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No. 6

Gain a Tao

Tarot 6: The Pope and the Hierophant

LoA symbol of pure hatred turned religion

Popes were rarely saints, but they were trained for and in a position to express hovering wisdom.

The figure does not always look like a "pope" - but is a "hierophant", which is old Greek for someone who reveals mysterious matters.

He is sitting with hand raised in blessing - a thing that comes with the office. Otherwise, there is a risk of a fall - that of becoming a seller, a salesman.

As a temporal ruler he would have been seen as a potential threat to political competitors.

A pair of cardinals or acolytes (attendants, followers) in front if he is enthroned, but not always There is a sense of formal religion and maybe not delight.

The triple tiara represent some jurisdiction over own territory, of the world and - at least - the spiritual world.

The Pope brings celestial fire and is a cleanliness champion too, at least officially.

The Pope is known as the High religious figure, sitting; he represents punishment or reward later, in future times. There may be envy, suspicion, and often hatred. ⬦

His sincerity or great bridge-function could influence after-death Judgments.

Behind keys he holds are urges to express or understand brimming and subtle nature.

It could also be we are being told to learn.

LoBlessings from enthroned ones may be purely ceremonial or ritual - and thus of low rank

A well seated or enthroned figure, in the garbs or role of a Great Teacher of Mysteries giving an official (here: papal) blessing, for his office holds keys to those "things". He is not just a bystander. ⬦ The blessing leader prepares a way. ⬦

LoA perpetrator of "power to the position", most likely

The wise teacher or initiator has been chosen to the position or office he or she holds. He or she could be a wise or helpful person in robes appropriate to the status brimming with guidance in spiritual matters and concerns. ⬦

Surrounded by reverence and respectful awe the Pope was not always a nice guy: he could also be a formidable foe, said to be attuned to high and great justice.

The Pope represents spiritual power in an office in charge of beliefs and regulated conduct. ✪

He is someone who has good advice for you, and considerable advice too, even showing off while giving it.

The pope is also representing a formidable estate of man, and manifestating a call for deep Kyrie-reverential awe, although s still subject to death and judgement.

Someone telling others to learn something and also to "harvest life duly or well" for future good to come could also fit. ⬦



  1. A symbol of pure hatred turned religion: millions were persecuted by the Papal Great Inquisition, for example.
  2. Blessings from enthroned ones may be purely ceremonial or ritual - and thus of low rank. Ceremonialism is not all there is to life.
  3. A perpetrator of "power to the position" gives advice that makes other adhere to the faith he or she derives benefits from, including garbs.

IN NUCE In Medieval times people learnt to fear the pope and not only his God, Jahve. First, millions were martyrised in the early church, later came crusades and a Great Inquisitionm and many religious wars. Ceremonial blessings of raided slaves do not make the picture good. Such blessings tend to be low-ranking, and "not all is not all there is to life". Better take care who you ask for counsel, for the counsellor hardly offers counsel that could endanger his income or position.


Tarot study, Literature  


Farley, Helen. A Cultural History of Tarot: From Entertainment to Esotericism. London: I. B. Tauris, 2009. ⍽▢⍽ Helen Farley is Lecturer in Studies in Religion and Esotericism at the University of Queensland. Her book is a researched and well written study of tarot symbolism and the changing imagery in the cards. She explores ways in which the tarot reflects aspects of European culture from Medieval Italy until our times.

Green, Andrea. True Tarot Card Meanings: Learn the Secrets of Professionals. Seattle, WA: Amazon Digital Services, 2014.

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