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Moongold 
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ANCIENT EGYPTIAN STUDY GROUP - V Hierophant


This is my favourite Hierophant card. In this image Osiris makes his first formal appearance in the Ancient Egyptian deck. The first impression is of energy, surprising for me in an image which represents, in Barrett’s words “….the open face of religion, concealing nothing.” Barrett comments further that the Hierophant “…….becomes the vehicle of religious expression rather than religion itself.” For me, that is a distinction I have not seen before, and makes much imaginable and thus possible in terms of contemporary faith. The Hierophant acts as a bridge between the dogmatic structures of contemporary faith and that faith and love which comes from the spirit.

Osiris sits on a raised dais before an image of Apis, a sacred bull of Egypt. He is dressed in a red/orange cloak over a white robe, symbolizing the purity of the foundation of faith. Thus the outer and the inner are united. Ritual enshrines the purity of spiritual expression.

Immediately before Osiris is the djed, the classic symbol of stability, based on the backbone of Osiris whose personal journey was one of many challenges. Even Osiris’s crown is one of unification – representing upper and Southern Egypt, protected by the serpent Uraeus...

We are introduced here also to the trinity of Osiris, Isis and Horus, trinity being also one of the most sacred themes in contemporary Christianity. This particular trinity manifests in the flail in Osiris’ left hand: three colours representing the red of Horus, the blue of Isis and the gold of Osiris. The trinity is also evident in the image of Osiris himself and the Gods Isis and Horus before him. Of course, in the Osirian myth, Horus is the son of Osiris and Isis. So in this Hierophant image, the two baldheaded monks of RWS imagery are replaced by the other Gods of the Egyptian trinity. It is a much more satisfactory explanation of "God", the eartly structures by which we understand the deity, and of the role of Hierophant than any similar deck.

It is moving to compare this image and the Osirian trinity lasting more than 3000 years to contemporary Christianity, so far in existence for just over 2000 years. The status of the current Christian trinity is different: Father, Son (Jesus) and Holy Ghost. Mary is left out of it altogether. A consideration of the current Church explanation of this is fascinating and, in my view represents a particular kind of patriarchy. Of course, this statement requires much further study. It was poignant to awake this morning to reports in the media of an agreement reached between the Catholic and Anglican Churches about the status and role of Mary. The report is called Mary: grace and hope in Christ . It seems that the predominantly male structures of contemporary Christianity are trying to come to terms with the Church’s anima .

So this wonderful image V Hierophant introduces some profound and divine ideas. The first of these is that structure and ritual can encompass purity and joy of spirit in our relationship with God. The Hierophant in balance brings these two concepts together. The second is the idea of God as trinity, recognizing the feminine through acknowledgment of Isis.
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Last edited by Moongold; 17-05-2005 at 04:51.
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Old 17-05-2005     Top   #1
Rosanne 
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I really enjoyed your introduction to this card Moongold. I have no affinity to the card even tho it is my life card. When I first got this AET Deck, I saw 'The Heirophant' and the raging Bull Elephant behind him I thought 'Hmmm when you have a wild elephant in your life you should give it plenty of room'.
This particular example of The Heirophant has reconciled me somewhat, and the issues of a different Trinity also helps. I have long railed against the patriacal attitude of Christianty as we now know it. I had not thought about the Egyptian Pantheon of Gods been so obviously equal opportunity Gods.
I especially like the way Egyptians looked upon their Deities. The Gods lived lives very much like their subjects, in many ways like a divine Soap opera. You have strong individuals, be they male or female. I like that. I could go on about how I think Christianity will die long before 3000 years come to pass, because it denys a good 50% of the population its rightful place, but that is another time and place. This card gives me a lot of peace. ~Rosanne



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Old 17-05-2005     Top   #2
SweetIsTheTruth 
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I agree wholeheartedly with the ideas expressed so far in this post. I have always felt one of the biggest mistakes in traditional Christianity was the denial of the female divine. How can any society grant equal respect to females if we do not acknowledge the divinity of the Female? I love this card, and this deck as well, for this reason. The Ancient Egyptians, like many Pagan faiths, ancient and recent, do acknowledge and accept the idea of the feminine divine.
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Old 10-02-2006     Top   #3
rwcarter 
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Additional points about the Hierophant.

The Hierophant leads the many where the High Priestess leads only a few. He may become what he symbolizes, uniting the everyday with the other worldly, thereby making his role as message giver eclipse the religion itself.

Given rule of the earth by his father Geb, Osiris civilized man by giving him laws, agriculture and religion. Osiris is the god of life, death and fertility.

He wears the Atef crown, which is composed of the Hedjet (the white part, which represents Upper Egypt and was thought to contain the protective powers of Nekhebet) with feathers (symbolizing righteousness) on either side of it. The Uraeus is mounted on the front of the crown, although it's not shown rearing as it normally is.

At the beginning of their reigns, pharaohs raised the Djed as a means of re-enacting the resurrection of Osiris and his triumph over Set. This act was thought to bring stability and good fortune to the pharaoh and his reign. Inscribed on the Djed are hieroglyphs for the eye and the throne. The eye is a symbol for Horus, while the throne is a symbol for Isis; but together, they form the name Asar, which is another of Osiris' names.

The raised dais upon which the Hierophant sits puts him above the level of his followers and provides him with the first step on the ascent to Heaven.

The Apis bull stands behind Osiris, referring to the belief that it joined with Osiris after death to become Osiris-Apis, who later became Serapis, a deity who combined both Egyptian and Greek deities into one form. The Apis bull shares some traits with Osiris - he was a fertility god and was a protector of the deceased.

The crook and flail are symbols of authority.

His beard shows his authority and virility, the latter of which is extraordinary considering that he's missing his penis, yet was still able to father Horus.

An elephant can be seen through the two pillars that are behind Osiris. (I don't see the elephant as charging, as was stated earlier in this thread.) The two pillars form a doorway or portal. Because elephants are symbols of intelligence and wisdom, the suggestion is that those who seek wisdom must go through the Hierophant to get to it.

His red-orange robes symbolize sexuality and energy. His white robes symbolize faith, purity, perfection, enlightenment, truth and the divine.


Rodney



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Old 30-03-2008     Top   #4
rwcarter 
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I just noticed two additional things about the Hierophant, and I'm not sure what at least one of them means.

Isis is holding a dove in her right hand. And Horus has a sandal on his right foot, but his left foot is bare. Bare feet are an expression of humility, but I'm not sure what a bare foot symbolizes.

I'm reading about the World in the companion book and it mentions that the four animals of the elements may be seen in this card. I didn't remember that, so I had to look again. The Apis is obviously the bull. The dove that I just noticed must be the bird. I'm guessing that Osiris in human form represents man. And Horus must represent the lion, since they both are solar. Unlike in the Wheel and the World though, they don't reside in the corners of the card.

Interesting....

Rodney



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Old 14-04-2008     Top   #5
teomat 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwcarter
I'm reading about the World in the companion book and it mentions that the four animals of the elements may be seen in this card. I didn't remember that, so I had to look again. The Apis is obviously the bull. The dove that I just noticed must be the bird. I'm guessing that Osiris in human form represents man. And Horus must represent the lion, since they both are solar. Unlike in the Wheel and the World though, they don't reside in the corners of the card.

Interesting....

Rodney
I'm guessing the right pillar shows Sekhmet (representing the lion).

Some other interesting features...

The bull has the symbol for Earth on it's forehead.
Horus is holding a snake.

I'd advise everyone studying this deck to have a peek in Crowley's Book of Thoth. Barrett uses many symbols from the Thoth deck and the BoT fills in a lot of the gaps regarding what they mean...in a Crowley-convoluted way!
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Old 30-10-2008     Top   #6
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