Atu V: The Hierophant
Letter: ו Vau (V, F, W)
Proximity: Sephira #2 (Chokmah) to Sephira #6 (Tiphareth)
Pent #16 “Eternal” – Air of 坤 (K’un) The Receptive, Earth (Above, Below)
Air of 坤(Kun) The Receptive, Earth (Without, Within)
Berashith: “Elohim made two luminaries”
(Upper right) Fire: Hex #20: 觀 (Kuan) Contemplation/View
(Lower left) Air: Hex #19: 臨 (Lin) Approach
(Upper left) Water: Hex #33: 遯 (Tun) Retreat
(Lower right) Earth: Hex #34: 大壯 (Ta Chuang) Power of the Great
Keywords (Dignified): Knowledge, Propriety, Wisdom, Strength, Marriage, Mastery, Equilibrium, Mystery, Power, Demonstrative, Judicial, Advisory, Spirituality, Morality, Instructional, Exemplary, Interpretive, Ancestral, Transitional
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Gullibility, Arrogance, Pomposity, Complacency, Dogmatism, Religious Extremism.
Historical: The Hierophant card is one of several paths that have been positioned incorrectly according to the Proximity Principle of Mutational Alchemy. In both the Golden Dawn and Thoth systems it is usually placed between Sephira #3 (Binah) and Sephira #6 (Tiphareth) and assigned the Hebrew letter/number Vau (6). Vau is the 6th letter in the Hebrew alphabet and should logically correspond to the 6th Proximity Principal path between Sephira #2 (Chokmah) and Sephira #6 (Tiphareth). Since paths are often numbered 11–32, its positional placement is path #16, the same as its corresponding Pentagram.
Golden Dawn: Called The Hierophant (Magus of the Eternal Gods), the Hierophant card corresponds to the zodiacal Taurus and places between Sephira #2 (Taurus) and Sephira #4 (Chesed) in the Golden Dawn system. The Hierophant sits enthroned between two pillars adorned with an eclectic assortment of symbols from numerous arcane sources, lacking any certain continuity of purpose, making it one of the more obscure cards in the entire deck. It appears as a chaotic fusion of esoteric icons in general, somehow representing the union of macrocosm with microcosm with an underpinning emphasis on syncretism as the median of all other spiritual paths and disciplines.
Thoth: Crowley upgrades the symbolism of this card somewhat, apparently attempting to preserve its *priestly* characteristics but still retaining its bewildering incontinuity. In a fairly whimsical rewrite of its former properties, it is hailed as a Priest of Horus under the guise of the New Aeon as Crowley envisioned it. Much of the problem here is that there have been too many competing ideas over time as to what the Hierophant should be; some tending towards a papal character, others a learned priest, still others some sort of macrocosmic Holy Guardian Angel and so on down the line. Crowley changes the Hierophant’s clothing and allegiances but does very little to resolve these underpinning confusions.
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: The Hierophants of old is where we should turn to sort out what the Hierophant of today should be. It is no wonder it seems impossible to stabilize this archetype in the awkward tatters of Eurocentric rags and symbols as it is coming down to us from a much older tradition than any of these things to begin with! To make matters even worse, the ancient Hierophants wrote nothing down! Their traditions were secretive and oracular. Despite the fact that they produced the Eleusinian Mysteries over an unbroken span of nearly 3000 years (by some accounts) we have almost nothing of their practices or philosophy left to us. Their most powerful records are embedded in the images they worshipped and this is where we will find them, in the form of Mithras (also Aion) itself. Its quaternary hexagrams speak of Coming and Going, of Contemplation and of Power in the grandest sense of the term. That it continues the work of uniting Macrocosm and Microcosm is consistent with its imagery, but we are better off to consult that imagery as directly as possible and leave off the poor pretentious middle-men, uncomfortable in their clothing as much as in their skins.
The Hierophant is unique in that its Reciprocal Inverse is the planet Jupiter itself, so we have not lost our connection to Jupiter for having corrected its path from Sephiroth 2-4 to the more defensible Sephiroth 2-6. Along with this upgrade it is high time we update its imagery as well.
The Scene: The Hierophant here is AION, a mysterious lion headed figure associated with the Mithraic mystery school with roots going back into ancient Persia where he was known as Zervan.
On his staff the word Abrahadabra is written, and the staff connects the tree and the diamond together, symbolizing his unifying effect on mind and matter.
The brilliant diamond light of the mezla is his abode, and in the background the net of consciousness unites and orders the universe. This also connects back to the Priestess card, who is to be considered the intelligence and analyzer of the net.
The hierophant is holy beyond all petty grapplng with morality that is the foundation of many human-founded dogmas. The rules here are rooted only in universal law and necessity. Called the God of Infinite Time, or Zervan Akanara by the Neo-Persians, he can easily be equated to the Roman Saturn.
The Hierophant had to be retrieved out of the dirt in which he was left for centuries and this newly revised edition should always be viewed with an eye on whole universe and completely unbound from the context of a human centric world view. Whole universe and beyond is his charge to balance economically, and, nothing less than that.