THE THOTH-HIEROPHANT- Key 5, Compared to the Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 5- THE POPE:
In the Hermetic Qabalah, The Hierophant represents the Path of Vau (Nail or
Hook), and also is the 16th path, on the Tree of
Life. leading from Chesed (mercy) to Chokmah (wisdom) and is known as
the Eternal Intelligence,
a phrase coined by the renowned Hermetical Dr. Paul Foster Case.
The Path of Vau is the uppermost
path, red of color, on the Pillar of Mercy (Right hand Path). In the Golden Dawn
texts, this path is described as, "The Zodiac acting through Taurus
. Here, Chokma, the 2nd Sephiroth, is Jupiter, and his action is the spermatic
potential of the Manifested Universe- Chesed, the 4th Sephiroth, who is the Yod
(Microprosopus), that is the The Father in Manifestation,
while Chokmah (the
Yod of the Macrocosm/Macroprosopus) is the Supernal Father.
the Path of the Hierophant is a powerfully masculine
Force), to which the Bull-Taurus is applied as the image definitively
applied to this card; Being "Fixed Earth", this is a stable foundation; a
stabilizing extreme. This is the absolute foundation of the process of
where the inherited Knowing
of the Creator, THE Great Father
is expressing It's experience through the Supreme Spiritual Self
Personality or Ego (Whole Self) of Tiphareth (The Sun of Beauty). Thus,
memory is involved and the solid foundation of "Above all things, Know
is established as an Universal Inheritance for the Divine
Child/Son of God, which is our Androgynous Soul/Psyche.
The meaning of the Hebrew word Vau,
is nail or hook, implying a nailing together, or binding, and links the
Macrocosm (The Great Universe) and Microcosm (Manifestation), and/or
The Greater Self to the Lesser Self of matter, forever linking us to the
Illustrated card from: Ask the Kabala-oracle cards by: Depak Chopra & Michael "Zappy" Zapolin with Alys R. Yablon
The letter Vau or Vav, has the meaning of nail or hook and is the simple letter for hearing. The Hebrew story that Vau tells is:
a man or woman who commits any of man's sins, by committing treachery
toward God and that person shall become guilty-they shall confess the
sin that they committed he shall make restitution for his guilt in its
principle amount and add unto it a fifth and give it to the one to whom
he is indebted.
Jewish concept of atonement and confession in which a person is
dishonest regarding financial issues---as an affront to both the victim
and God and where God requires the sinner to repent, confess and pay
back the money he's stolen with interest before forgiveness is
given.....seems rather odd in this placement on the Tree of Life ( Vau
leads from Chessed to Chokmah and is the uppermost Path on the Pillar of
Mercy). But consider this----earthly sins ( survival mind errors) block
our perceptions so that we cannot expand and liberation our self
conscious to that of our Soul.
The fact that the Golden Dawn documents
describe this path
as, "The Zodiac acting through Taurus upon Jupiter,
" may shed some light on this word Vau
. Esoterically, this is the action
of Chokmah, as the spermatic potential of the manifest universe, upon
the first manifestation. Chokmah as Chessed (mercy) is the Father in
Mercy, being the clue here
. To walk the Path of Vau, can
only be done with a "clean slate" and this requires self-honesty and
trusting the mercy of your creator and that is best done by recognizing
our short comings and confessing them to our Inner- Higher Self. This gets the
blocks out of the way, opening up the "River of Mercy" so that it may
flow, washing away slave based guilt and revive us as the First Person of the Macrocosm
(Chessed) who entered into the Microcosm (Chessed is the Yod of the
Microcosm--Yod, being the Intelligence of Will)
. What may come as a
surprise to most of us, is that We ARE Spirit-
-That flows as "E-Motion" and who makes bodies alive! As Energy in motion "to be", we have sought "enfleshenment" but in order to do so we have had to
"Walk down the Tree of Life" (becoming more condensed) to arrive in the realm of Malkuth
(Kingdom), the place of physical manifestation. All for Sensual Reasons of Discernment!
Now we must do the laborious task of "Expanding and Liberating" the
"earthly consciousness" of the microcosm by remembering our Macro cosmic
Conscious-Higher Self, WHILE STILL MAKING A MANIFESTATION OF FLESH "ALIVE"!
In other words, Spiritual Conscious Self Awareness
Aware of It-Self! Tough job, when you remember that the "animal mind"
is a survival mind---all based on good and bad ("what doesn't hurt and
what does hurt")
right and wrong ("what will get me punished and what
won't get me punished"
In order to walk back up ( In Qabalah-up is inward and down is outward) through the various conscious
states of our Energy Conscious Flow, we must divorce ourselves,
piecemeal, from the Survival thinking processes that limit the
perspectives (sight and its "selves" known as hearing, speaking, touching etc,) of the physical
self conscious. To expand perspectives is to "open the mind" and we need
to banish our guilt generated by the social "preying on each other" in order to avoid pain.
Fear of discomfort is the "foundation" from which we direct our physical
lives. To confront our "fear of
pain" , to reach atonement (at-one-ment) is to face our errors and "
to correct them in the Mercy of God". We must become one with the "Divine Architect", the Mind of Chesed.
[Agustus Caesar Pontifex Maximus]
The Qabalistic Path of Vau---The Hierophant Tarot card,
is the Pontifex, the "bridge-maker"
who provides a connecting link between outer experience and interior
We combine the self-conscious of
"enfleshenment" with the Self Conscious of Enlightenment by nailing them
together on this Path of Atonement/confession. Our Soul needs to shed
the illusion of survival thinking, so that it can claim its Immortal
Inheritance; all this while still keeping a mortal body! Here We not only
unite the "As above and so Below", symbolized by the Pentagram, which is
also the symbol for the "Ascended Man"----i.e. the fleshy conscious
united with the"light" conscious as a complete SELF-Conscious!
Yes, this is Not as
easy as it sounds, and a lot of self examination is required. Hence, in
order to remember ourselves as the "The Child of Divine Parents" (The
"Spermatic Word/Logos" of God Impregnated the Egg of Binah----and we are the
of Goddess/God---The Horus--The living Suns/Sons )
we must "walk
up" the Paths of the Tree of Life, one step at a time or should I say One step of 78 (total number of tarot cards) at a time.
A lot to think
about here, so do your research, meditations and be diligent in "seeing
your error,\and correcting that error" for only then can we become
"Wisdom". We expand and liberate self-by releasing confining
perspectives of self identity that fear imposes and we can do this to the point of being the "Greater Self"- MANIFESTED!
THE HIEROPHANT is related to teaching
which relates Higher ideas into Lower organisms that is often called,
"As above so below". The Hierophant is a state of conscious energy that
is the Only source for our understanding of the inner Spirit/Spiral
energy conscious. Again, this "Magus of the Eternal" is stated by Paul Foster
Case in his text," THE THIRTY TWO PATHS OF WISDOM:, as being the," ....Pontifex, the 'bridge maker' who provides a connecting link between outer experience and interior illumination
Thus, the Hierophant gets the discriminating experience of the
Body-operating-Personality, while teaching that very same Personality
it's inherited Divinity. Thus,The Hierophant can be said to "Learn by
Teaching". Therefore, the Eternal Intelligence
can be called
"Life" and the Reasoning behind manifestation and implies that a teacher
who learns from his students, is a great teacher, i.e. Life learns from the "alive".
Crowley's main concept was the
of the Fifth- Key-, using the corner symbols of the Four Kerubiim
(Guiding collective intelligence of the Four Elements) as the tentative
expressions of the primordial Elements of Kether (Crown) that are passed
down to Chokmah as the Sphere of the Zodiac. Interestingly, we think of
the Zodiac as 12 signs, but it is really four ternaries, where each
element is broken down to three signs. To the
Qabalist, this relates to Yod
(Window) and Vau
Administrator to the emerging duality that is Chokmah
male-female, electric-magnetic) is the Hierophant
and is given form or
structure by Binah (Great Mother) which begins as manifestation below
the Abyss (Dark Energy and Dark Matter) in Chesed (Mercy). Thus relating
to Tiphareth (Beauty-Synchronicity), the central point of
manifestation. This relationship is shown in two ways, first as the
letter Vau, which is related to "The Son" (Androgynous Child of God) ,
and Tetragrammaton; the second is the number 6 itself is related to Sun/
Tiphareth. Crowley shows this by the Pentagram on the chest of the
Hierophant as the four elements are combined under the fifth
element-Spirit, thus forming the 5 pointed star. The Pentagram image,
confirms the Great Work known as "As above, so Below", a process in
which the symbolic Moon always is a key part. For the Moon is both
above and below the Sun on the Tree of Life, as it is both implied as
Yesod (Foundation) and is the Path of the High Priestess
and is exalted in Taurus.
Let us not forget that Taurus is also ruled by Venus, referring us to the Empress,
the Path of Daleth, between Chokmah and Binah. THE EMPRESS is Mother
Nature, and/or the fertilized Universal Consciousness that is the
foundation of the HIEROPHANT'S teaching.
THE HIEROPHANT'S teaching
is intuitive, as it is on the "feeling" side of the Tree of Life (
Venus-Netzach side), applying intuition to concepts collected by reason
and built up by memory.Therefore, a powerful skrying can be achieved by corresponding the Empress with the Hierophant.
3-The Empress & 5-The Hierophant:
astrological sign, Taurus , is the position of The Hierophant and the
astrological planet for the The Empress, is Venus. The Hierophant is the Form,"I have". While the Motion of the Empress is, "I seek myself through what I have". Here Motion and Form associate well, and the correspondence is easily understood.
- The Rune Stone correspondence with the Hierophant is Febu, the stone of ambition, fulfillment, possessions, and cattle.The Rune Stone for the Empress is Berkana, the rune of growth, fertility, and new life.
associated colors are the Primary Red-Orange: and lesser colors of
brown, peach. This is in correspondence to the Root Chakra, the Chakra
of vital energy or Life Force which governs the instincts,
survival, health, sexuality, sensuality ....all related to body health.
The crystalline stones associated with this correspondence are, Dravite, uvite, buergerite, tsilaisite, petrified wood, lodestone, meteorite, staurolite, tigereye, barite, red-orange and brown chalcedony.
- Musical notes also correspond to the cards and The Hierophant is C# while The Empress is F#.
- The Qabalistic Hebrew letters for the Hierophant are the simple letter---Hearing. The Tree of Life Path is Vah,(The Triumphal or Eternal Intelligence). The symbolic meaning is the Nail or Hook.
- The Double letter for The Empress is ---Wisdom-Folly and the Path is Daleth, the Illuminating Intelligence. The symbolic meaning is Door.
plant essences for The Hierophant are: Thyme,Cardamom, Bois de Rose and
for The Empress the plants are: Ylang-ylang, Vanilla, and Rose.
Psychic Energy derived from this association is that of Artists and
Artisans---which is the ability to manifest in physical medium what is
from the inner- sight. This is any art form from fashion to
painting, drawing, cooking, carpentry and is always a harmonious
expression of inner- self and outer creation.
Hierophant and The Empress correspond to all of our emotions, physical
energy, survival instincts, memory, and maintain the bodies vital
functions. These cards correspond in many more subtle ways. But for
those who practice magic-meditation requiring a harmonic union with the
Association these cards represent and to empower the bodies vitality.
Therefore, I have given you more than enough to incorporate into a
successful ritual. Sight, smell, sound and herbs plus the Mandala of the
- On the Qabalistic Tarot of Thoth and the Tree of Life,between the Macrocosm [Macroprosopus] and the Microcosm [Microprosopus] stands the Hierophant Key 5-which is the Eternal Intelligence.
As stated, but never overstated: The Hebrew word Vau, that is attributed to the Hierophant, means nail or hook, which is appropriate as the Eternal Intelligence
fixes the process of absolute revelation; it is the foundation, the
base of experience between the Supreme Spiritual Self and the Ego of
Tiphareth, of which memory is considered as one aspect. Hence the nine
nails shown above the Hierophant.All that we ARE is forever woven into the Divine Spirit (The Spirit/Psyche of The Universal Divine Collective Unconscious) by the binding Eternal Intelligence that is the Hierophant. The Hierophant links the "As above, so below"; the Sun and the Moon.The Golden Dawn describes the Hierophant as "The Zodiac acting through Taurus upon Jupiter",
thus making this card a powerfully masculine Path upon which the
Chariot, which carries the soul across the abyss, travels this celestial
rode that is the Path of Vau. As all of you who follow my blog know, I have mentioned and examined the Thoth Deck Tarot in many ways. Not
because of confusion, but because of the Multidimensional nature of the
Energy Intelligence their images represent.The Hierophant links the Great Universe with manifestation which alone requires books of explanation. The 78 Tarot Cards, are this book or rather the "flash cards" of Self.
What surprises many students is the knowledge that the Hierophant is not just a teacher but the ONLY TEACHER!
He is the "Magus of the Eternal" (The "Inner Teacher"). The Thoth Deck
Hierophant does great justice to this concept as it is so full of symbol as the Divine Architect,
students will write essays for centuries.
You will notice that in the Crowley/Harris representation of this Thoth card, there is a pentagram on the Hierophant's chest that encloses a Child.
- The Pentagram is the symbol of the "ascended man", it represents the union of Air, Earth, Fire, Water and the Spirit.
Child within represents the Child Horus; the enlightened human persona
of the future the Psyche of the Divine Hermaphrodite.
- The figure of the Hierophant is that of a Titan.
below him is the feminine figure of "The Scarlet Woman"--the Red/Dark
Moon. Helps to remember that Black is really the Darkest of Reds.
him are the corners of this card are the Elemental Kerubim who
symbolize the primordial elements of Kether which pass down to Chokmah
as the Spheres of the Zodiac that is now grounded in manifestation.
- The three ringed Key in his hand represents the Aeon of Isis, Osiris and Horus.
There is so much meaning
here that great study is required. Leave it to say, that the Hierophant
is the administrator of the duality which emerges with Chokmah as it is
structured by Binah, and which begins as manifestation below the Abyss
as Chessed and is thus related to Tiphareth (The Child Horus- The new
Aeon) who is the central point of manifestation. The Hierophant is The Great Teacher who also learns by teaching, therefore teaching is part of the study here. Remember, your "alive" body, teaches the Life that is Spirit/Soul by the process of discernment, that only mortality can give the Immortal Being!
The window behind his head
, that Crowley called an Oriel,
is the passageway for manifest spirit between Macrocosm and Microcosm.
If you wish to be enlightened by the Teaching Intelligence of the Great
Universal Self----meditate on this card! 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 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
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.
the oriel is diaphanous; looking closely, you can see before the
Manifestor of the Mystery (Arcanum means, mystery) 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.
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/Isis, the ruler of the sign of Taurus.
Scarlet Woman (The Blood Grail) 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.
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.
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
(whose shape it resembles),
relates to memory; memory binds together, as does the nail.
The Hierophant is considered to be the Triumphal or Eternal Intelligence
and is the solid base of experience between the Supreme Spiritual Self
and the Soul-Ego of Tiphareth. Memory is one aspect of this ; however
the Primary function of The Hierophant is to link the Macrocosm and the
Microcosm and 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 it is related to teaching, not
only the action of teaching but also the reaction of 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 physical 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 Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 5: THE POPE,
was an enigmatic figure, that was not intended to suggest Christian orthodoxy.
With many reservations, did the scholars associate the Tarot Pope with that of the Christian Church.
Often it was said that associating the Tarot Pope, to organized religion, was to objectively recommend that one go deeper into Self for truth.
One classical example of great significance, as depicted on Barbara's card, is the showing of the "pillars of the church", that are behind the Pope, supporting nothing at all.
There was a 13th Century Gnostic belief that the Pope Tarot was numerically associated with the Devil (seen peering out behind the right pillar), because he was linked with Jehovah of the Roman Church, who was a considered a demon who only made the world to trap souls in it.
Early French cards, depicted the Hierophant/Pope as Jupiter,
to match the Papess, Juno [Kaplan, 155].
In other tarotpacks, the Pope became the god Bacchus, who was shown wrapped in grape vines, straddling a wine barrel, and drinking from a bottle. Bacchus, although a Greek god, was widely worshiped in medieval Europe, all the way up to the 19th century.
The Tarot Pope, was also called the Grand Master, or Gypsy Prince, thereby associating him with magic and the Logos. In fact, Pope Leo III, author of the Enchiridion and Pope Honorus III, purported author of the Constitution of Honorius, were noted practitioners of the "black arts".
Inthe grimoire, the Constitution of Honorius, were listed many magical charms and the 72 secret names of god, whereby giving the practitioner of the art, the power to create miracles. Reinforcing the belief that the real power of a Pope rested in knowing these 72 names. Keeping the ancient belief in "name magic" alive and well in medieval Europe. For it was well known that from the earliest times, ancient Egyptian and Hindu priests, pretended to control their god's by using spoken mantra's of secret names. Even Mohammedans thought that Allah could be forced to grant or answer any prayer if his 99 secret names were pronounced. In the same vain, Christians believed, that if a Priest preformed a special mass of the Holy Spirit, using secret names of god, god could be compelled. Therefore establishing the notions of the verbal powers of ecclesiastics which became part of the Church's own doctrine of the keys. The keys to heaven are shown on the front of the Pope's dais, on the Barbara Walker Tarot Card and in the hand of the Thoth Hierophant.
Long before the Christian pontiff expounded the doctrine of the keys, it was common among most pagan religions, where a high priest often impersonated the celestial key-holder at the gates of heaven.
The supreme pontiff, Pater Patri, of the Roman followers of Mithras,
was believed to hold the keys of heaven and hell. The name Pater Patri, was gradually corrupted to papa and then onto Pope. Peter is also a corruption of the Mithraistic name. If one wishes to go into deeper investigation of the Roman legend of Peter, they will find the curious tradition of Peter, Pater or Petra, acting as keeper of the keys of the underworld, long before Christianity darkened the library doors of history.
The depth of etymological use of the word Petra (rock of ages) goes way back into history, for even the Egyptian's had a "spirit of the obelisk", called Petra, considered the same rock pillar worshiped by the Edomites at the holy city of Petra. The Petra or "peter", seems to have been the phallus of Jupiter, the "holy begetter'' that was derived from the Aryan god, Dyaus Pitar. One could write a book about this, and Barbara Walker has, in her , The Secrets of the Tarot.
The sacred bridge between heaven and earth, was called by the Romans, the Sacred Palladium and or the sceptre of Priam, as shown on the Barbara Walker Pope card. The sacred tiara of the Pope is also linked to the phallic hats of the ancient priests called the apex.
She also uses the two monks kneeling before the Pontiff, as seen on many medieval cards. They represent the opposite aspects of ourselves, conscious/unconscious, Anima and Animus, Sun and Moon, both united as one, when listening to the "Inner Teacher".
When the Hierophant card is thrown:
- The querent is experiencing divine wisdom.
- Manifestation and explanation.
- Teaching mainly in occult wisdom and/or seeking guidance in that area.
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).
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.
as with all Thoth Deck Cards, by scrolling back through my many blogs,
you will see more information about the Hierophant, especially in part
1. There is always layer upon layer of knowledge to these cards as they
represent at the very least, ten dimensions of conscious energy
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!