Tuesday, 19 August 2014

That Hierophant Chap

The Hierophant can be a tricksy fellow. He often comes up when people talk about a card they dislike or find hard to relate to. I've had an issue with this card myself (particularly this depiction) so wanted to look deeper. Even spellchecker isn't keen. In many decks Arcanum Five is The Pope, which can invite all kinds of associations depending on where you stand in a religious sense, and in the Rider Waite Smith, he still looks all stiff and proper.

We see him raised above a couple of acolytes, bestowing a blessing of sorts. He wears the fancy crown while they are bareheaded. I think it's this appearance of control that people don't like. As someone who has forever questioned authority, that's where my own hackles rise. Do I want to learn the lessons this person has for me? He doesn't look as though he'd listen to me, he'd just spout doctrine.

However, Waite and others did away with the stronger aspects of someone who is the conduit between the populace and God, and renamed him as one who interprets secret knowledge. Now that's more accessible....to a point. In this image though, he still looks rather aloof and in charge of those secrets. Many meanings tell of him standing for conformity, education, rules, society and belief systems. Sounds dull, doesn't he? Even when various meanings go on to speak of the learning of more spiritual things, I can't imagine this fellow and I having much in common. I once read that he could be thought of as the diligent deputy head master working hard behind the scenes, while the headmaster himself (The Emperor?) claims all the glory. Necessary but still dull.

Recently I was studying every little detail in this card and was drawn to his neat feet. Immediately he and I connected in a way we hadn't before. I thought his rather delicate looking slippers would be perfect for a little after service soft shoe shuffle with a glass of sherry. I was musing on these nifty tootsies the other night, when I was reminded of Hercule Poirot's 'mincing, rapid gait'. That's it! That's my Hierophant! Agatha Christie's little Belgian detective.

There are times when we need to turn to someone who knows more than us in a given area. Poirot certainly (and not without vanity) leaves us in no doubt of his knowledge.....but.....he is always hungry for more, and encourages us to share that hunger and enthusiasm. To me the crossed keys beneath The Hierophant signify what is locked as well as what can be opened with the right tools (Poirot's 'little grey cells'). 

We can't expect to know everything, or trust implicitly what a teacher tells us. We can though, use the keys to find out for ourselves. We can open up the past and take what we need from tradition; or open a new door and choose to take (and make) a fresh path.

Perhaps The Hierophant isn't as controlling as first thought? Things can only control us if we give them the power to do so. I often see the number Five as containing both a challenge and the solution for dealing with it. Here then, when I see The Hierophant and begin to tense, I can grab the keys of choice and make my own decisions.

.....and maybe enjoy a soft shoe shuffle with a glass of sherry ...

'Til next time,


The Original Rider Waite Tarot Deck, A E Waite, Pamela Coleman Smith

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Pen is Mightier than the Walther PPK


Lately in the Treewitch house we have been making our way through ALL the James Bond films. I love 007 and it's been a hoot going through them all (well maybe not Thunderball, that remains truly dreadful!). He spends an astonishing amount of time underwater, he crashes too many lovely cars and often gets bashed on the head whilst retrieving the Bollinger from the fridge. He has more *romantic* attachments than can be mentioned here, and he drops or loses his gun way more than an agent should. But there are a bunch of loyal companions who give Miss Moneypenny a run for her money and they are......his pens!
Bond's pens are always there when he needs them. They can drip acid strong enough to break through prison bars and shoot smoke into the eyes of the enemy. They are tracking devices and, as in the case of the fellow above, can cause one's adversary to spontaneously combust. Oh, the times I wanted one of those at school, I can tell you ;-)

The power of the pen comes to mind when I look at this depiction of the Seven of Swords in the DruidCraft Tarot. 
 Swords are associated with thoughts, words, ideas, debates - the realm of the mind. Here we have a weary chap writing by the light of a waning moon and an uncoiling taper. He is in possession of all seven swords, unlike other imagery where two are sometimes left behind. These all have different hilts so could they stand for different opinions? Are they a collection of ideas from our man, or from others? Perhaps the designs denote separate qualities - one could poison, another may contain a nifty GPS? (See what I did there!)

Words can be every bit as wounding as a physical weapon, and this figure has both, so maybe his strategy has outwitted his opponents. I wonder if he is writing a peace treaty....or is he holding the swords for ransom? Is he keeping them from wounding another?

Of course that feather could make a handy, or deadly, dart.

This can be a tricky card to interpret, especially out of context with other cards. I see all those Celtic spirals and knots and ask if they are thoughts winding and crossing, eventually making a pattern of sense.

A personal feeling here is one of at least trying to solve an issue with thoughts and words. I could think something through before speaking and perhaps say it out loud. I could write it down and read it back before hitting 'Send' .....interesting theory! I think we all have the ability to whip out those sharp swords, sometimes they're all we have to defend ourselves. They are necessary.

James Bond isn't known for his debating skills. Whatever undercover story he concocts, he's soon found out and, if he hasn't lost his handgun by this point, he shoots his way out of trouble. It's only when the bullets aren't at hand that he remembers his pen.

'Til next time ...

DruidCraft Tarot by Phillip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm

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Thursday, 7 August 2014

This Wheel's on Fire ...

...if your memory serves you well.... (with all due song credits to Richard Danko and Bob Dylan)

Four months and a smidge since my last blog post! I had just been getting into my stride as a blogger when Fortune's goodly Wheel turned alarmingly, and there I was ... tumbling off the bottom! Was I up to the riddles the sphinx from the Rider Waite Smith tarot had for me? Could I embrace the change, or would I resist and refuse to go with the flow?

The Summer hasn't quite gone according to plan and I have struggled to lift myself up and out of what has been a gloomy time. I consider myself a lucky person, a friendly person; I live as spiritual life as I am able. I'm sensitive. Events over the last few months have seen my view from the upper parts of the wheel change. Still, hurts are healing, the smile is in place, the lippie is on.
 So as my own personal wheel winds up and I cling on with hopes of happier times, I thought I'd look through a few decks for their take on Trump X. The beautiful DruidCraft has a woman drawing a wheel of protection. She's even using a wheel-shaped pendulum to help her, and there's a safe and secluded cave into which she can retreat.

 The deliciously dark Deviant Moon Wheel shows a gypsy figure turning the wheel and delivering messages to a shocked looking recipient.
A glorious sphinx from the Crystal Tarot wielding a sword of truth....or dare?
Or a blue dragon from the charming Old English Tarot! I love how the tilled land below takes on a 'this way, that way' feel from wherever you may be spinning. 
The Aquarian Tarot shows an exotic figure who IS the wheel, perhaps showing our inner tides and turbulence.
Then there is the medicine wheel from the Wild Unknown Tarot - with not a sphinx but an owl, questioning and observing. We turn through night and day as we attach our ribbons of wishes.

I feel some confidence returning with the turning of the wheel and as we begin to leave the Summer behind and head into Autumn, my world is righting itself once more.

Wishing you the brightest blessings wherever you are on your personal wheel.

'Til next time,