The Babylonian Tarot- Key 5-The Hierophant-Nabu, was known in the Christian Bible as Nebo. Nabu was the Babylonian scribe god and the patron of writing. His cuneiform writing is shown on the bottom right of the card. Nabu, later on took over this task of scribe god from the goddess Nisaba, a common occurrence when the Patriarch theologian's got supremacy over Matriarch theologians. Nabu's name seem to come from the root word meaning "to call", "proclaimer" or " herald" and probably originates as the god of water. Therefore, he is associated with the planet/god Mercury, and the Egyptian Thoth, and/or the Greek Hermes. Nabu's consort was the goddess Tashmetum, goddess of hearing who listened to prayers.
It is said that Nabu engraved the future of every human being on the Tablet of Destiny; according to the decree of the gods. Hence, he became the all-knowing god who embodies the wisdom of the gods; a kind of collective mind-god who was benevolent towards mankind. He was seen as the patron to all learning and sciences. He was considered to be the divine priest of the gods. His temple was called the "house of the scepter of the world". In Hellenistic times, he was associated with the god Apollo, Lord of Prophecy.
As in the Thoth Tarot, the Babylonian Hierophant is associated with the astrological sign of Taurus. In the Babylonian card, all the writing tools associated with Nabu, who as Nebo, taught mankind how to write, are all in the background. The snake-dragon or mushussu, his token animal, is seen behind him. Mushussu, was also the token animal of Nabu's father, Marduk. Nabu, wears the horned headdress of deity. His hands are held in the ancient gesture of the priesthood. The divination meanings for this card are the same as for the Thoth Tarot.
ATU 5 or Key-5 the Hierophant:
Is the universal Key of learning and teaching.
This key or principle was well explained in the publication of the-Course in Miracles-"As you teach so will you learn.’ If that is true, and it is true indeed, do not forget that what you teach is teaching you."
The Hierophant is also the High Priest in many Tarot decks.
No mater the name, this card first requires us to have faith in ourselves; “above all things know thyself" is often forgotten in family situations and in the mundane world of survival. The family situations are represented in this card by the images of Isis and Osiris and Horus.
In pre-Christen times, Isis was the image of Intuition. Osiris, the image of wisdom which can be seen as the scepter of wisdom, and the staff of moon, Isis; Also known as representing instinct. Horus represented Perception and Vision, as a child born of Intuition and Wisdom and in the eternal-now, represents us. We are the children of Intuition and Wisdom who are to be the purveyors of perception and vision. We must have faith in following our childlike abilities of innocence and curiosity (the child in the star); we are to walk the mystical path with the practical feet of the Magus. We are the All Potential of Daath, the Birth place of our Souls.The Hierophant is that inner part of ourselves that knows how to express our divinity into the outer world.
Often, when thrown during a reading, this card indicates the desire for self-teaching and learning. The need to make things tangible and practical. The HIEROPHANT is the administrator of the Yin Yang (Osiris Isis) duality which emerges with Chokmah, is formed by Binah, and which begins as manifestation below the Abyss in Chesed.
Crowley's Thoth Deck card is considered one of the most important in Tarot, containing many traditional elements intermingled with Crowley's own discoveries and philosophies. For instance, the image of a child in the Pentagram that is within a larger Hexagram, is explained as." This symbolizes the law of the new Aeon of the Child of Horus, which has supplanted that Aeon of the 'Dying God' which governed the world for two thousand years". Crowley believed that the rhythm of the Hierophant is such that he moves at 2,000 year intervals. Remembering that this is a Spiral Universe, made of multiple frequencies and dimensions (harmonies) of One Energy, and that there are rhythmic movements in the multiple States of Conscious Energy, of which the Hierophant is a major state, making this cyclic movement seem plausible. It is also nice to know that within our own infinity (inner self) resides our Librarian of Universal Tomes who will not hesitate to instruct the diligent student. But until we are no longer satisfied with the ludicrous fantasy of our own cultural "Group Soul", we will never be able to achieve the mental velocity to escape our imprisonment of Time- created perspectives and consciously enter the infinite depths of Our Spiral Energetic Self.
Each of us is a Tree of Life, and each of us makes his/her own Qabalah. When there is a shift in the 2,000-year Group Soul from Patriarch/Osiris to that of, Horus, those who can't behold the more advanced perspective, will have to live in a lesser intelligent fantasy of their own making on the Astral planes of the Universal Collective Unconscious. Sensuality then, will be condemned to memory rather than new experience and as we know from our own experiences, after a bout of time, sensual memory fades to a point where only the most extreme of sensual experiences are remembered. Luckily the Hierophant, that is a Higher State of Conscious Energy within our Tree of Life (our Spiral Pattern of Force and Form), gives us back our dimensionally shedding of memories. These discarded memory bites are stored in the intelligence called Daath---"the invisible Sephiroth"---known in English as –Knowledge, residing invisibly just above the Abyss on the Middle Pillar. Obviously, to get to this point of inner-journey, we have to experience the "Dark Night of the Soul", achieving an emptiness of perspective so that we can be refilled or as I like to say, where we can claim our inheritance as the Divine Child of the One Mind. The Hierophant awaits us all, and will fill to capacity, the thirsty student!
As an inheritor of the I AM, you are denied nothing that "ever was or will be", only you have the freedom to deny yourself! Thus, you should know that the Hierophant does not have authority over your Spirit or Soul. Therefore, upon meeting the inner teacher, your freedom of choice is still intact. Your True Name is "I AM" which constructs, by self- perspective, your objective self-called "ME". You are the one I (eye) of your constructs.
Upon examining this card, the Hierophant sits on a Bull between two elephants, holding a wand of three interlocking rings, symbolizing the Aeons of Isis, Osiris and Horus (the Child in the Pentagram) Beneath is the veiled "Scarlet Woman" (Crowley), who is shown riding the Lion Serpent in the Lust card of Thoth Tarot. She is unveiled, depicting purity. The 9 golden nails above, symbolize the Hebrew letter Vau, linking of the above and the below (the nine Sephiroth below the 1 that is Kether, who is Fiery-Darkness/unlimited Light.) The Manifested Spirit, passes along the "Window" (triangular ray of Light form the Scarlet woman upward) from the Microcosm to the Macrocosm.
Now all is not "sweetness and light" in the Hierophant and most authorities on tarot agree that there are some unpleasant aspects to this Key. I would recommend that the serious student read the book by Richard Cavendish: THE TAROT, where the implications of this State of Energy Consciousness are very cleverly related to Gnosticism. He points out that the Demiurge, the Lesser Creator which rules over manifestation, was also known by the Gnostics as the "Great Deceiver", and initiates of the Valentinian Gnostics were taught to ignore the authority of this one who is a type of staunch librarian and only has authority over its library. Truth is, there is only one authority over ourselves, and that is our own "Will to be" and/or Freedom to Choose and we get to experience freely the consequences there of. Besides, only slaves need saviors!
THE HIEROPHANT- Key 5, or ATU 5, is the Path of Vau.
The Path of Vau (Nail or Hook), is the 16th path, on the Tree of Life. Leading from Chesed (mercy) to 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 of Chesed, the Yod of Microcosm (Microprosopus). Chessed 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.
Again the meaning of the Hebrew word Vau, 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. 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. This "Magus of the Eternal" is stated by 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 so that it may become the Mercury and/or messenger of the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. Thus, The Hierophant can be said to "Learn by Teaching" and the Eternal Intelligence can be called "Life" and/or the Reasoning behind manifestation, implying that a teacher who learns from his students, is a great teacher.
Crowley's main concept was the "grounding" of the Fifth- 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 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" (Child of God), and Tetragrammaton and the second is the number 6 itself 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 Priestess and is exalted in Taurus.
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. I would recommend you meditated on the Thoth Deck Key 5 card.
When the HIEROPHANT 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.
- Querent is becoming a channel for spiritual wisdom and instruction.
- Inner illumination
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