ATU V The Hierophant



Atu V: The Hierophant

Letter: ו Vau (V, F, W)

Number: 6

Proximity: Sephira #2 (Chokmah) to Sephira #6 (Tiphareth)

Ruling Pentagram:

Pent #16  “Eternal” – Air of (K’un) The Receptive, Earth (Above, Below)

Air of (Kun) The Receptive, Earth (Without, Within)

Berashith: “Elohim made two luminaries”

Corner Hexagrams:

(Upper right) Fire: Hex #20: (Kuan) Contemplation/View

(Lower left) Air: Hex #19: (Lin) Approach

(Upper left) Water: Hex #33: (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, (Chokmah,) 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, as 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 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.
     What is this arbitrary morality we speak of? Some examples from history include the condemnation of sex before “Church” recognized marriage, whereas in the natural world marriage occurs in every conscious act of union between Yin and Yang flux. Another example is the restriction on sexual activity to a single partner. This does not reflect nature – the decision to be made between monogamy and multiple partners is an instinctual one, it is never enforced in any animal species except for Man.
     We can look to nature to get an idea of what is a core universal morality. The Book of the Law informs us that Will is the law.  
That any magick or act of Will will work, seems to be a fairly popular view of things…I’ve seen it expressed before by others. I can’t agree that it´s quite that simple. Not in my experience at least. One has to strike a balance between what one believes and who one actually IS in order to derive the maximum benefit that magick has to offer. It´s not so simple a matter as belief in itself, though belief is a vital ingredient. But there is something that goes beyond belief that will overrule belief in a heartbeat if belief stands in violation to this principle or property…of True Self, I suppose… And this we do not always understand at first attempt, nor can belief alone lead us to it properly. This we have to discover on its own basis and come to terms with in relation to those things which we believe. It is this mysterious universal hidden Law that our Hierophant stands for.

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 Sephiroth, or Tree of Life, and the Hidden Diamond Sutra 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, who is to be considered the intelligence and analyzer of the net.
     The hierophant is holy beyond all petty grappling, and beyond the arbitrary morality that is the foundation of many human-founded dogmas. The rules he upholds 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.