Hierophant Spread

Following on from a previous post in which the Hierophant turned up, I have done another of Rachel Pollack’s spreads on this major arcana card. This is the Hierophant spread, taken from her book Tarot Wisdom – Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings. Thought I’d use the Fantastic Menagerie deck, and it made for an interesting experience.

Hierophant Spread using Fantastic Menagerie Tarot

1. How has tradition affected my life?
Justice: the image on this card really struck me. A woman is judged by 4 intimidating men. Now, I know one cannot say whether the unicorn is male or female, but given the historical context of when these were drawn, the judges were all men, and the clothing of the ‘defendant’ indicates the cat as female.  This picture speaks a thousand words about expectations. What I should do, what I should not do, how dare I do this or that, be responsible and so on. She looks really meek and resigned to het lot in life. Expectations and tradition go hand in hand.

2. What have I learned?
4 of Swords: Relax, chill and enjoy life! Ha ha I had to laugh when seeing this card. Life is beautiful, no? Don’t worry, be happy, and smoke a peace pipe now and then. This card gives that distinct “summer holidays” feeling, carefree and not a worry on one’s mind. In a sense this speaks of not letting traditions/expectations get in the way of enjoying life.

3. How have I broken with tradition?
6 of Wands: Triumphantly, defiantly, and with success. Also, very publicly.

4. What effect has it had on my life?
7 of Pentacles: A bit puzzled as to how to interpret this one. Some key words from the book are “slow building and patience; pause in the work; stepping back to allow for natural work” which are all relevant. Breaking with tradition meant no more rat race and time all to myself to figure out what I what to do.

5. What do I have to teach others?
10 of Pentacles: I love this card – and it’s featured before here. The 10 of Pentacles is about prosperity on the material plane, and achieving security and prosperity, achieving success. It does have hints of family life and duty linked in to it, funnily enough. Yet I take it to be, success in finding and creating your own family, especially in the form of community: who are the people you want to share life with? The ugly duckling takes a long time and some failed attempts before coming to this place. The beetle in the card reminds me of the Hierophant, especially looking like teaching those before him – or is he a marriage celebrant in this picture? This deck will keep me busy for a while, I can tell.

6. How can I fulfill this role?
King of Cups: in Tarot this King is sensitive, emphatic, with an inclination towards art and healing. The book for this deck notes “Something of an artist and a sage, the King of Cups is a character who has learnt to balance emotion and intellect, leadership and attention to others. He represents maturity, spiritual or artistic discipline and social responsibility.” Brrrr, the word responsibility again. And yet, I need to learn to differentiate between responsibility that is heavy-handed down to me, and what I choose to take on in life for my own growth. The qualities of this King are what I need to bring in and nurture in order to fulfill my role.


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