July 28

07/29/13: Answers or Questions? / Hierophant


In a modern literature class years ago, we were discussing The Razor’s Edge. Why did Isabel love the tortured seeker Larry, even after rejecting him in favor of the wealthy and highly conventional Gray? The class was quiet so I cautiously answered, even though I didn’t have the requisite example from the text to support my view.

“With Gray, she knows exactly what her life will be. Everything is laid out. There is nothing to discover. Larry was nothing but questions; Gray was nothing but answers.”

The teacher lit up and started bouncing around the room. “In all my years of teaching this book, nobody has ever said that! I’ve been teaching this book for years. No one has pointed that out before. This is why I teach!”

I was as glad as dumbfounded he was so pleased but for the rest of the semester, I remained self-consciously unable able to reproduce my moment of accidental brilliance; I still got an A, though.


As I note it’s the Hierophant for today’s forecast, I have to chuckle. I’ve been wading neck-deep in darn near every esoteric text I can hope to (mostly) comprehend for a spell, from the old-school classics to the modern interpretations–thank God for those! I know I’m barely scratching the surface, and wonder if I could do much more even if I had a lifetime with which to pursue it.

When it comes to the cards, I was always drawn more to the pragmatic and utilitarian than the esoteric. Not that I have no respect, but that only goes so far. It’s got to be useful and it’s got to fit into my own head. With so much in abstract and spiritual concepts, “musts” and “truths” get passed out like candy to hyperactive children, little more than pat explanations wrapped up with pats on the head. What kind of “truth” is that? Dogma packaged in shiny paper has no nutritive value to the soul.

However, there is a reason the old ways have been repeated and rewritten and rediscovered through the ages. The trick is in discernment. No truth can transform you unless it’s YOUR truth. You can get the ingredients from anywhere, but you have to mix it up into treats yourself.

The Hierophant nudges us to consider conventional wisdom, timeless teaching and static knowledge, although we may not necessarily accept it. He is without a doubt a master teacher. Just remember: the best teachers lead students to make their own discoveries. They hand out questions designed to elicit thinking and growth. They provide tests, not answer keys.

What do you see in this Hierophant today?

Tarot: The Complete Kit
by Dennis Fairchild

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Hermeticism, Magic, Tarot Nova, The Hierophant

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