The Thoth Tarot Atu 5- is the Hierophant.
Key 5 in the Druid Craft Tarot is far from the traditional High Priest as he represents Cernunos, the Druid Green man.
The High Priest is associated with Taurus, as implied by the Buffalo horns atop his stone throne, and earth and sun (The Hierophant is Taurus influencing Jupiter). He is considered to be the possessor of occult (hidden) knowledge, holding the key to the Mysteries, while guarding the spiritual threshold made by the standing stones behind him. But not in it. He is the fertility of the earth, thus, the lush foliage.
The wren in the foreground, is a to a Celtic Druid, supreme among all birds. The Wren is the sacred bird of the Isle of Man, an Isle which used to be a shrine of the dead, and the dwelling of the Moon Goddess who cared for the souls of the dead, until the Christian Missionaries showed up, avowing to destroy her. This Great Fairy "shape shifter" Queen, then took refuge as the "Jenny Wren" of nursery rhymes. In Devonshire, the wren was known as "Bran's Sparrow", a bird of prophecy.
On the stone altar, at his left hand, are the dagger and cup of the magician. Usually among the magic tools, there is also a wand, but in the case of Cernunos, the High Priest is the Wand/Phallus. He is well dressed, in a fine Celtic style, along with the boars tooth of authority. The Boar was sacred to the Celtic Goddess Arduinna, patron of the forest of the Ardennes. Hence, the Celts believed the Pig was associated with the underworld, and was the appropriate food for sacred or ceremonial feasts. Of note, the ancient Hebrews also thought the pig a sacred animal and copied from their neighbors in Syria and Egypt, a sacred taboo where pigs were only supposed to be eaten on ceremonial occasions. Hence, the pig was considered "unclean" as in "set apart" or sacred; it was a sacred Jewish totem. The propaganda idea that "unclean" meant diseased is foolish, for the ancients had no ideas based on germs, disease and bacteria. This pig/boar was considered an image of the Boar God, in the Middle East and India.
The Bull and Elephant,
are illustrated in the Hierophant card of the Thoth Deck. The Bull is the sacred animal of earth, the symbol for the astrological sign of Taurus and also the Papal Bull of the Catholic Pope. The Oriel (or Transparent window) is also behind the Hierophant, held in place by 9 nails, which refer to the Hebrew letter
Vau which means nail and is part of the Yod Heh Vau Heh of Qabalistic doctrine. The serpent that is around the top of the Oriel, is the "Lord Python", the early Greeks, best known as the Oracle God of the Pythonia. The Gnostic symbol for the universe was an eight rayed sun, centered in the dome of heaven. The designs core, sported a divine serpent symbol, the letter "s", derived from a serpent's body. The letter "s" was also the imitated sibilant sound of the serpent's hiss. Hence, the serpent was the image associated with the sun god in many ancient belief systems; he was Apollo/Python, Apep/Ra, Sata/Osiris, Ahriman/Ormazd, and even Ophis/Christ, according to the Ophite-Gnostic-Christians. The Dove, is also a common image used to represent the soul.
The elephant, is also an animal of fertility, power and linked with earth and the Hindu god of fertility, Ganesh.
The Hierophant is accompanied in the back ground with the image of an eagle, a symbol of the Sun-spirit and in Thoth Tarot, the symbol for the Cherub (kerub) of the Air. The Hierophant has one hand lowered, in the sign of benediction; a type of Mudra (hand yoga) in the Hindu tradition.
The Thoth Tarot Hierophant's knowledge is also represented in arcane image. Around him are the four Kerubs or Beasts, the guardians of every shrine whose principle business, is the center of all magical work. That business is the uniting of the Macrocosm and Microcosm (As above, so below). This explains the diaphanous oriel that looks out at the Macrocosm. The Macrocosm is also represent as the Hexagram that stands before the "Manifester of the Mysteries", (the Hierophant/High Priest).
In the center of that Hexagram is a pentagram within which is a dancing child symbolizing the Aeon of Horus that is supplanting the Aeon of the Dying God, known as Osiris, who is resurrected by Isis as the newborn Horus.
Before the Hierophant , according to Crowley, stands the Scarlett Woman girt with sickle sword, representing Venus as she is now in the New Aeon of Horus, militant and no longer a mere vehicle of her male counter part and stressing equal partnership. The Moon is also exalted in this sign (hence the crescent sickle sword) and is represent as her, the sickle sword and the nine nails of Vau. She is further represented as the Five Petaled Rose behind the Phallic headdress of the Hierophant. All of this relating to the fact that the Patriarch is no longer the main force of this new Aeon, as the Divine Androgyny is now the driving force, i.e. the He/She in perfect Communion and balance.
The Simonian Gnostics, called the Hierophant, Yahweh, the demiurge, who was not to be trusted, as most of us bible readers have seen. The Patriarch, is often cruel, unjust, bigoted, and closed minded and demands conformity. However, his orthodoxy is not our rule, nor he our "ruler", for the Law is "Do as thou wilt, is the whole of the Law, and the Law is love." In less arcane words, we are the Divine Inheritors of the 3 will's: The "I Will Be" of Kether, the 1st Sephiroth; the "Will to Force" of Chokmah, the 2nd Sephiroth, and the "Will to Form" of Binah, the 3rd Sephiroth. The combination of which makes us the "Being of Spirit's (serpent's) Will". This is known as the "Son of God", or the Adam Khadmon, who is the inheritor of the All. The Hierophant is the holder of the knowledge of the Emperor. He is of earthly knowledge (Taurus) and much can be learned from him but subservient to him you are not. Just know, that he is not your master, for you are not a slave. You are the "Divine's Self Image" who has "free will".
In his BOOK OF LAW, chapter 1, vs 57 Crowley refers to the serpent and dove symbols in the Thoth Deck card:
" There are love and love. There is the dove and there is the serpent." The Dark Blue Starry night sky of Nuit, the Great Womb from which all phenomena are born, surrounds the Hierophant.
The Hierophant's wand is a three ringed symbol of the the Three Aeons, Isis, Osiris and Horus.The scarlet upper ring is representative of Horus, the two lower rings are usually green for Isis and pale yellow for Osiris. All of which are based on the indigo of Saturn, the Lord of Time, which is appropriate, since the Hierophant is subject to a 2,000 year rhythm of motion.
Some say that the image of the Hierophant is that of a Pope. If so, this is not a Christian Pope, but the image that has come from the ruined altar of Bacchus: The Grand Master or Gypsy Prince associated with Magic, or even from the legend of the keeper of the Keys, the Roman Petra (Peter).
It seems that in the Druid Craft Tarot, it is all about the legendary art of the fey, mixed with Arthurian, and some druid myths, making its art very appealing, and delightful to the querent .
Instead of a 3 ring wand, the Druid High Priests wears a golden triangle pendant with three spirals, and seems to point the way, with his casting symbol.
The Tarot Hierophant commonly represents, conformism and orthodoxy, that must be surpassed before we can go beyond into the freedom of the Abyss of Greater mysteries.
When the Hierophant/High Priest, is thrown in a divination:
- The querent is seeking guidance by consulting with someone of knowledge and authority.
- Indicates a need for self-teaching and learning in order to make things tangible and practical.
- The querent is aligning themselves to a particular philosophy or religion and/or a set of beliefs that they feel a great loyalty to.
- Is a teacher that is problem solving, piratical in applying spiritual rhythms.One who learns by teaching.
- Dealing in some way with conventional morality and patriarchal law.
- Associating with a wise person on matters of spiritual guidance, needing to find spiritual meaning in life.
- Meditative awareness and philosophy that views every life experience as a learning opportunity for growth.
The Reverse meaning of the Hierophant/High Priest, if ill defined by accompanying cards.
- Indecision and weakness.
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