Two days ago, I met The Hierophant for the first time. I always entitle my entries with a 'sense' of my first impression of the image. This is my title for this card:
Sometimes life is filled with unpleasantries, but in a Fool's Paradise, well, we have the tendancy to look the other way. To cross the street when we see an unfriendly pack a dogs heading straight for us. What is more, having just recently met four very lovely people, I was quite taken aback when a very displeasing image met me as I stepped into the realm of The Hierophant.
This is an elder man, who gives the impression of self-righteous piousness. He appears stern, and distant. The stark contrast between him and the chamber in which he stands, gives the impression that he feels all else pales in comparison to him. He is large and imposing, dressed in ornate robes with the front panels golden with a flower and leaf filled runner, yet there is something off about that part.
This cloak is hiding all but his hands; the left grasping a scepter and the right held up as if to hush a crowd. They appear bloodless, or are sheathed in white gloves. His hat is that of a pope, large and studded with rubies. The color of the cloak below the runner panels is not quite red, and not quite purple, giving the sense of muted colors. Above his robes is a white collar, all of which (cloak/robes/gloves and collar) seems to hide him, as if he is presenting a false reality to the world, and the drabbness of the pillars between which he stands, may be more indicative of who he is: one dimensional, unyielding. His eyes are dark slits, and his expression is close to a scowl.
There is no friendliness here.
Two young boys kneel in prayer before him, almost as if he hopes their innocence will hide his cold heart.
The pillars present the male aspect on his left, with hoards of common folk behind, laden down like slaves trudging through their day. Likewise, the right side presents the feminine aspect, with sheep and he stands between these, as a seperatist, ruling the flocks as he sees fit.
The feeling of this card is immediate distaste. It is very off-putting and manifests that which is untouchable; higher than all else, like a puppeteer, controlling everything in his domain. There is a rigidity about it. This is not someone I'd care to sit and speak with, even if I thought he'd bother to give his time to the little folk.
I find it interesting that he represents the number 5, which in part, represents on the contrary side, perversion (as if he is perverting the old Ways), and corruption. The presence of the young innocent boys, cannot erase the potential wicked use of his power.
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I have since read Robin's own interpretation for the card she has created, and find it interesting that her own feeling about it parallels what I actually saw. I expected she would explain it in a way I could not see.
Of note, but not actually put into my blog (though is in my work journal) is that I wanted to get as far away from the card as fast as I can, and have actually left it in my work journal as a bookmark for those pages, instead of keeping it out where I can see it. Whatever this card has as a 'teaching' for me it shows me there is some major issue I've been ignoring in myself... okay not ignoring, but allowing to manifest, and it's as ugly as Robin's depiction of The Hierophant is: Intolerance! MUCH work to be done here.