Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot-Key 5: The Hierophant & The B.O.T.A. Tarot-Key 5: The Hierophant
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Thoth Tarot & comparisons

Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot-Key 5: The Hierophant & The B.O.T.A. Tarot-Key 5: The Hierophant

The Tarot of Eli The Thoth Tarot-Key 5: The Hierophant, refers to the Hebrew letter Vau which when translated to English means Nail. Hence, nine nails appear at the top of this card, fixing the oriel (window) behind the main figure.

The zodiacal reference to the Hierophant is Taurus, whose very nature is that of  elephants; thus, the corresponding figures of the pachyderm are shown behind the main figure, who is also seated on a Bull, a western representation of Taurus.

Around him at the four corners of the card are the  four Kerubs or beasts, that are the guardians to every shrine. But no matter how many symbols one sees on this card, the uniting of the Macrocosm with the Microcosm is the main reference  and principle business of this card's occult mystery.

Accordingly, the oriel is diaphanous; looking closely, you can see before the Manifestor of the Mystery (Arcanum means, mysteries) a Hexagram which represents the Macrocosm.

  • In its center,looking as if part of the Hierophant's robe, is a pentagram, representing a dancing male child.
  • The Dancing Child represents the New Aeon of the child Horus that has supplanted the Aeon of the "Dying God"  which has governed the world for two thousand years.
  • Before The Hierophant is a female figure, girdled with a sword, who not only represents the Scarlet Womb-man

 (Babalon) of the Hierarchy of the new Aeon but also that of the sign of Venus, the ruler of the sign of Taurus.

The Scarlet Woman was a major arcanum of Crowley's magical pursuits, and a great deal of study is needed just to begin understanding this Macrocosmic phenomena. The book by Peter Gray, THE RED GODDESS, will assist the serious student in their research.

  • The Scarlet Woman symbolism is further carried out by the image of a 5 petaled rose behind the phallic headdress of the Hierophant.
  • The images of the Serpent and Dove refer to Crowley's [Book of Law--chap.1, verse 57]: "there are love and love. There is the dove and there is the serpent." Again, more study is advised.

The Dark Indigo starry sky of  Nuit ( the womb of all phenomena) forms the background of this colorful card. Since this card represents the sign of Taurus, the\Bull Kerub represents Earth in its strongest and most balanced form.
Illustrated on the Thoth Tarot, the Hierophant's wand is composed of three circles which maybe considered as the three Aeons of Isis, Osiris, and Horus, interlocking their magical formula.

The fact that the Hierophant is the path of Vau, meaning nail, relates to memory; memory binds together, as does the nail.

 In the Hermetic Qabalah, The Hierophant is considered to be the Triumphal or Eternal Intelligence, as are Elephants to the ancient Hindus, thereby, proposing another reason for the Elephants on the Thoth card. Therefore, he is the solid base of experience between the Supreme Spiritual Self and the Soul-Ego of Tiphareth. Memory (..."an elephant never forgets") is one aspect of this; However the Primary function of The Hierophant is to link the Macrocosm and the Microcosm and therefore, the binding nature of this consciousness is described in many ways; one is linking the Sun and the Moon, another is that The Hierophant links together the Collective Unconscious and the Conscious to the Son. Therefore, The Hierophant ties together the Above and the Below.

Let us not forget the fact that The Hierophant is related to teaching, not only the action of teaching but also the wonderful result of the good teacher, learning by teaching! The Hierophant is the only source for our understanding of the inner spirit, as he is the intelligent energy which binds inner spirit to the outer aspects of manifestation.
Esoterically, he is the "Magus of the Eternal". If you are acquainted with the Gnostic Christian teachings of Simon the Mage, you'll have a greater understanding of The Hierophant in each of us. Crowley uses the word "oriel", meaning window, as the dark back ground of this card, as yet another symbol of the Hierophant's linking the Macrocosm and Microcosm, i.e. The Creator with Creation.

The Hierophant is the only source for our understanding of the inner spirit, as he is the intelligent energy which binds inner spirit to the outer aspects of manifestation.Therefore, The Hierophant is the administrator of the Yin Yang duality which emerges with Chokmah, is formed by Binah, and which begins as manifestation below the Abyss in Chesed.

Crowley's Thoth Deck card is considered one of the most important in the Hermetic Tarot, containing many traditional elements intermingled with Crowley's own discoveries and philosophies. For instance, the image of a child in the Pentagram that is within a larger Hexagram, is explained as: " This symbolizes the law of the new Aeon of the Child of Horus, which has supplanted that Aeon of the 'Dying God' which governed the world for two thousand years". Crowley believed that the rhythm of the HIEROPHANT is such that he moves at 2,000 year intervals.
 His reasoning is more obvious if one remembers that this is a Spiral Universe, made of Multiple frequencies of the One Energy, spinning in a collective experience producing dynamic dimensions of One Mind.  Therefore, there are rhythmic or cyclic movements in the multiple "States of Conscious Energy", of which the Intelligence that is The Hierophant is a major guiding state.

It is also nice to know that within our own infinity (inner self) resides our Librarian of Universal Tomes who will not hesitate to instruct the diligent student.
But until we are no longer satisfied with the ludicrous fantasy of our own media infused cultural "Group Soul", we will never be able to achieve the mental velocity to escape our imprisonment of linear time indoctrinated perspectives and consciously enter the infinite depths of Our Spiral Energetic Self and/or our Soul library of Collective multidimensional experience.

Each of us is a Tree of Life (in 10 dimensions!), and each of us makes his/her own Qabalah. When there is a shift in the 2,000 year Group Soul from Mammon/Osiris to that of, Horus, those who can't behold the more advanced perspective, will have to live in a lesser intelligent fantasy of their own making, as is often "seen" on the Astral planes. Sensuality then, will be condemned to memory rather than to new and therefore, discernment teaching experiences. As we should know from our own experiences, after a bout of time, sensual memory fades to a point where only the most extreme of sensual experiences are remembered. Luckily the HEIROPHANT, that is a Higher State of Conscious Energy, within our Tree of Life (our Spiral Pattern of Force and Form) gives us back our dimensional-Psyche "shewed" by downsizing our Psyche into self-conscious memories. Our Soul has Universal memories that are stored in the intelligence called Daath,"the invisible Sephiroth"; known in English as-Knowledge and that resides just above the Abyss on the Middle Pillar (shown as "the back of the head" of the human form/Tree of Life illustration). 

Obviously, to get to this point of inner-journey, we have to experience the "Dark Night of the Soul", achieving a pure "emptiness" so that we can be "refilled" or as I like to say, were we can claim our inheritance as the Divine Child of the One Collective Mind.

The HEIROPHANT awaits us all, and will fill to capacity, the thirsty student!

As a Divine Child, a Titan or Demi-urge, you are denied nothing that "ever was or will be", only you have the freedom to deny yourself! Thus, you should know that The Hierophant does not have Authority over your Spirit, your freedom of choice is still intact. From Creation, your True Name is "I AM" which constructs by perspective your objective self-conscious called "ME". You are the One Collective I  (All seeing eye) overseeing your self-identity constructs, but you have closed your "I's" to the other "selves" of your whole Psyche; not because you are bad, or in error, but because in order to become solid enough to form sensuality, you had to "down size" your Titanic identity (Christians call this "the fall"). The problem is  due to "the divide and conquer" rule of Theology and Government, we forgot we did this! Luckily, the Hierophant is the keeper of your Akashic records (Soul Library of "Selves"), and you need to just go "inward", where the eternal "I" resides, and therefore, "remember" your Divinity.

Upon examining the Thoth card, one notices that The Hierophant sits on a Bull (Taurus/Earth) between two elephants (eternal intelligence), holding a wand of three interlocking rings, symbolizing the Aeons of Isis, Osiris and Horus who is represented as the Child in the Pentagram. Beneath is the veiled "Scarlet Woman", who is shown riding the "Lion Serpent", unveiled and pure in the LUST CARD.The nine nails above, symbolize Vau, the linking of the above and the below (the nine Sephiroth below the 1 that is Kether, who is Darkness/unlimited Light.) The Manifested Spirit, passes along the "Window" (triangular ray of Light form the Scarlet woman upward) from the Microcosm to the Macrocosm.

Now all is not "sweetness and light" in The Hierophant, and most authorities on tarot agree that there are some unpleasant aspects to this Key. I would recommend that the serious student read the book by Richard Cavendish: THE TAROT, where the implications of this State of Energy Consciousness are very cleverly related to Gnosticism. He points out that the Demiurge, the Lesser Creator which rules over manifestation, was also known by the Gnostics as the "Great Deceiver", and that initiates of the Valentinian Gnostics were taught to ignore the authority of this one who is a type of "Librarian" and only has authority over its library. Truth is, there is only one authority over us, and that is our own inner Magus and/or "Will to be" and/or Freedom to Choose (Observer) and we get to experience freely, the consequences there of. Besides, Only slaves need saviors!

The Tarot of B.O.T.A., is also of the Hermetic Qabalah, but uses more traditional art to explain its Arcana.
The Hierophant-Key 5 of the B.O.T.A. tarot, uses the traditional medieval symbol of the Patriarch, a Pope.
The principle of this card is the function of hearing. The Hebrew letter Vau, meaning nail is shown at the bottom right of this card, and along with the ornament hanging from the crown and in the back of his ears, that is a conventionalized yoke, symbolizing union.

The principle of hearing, and union, produce a Yoga (Hindu word for Union/Communion) of internalized hearing, i.e. meditation or certain practices that develop intuition. Hence, the true Hierophant is your own "Inner Self" teaching the "outer Self".  Knowing intuition is important, for it is not clairaudience, which is a lower psychic type of  "extended physical hearing". The quality of Intuition, is that above reason, but never contrary to it, and it never urges you to do unethical or selfish things. It is about the Union of All things, therefore, "doing unto another as you would have done to you" goes along way in describing intuition as thought from the Inner Teacher.

The pillars beside the Pope figure, one with gold ornamentation (sun) and the other with silver ornamentation (moon) represents the  Law of Polarity and/or union of opposites.This representation of the Law of Polarity is carried forward, as the ball an socket pattern on the Capitals of the Throne.
The design of the wards of the crossed keys, is that of a bell, representing the vibration used in hearing while also reminding us that sound has a practical value in unlocking the gates to your own inner Temple.

The two ministers, one cloaked in red roses  and the other in lilies, represent the union of Desire and Knowledge.

When the HEIROPHANT card is thrown during a reading, the querent is experiencing:
  • The Principle of  learning and teaching which is a desire for making things tangible.
  • The querent maybe seeking guidance from a counselor who has knowledge and authority or is wishing to.
  • There is a choice here, of aligning oneself to a philosophy, religion and/or set of beliefs to which one feels a sense of loyalty.
  • Being free to disentangle one's-self from any belief system, the querent  still chooses to be involved.
  • There is an espousing of moral, ethical, and spiritual values which may attribute to oppressing others, especially when espousing orthodoxy.
  • There can be an inner sense of obedience to authority, imagined or otherwise, contributing to gullibility.
  •  Life is the teacher here, as the querent experiences growth through a meditative process of  Buddha-like  philosophy that views every experience as a lesson-learning opportunity.
  • The querent is experiencing divine wisdom.
  • Manifestation and explanation.
  • Teaching mainly in occult wisdom and/or seeking guidance in that area.
  • There is also a choice implied here, of self alignment to a particular philosophy, religion or a set of beliefs to which a great deal of loyalty is felt.
  • There is a marriage occurring between the Anima (Spirit) and Animus (Soul)/ Unconscious and Conscious.

Now if ill defined, this card implies:

  • Patriarchy and the resulting oppressive law of orthodoxy.
  • Some one acting as judge and jury, telling the querent how to morally be.
  • In general, conforming to the cultural indoctrination and surrendering responsibility to social codes of behavior.

Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper.

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