became Two by thinking, so that there was a Mind and a Thought. The Juggler can be equated with the divine Mind, the Female Pope with the Thought in its original purity, and the Empress as the Thought after it has become impregnated by the Mind to become the mother of all the lower powers. Among these lower powers was the Demurge or Cosmocrater, the maker of the visible world... Gnostics frequently identified the Demiurge with the God of the Old Testament. He was regarded as an evil power, the maker and ruler of matter and flesh in which the divine spark of spirit is held prisoner...The Pope also had some sinister undertones. Gnostics maintained that the evil Demiurge invented conventional religion and morality to keep men enslaved to him by inducing then to worship him and obey his laws.
This sounds to me, to be the exact interpretation of the Annunaki (those who from the sky came), specifically the god Enlil, who resembled Jehovah, and his brother Enki, who resembled the benevolent god Jupiter. In the Sumerian clay tablets claimed that the Annunaki joined the DNA of the Gods, to that of man (homo erectus), forming the Homo Sapiens. Therefore, holding the "divine spark/ Annunaki DNA as prisoner in the human DNA double helix. The brothers fought over, whether to exterminate the new human , after they didn't need their labor anymore, or as Enki wished, to leave them here for they are "our children" etc. In the end, man and Enki prevailed and Enlil was defeated and sent packing with his followers. This may sound silly, but one must remember, scholars of the day wrote these tablets, and scholars are not prone to sci-fi. After all, the image Crowley called the Hierophant is that of the Titans, who were called children of the gods, made by impregnating "the women of men", and who later kicked the gods off of earth. I found the books of Zecharia Sitchin, who interpreted the Sumerian clay tablets, quite enlightening, when comes to understanding ancient religions.
I would recommend you meditated on the Thoth Tarot ATU/ Key- 5 card.
When the HIEROPHANT/CERNUNNOS card is thrown during a reading:
- The querent is experiencing the Principle of learning and teaching which is a desire for making things tangible.
- The querent may be seeking guidance from a counselor who has knowledge and authority or is wishing to.
- There is a choice here, of aligning oneself to a philosophy, religion and/or set of beliefs to which one feels a sense of loyalty.
- Being free to disentangle one's-self from any belief system, the querent still chooses to be involved.
- There is an espousing of moral, ethical, and spiritual values which may attribute to oppressing others, especially when espousing orthodoxy.
- There can be an inner sense of obedience to authority, imagined or otherwise, contributing to gullibility.