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Friday, May 28, 2010

Tarot Study: The Empress~3, The Emperor~4, And The Hierophant~5

This is the second installment featuring my write-ups of a Tarot study that I did on Aeclectic Tarot using the Robin Wood deck back in '07. Please see the first post regarding this study: Tarot Study: The Fool~0, The Magician~1, And The High Priestess~2. And please remember, my viewpoints may have, tho' not necessarily, changed since that time.

May 9, 2007 ~ The Empress (3)
Being a handspinner by profession myself, and seeing the Empress twisting yarn on a New Zealand-made, Ashford Traditional spinning wheel, gave me much joy and perhaps a bit of a chuckle. How could someone like myself not feel connected to this woman?!

In my dictionary, "empress": a woman who holds an imperial title in her own right. Thinking about that definition, I'm guessing Robin's Empress isn't spinning as a profession or because she has other words, this Empress isn't spinning because she *needs* cloth for her clothes...she's spinning because she wants to. Because it's soothing and meditative. Because it grounds her to the earth and in her case, to her people. It connects her to her ancestors...all those who came before her and to whom she is linked by the yarn she spins. And hey, when she's done spinning, she's indeed produced something useful...this IS a practical Empress, after all. Perhaps she can use the yarn to knit something lovely for the baby she carries. Despite her rank, she's a humble, kind and nurturing person...who like the High Priestess in Robin's deck, is not pretentious or snooty.

Lush growth and abundance surrounds the Empress. For me it represents the overflow of joy already present in her own heart. And speaking of hearts, the heart on the Beech demonstrates to me that all those around her have been the lucky recipients of her love. Going back to Robin's definitions of symbols used in Tarot cards (Chapter 3), I see that the Beech tree represents "gracefulness, beauty, stillness, peace, old knowledge, ancient wisdom...," ALL things associated with such an Empress, not to mention the task she's performing at her wheel and the mountains that rise in the distance behind her.

When this card comes up in my own readings, I'm reminded that tho' I may not be rich $-wise, I am more than wealthy in countless other ways.

May 10, 2007 ~ The Emperor (4)
Robin's Emperor seems a great pairing with her Empress. Whilst the Empress appears wise and knowing inside, the Emperor looks like he's not kept ANYTHING inside over the years. He also appears to me to be willing to stand up and vocalize/act upon what he believes in, no matter what the consequences.

From a looks standpoint, the Emperor reminds me of a lion...especially with how his hair, both facial and that on his head, flows around his face. Yet, his stern eyes have a certain sense of kindness. Whatever the Emperor makes a decision upon, one can be sure he's being as fair as he knows how.

The Emperor's throne appears to be set amongst the highest of mountains. He is someone to look up to, to respect and to count on. Make no mistake, he is not one to shy away from anyone or anything.

May 11, 2007 ~ The Hierophant (5)
With my roots having begun firmly in the Catholic church, Robin's "Hierophant" is a card that interests me greatly. After reading the chapter in her book on the Hierophant, I can relate personally to so much of what she experienced herself as a Catholic and how it has affected her depiction of a church "leader" in this card.

However, perhaps unlike Robin, I can say I did learn much of value in Catholicism that I have retained despite being Spiritual/Wiccan. Many of my teachers in parochial school were nuns and yes, some of them were beyond awful. But several were as kind, caring, insightful and encouraging as anyone could ever want as an instructor. Therefore, when the Hierophant pops up in one of my readings, I don't necessarily see only the bad side of organized religion. When it comes down to it, when the Hierophant appears in a reading, it depends on the question asked, the spread used, where the card falls in the spread and what I'm personally seeing as I read at that moment. Judging from Robin's book, I'm guessing she would not be displeased at all with this, but instead would applaud me for going with my own intuition.

Jax, Canadian Tarot reader, mentions that the Hierophant card can address teaching/learning of various kinds and in various ways. When it comes up in a reading, perhaps it may mean that I need to look at something from a different angle or try an alternate approach to understand. It may mean I need to search for a different teacher or methodology. It may mean I need to diligently continue the course of study I'm on...or possibly not (especially if I see the Hierophant as Robin intended him to be when she drew him)... There are so many ways and in so many instances we learn in life. There are scores of people (and even animals) who are or can be our teachers...if we take time to listen. This card makes me aware of this. It helps me to know when to walk away, when necessary OR when to stay, if something of value is being shared.

I can say without a doubt, that I've seen church leaders look JUST LIKE the guy pictured as the Hierophant...sour, pompous, full-of-self-importance, smug and dry...dry and withered like someone who hasn't lived life as it was meant to be lived. And maybe one of the worse traits of all was a priest who was judgmental, self-righteous and unforgiving...acting as if his position as priest gave him the right to act as God or do as he damn well pleased. Not a forgiving God, but a fire and brimstone kind of God, minus any kinder, gentler side. A priest who was above the laws...laws of nature, laws of humans, laws of the land...

And tho' the altar boys...for there were no altar girls in my early days...did not have monk-like hairstyles as shown in the card, they did look a lot like the two shown in the forefront. Often when I see the little boy smiling on Robin's card, it makes me think of when I saw altar boys obviously sharing a joke during mass...boys just being boys...for that's what they are. Now, knowing what we all know regarding the news of abused children at the hands of priests and church leaders, I pray that none of those boys I remember fell into the hands of such evil.

So, the Hierophant card brings back many memories for me, both bad and good...a powerful card, indeed.

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