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Join Date: 07 Apr 2010
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
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21 Ways - Step Twelve

Step TWELVE - Dark Carnival Tarot, The Hierophant

12.1. How would I interpret the 8 of Wands from Nefertari's Tarot in the following positions?
(This deck is near-identical to the Tarot of the Sphinx, which I own, so I referred to the real card in that deck.)

1. The recent past
I had a lot of work piling up, but through determination and willpower I was able to make great strides and maintain my forward momentum.

2. An obstacle
There's a lot of work to be done and I can't tackle it all at once. I have to avoid delay and over-examination of the situation.

3. My strength
I'm a driven worker who gets things done efficiently. I "keep my eyes on the prize" rather than looking back.

4. "What is my purpose in life?" in the position "The best that can be achieved."
I create a path by removing difficulties and obstacles; I enable others to follow this path and reach their own goals. I lead by example with my motivation and drive.

5. "What do I need to know about buying this house?" in the position "My fears."
I'm worried that I'll dash headlong into buying it without taking the time to look closely enough at all aspects of it. Perhaps I'm afraid that if I don't buy it right away someone else will snatch it out from under me.

12.2.1. What do I need to look at in my life right now?
What do I need to know about bringing out and accepting the positive aspects of my inner self?

12.2.2. Pick three spread positions and interpret the Hierophant from these perspectives.
(I picked them at random by closing my eyes and moving my finger around the pages with the list of spread positions.)

How others see me
Other people see me as knowledgable and in control. I look like I've got everything together and am an authority who can answer almost any question. I might be perceived as a know-it-all or standoffish/cold on my little pillar of knowledge. People seeing me this way could help me improve my self-image if I look at myself from their perspective and try to internalize what they respect. It could harm (okay, continue harming) my self-image if I dwell on negative opinions they might have, if I try to "dumb down" to avoid looking like a know-it-all. It could also hurt me because if they see me as a cool, collected, confident person they may not realize my inner lack of confidence and, should they be inclined to help me, they wouldn't know I needed or wanted help.

What is blocked
I simply can't accept success or the idea that I can really enjoy and celebrate what's inside me. (I'm looking more at the Ringmaster himself than the general meaning of the card here.) I think the fact that I found him so distasteful when I first chose the card, and still don't feel comfortable with him, means that I'm trying to repress what he stands for. He's reveling in his skills and the fact that people look up to him, and he's able to pass on those skills by teaching those people. I'm just terrified of success (because it would defeat my negative self-image, which has been my identity for so long), and people telling me I did well either embarrasses me ("I don't deserve it") or makes me think they're lying to make me feel good. I KNOW I have a lot of talent and intelligence and I CAN do great things, and I really do enjoy teaching and helping others, but I have to allow myself to DO it. I mean, literally give myself permission. Tell that clown it's okay to touch the Ringmaster's coat without a handkerchief...he's worthy. I'm worthy.

What I bring to the issue
I think I just answered some of that...I've got skill, I've got intelligence, I've got the ability to learn and teach. I do have the positive qualities of the Hierophant. And like the clown on the left, I'm open to learning and able to be humble and admit what I don't know and am afraid of. On the other hand, like the clown on the right, I can close my eyes to the truth and blow a lot of smoke to keep other people from finding out my truth. I contain all three figures on this card; I need to bring them into balance and know which aspect of myself should be at the forefront in different situations.

12.3. Create a three-card spread with the Hierophant in the Issue or Situation position.

1. Situation: The Hierophant
Like the clown on the left, I seek approval - from pretty much anyone, except myself! Like the clown on the right, I close my eyes to my own good qualities and potential - it doesn't "count" if it isn't coming from someone else. I'm not going to be able to appreciate and bring out my own inner strengths and connect with a Higher Power till I can be more like the Ringmaster: confident, enjoying what he does and who he is, regardless of who's looking or not looking, who's approving and who's disdaining.

2. The source: 2 of Faygos (=2 of Cups)
A smiling young man and woman toast each other with two bottles of beverage - the liquid sprays out like champagne or shaken-up soda. Behind them is the back of a stage flat covered in multiple hues of paint; I get the feeling they're the stage painters for the circus, who've painted the front of the flat to the ringmaster's instructions but have let loose making the back of it their own. Paint stains the clothes of both people but they clearly don't care.

I've always been desperate to fit in, be loved (or more importantly feel loved)...I wanted to be like the couple on the card, enjoying each other's company and perfectly at home in their environment. But I never felt like I could get there; I was on the outside looking in. I think that's where the desperate approval-seeking came from: just wanting to be accepted and loved, and if I couldn't be loved for myself, then I'd be whoever anyone wanted as long as I got a response.

3. Advice and guidance: 7 of Axes (=7 of Swords)
An eclectically-dressed young woman runs with an armload of five axes; two more axes are stuck upright in the ground behind her. In the background are two red and white striped big-top circus tents full of people. The woman wears a mix of masculine and feminine clothing: a black corset dress with a man's red necktie. The color palette is limited to black, gray, white, red and yellow, full of jagged lines and dizzy swirls. It's unsettling just trying to focus on one part of the image, let alone take the whole thing in at once.

The immediate phrase that came to mind is "Cut the crap" - cut loose, cut and run, run free. Leave the opinions of others behind - and leave my own opinions about them behind too! I need to take what's mine: accept my skills, talents, and inherent worth. And I can leave behind what I can't or don't want to carry...the self-doubt, the inferiority complex, all the things that hurt me. I can embrace the duality of my own nature, as an earthbound human and a creature of spirit, living my own life and living free.
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