Major Arcana: The Hierophant

Major Arcana: The Hierophant

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  1. The Story Unfolds:

    Having left the Imperial court, the Fool happens upon an older man of veneration and esteem.  The Hierophant, known to some as the Pope, has a reputation among the young as a stern and unyielding taskmaster.  Still, the Fool sees that despite his sternness, there is much to be learned from the wise old teacher.

    The General Meaning:

    When the Hierophant appears in a reading, he is calling you to heed the counsel of history and tradition.  While there is much to be said for carving one’s own path in the world, the smart traveler does not dismiss an idea simply because it’s old.  The smart traveler takes the wisdom of the past and integrates it into his own understanding, creating a new wisdom to be passed down to future generations.

    The Message:

    At this point in our journey, it is tempting to leave behind all traces of the past and forge a completely new trail through the wilderness.  It is one of the profound urges of humans to create their own destiny, to tell their own story.  Once a bit of independence is gained, often with the approval (and sometimes insistence) of the parental figures, it is disheartening to then be told that you must adhere to some ancient and seemingly arbitrary set of rules.

    It is true that many of the rules and customs we abide by are simply relics of a time no longer relevant to our needs.  But it is also important to remember that some things survive merely because they work.  The job of the traveler is to sift through the things of the past, respectfully and thoughtfully, and use those things that ring of Truth and Wisdom to move forward.

    There are those who say you must slavishly follow the rules and traditions set forth by your ancestors, at the peril of your immortal soul.  There are those who say the old ways are merely superstition and social control disguising itself as faith.

    Do not listen to either of these groups, for the purpose of the journey is not to blindly follow the edicts of others but to follow the destiny set before you at the beginning of the road.  At times, the traditions of your ancestors may be your best counsel, a beacon of stability in a wild and unknown territory.  At other times, you may feel as if the chains of history are unbearably heavy, choking you off from even the hint of free expression.  The decision is yours.  The responsibility is yours, so choose wisely and use every resource you have to make the best decisions you can make.

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