Ugh – you again

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot contemplation for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Want a personalized sip? They are available, in the no appointment needed email readings.

Sometimes apathy is an accomplishment.

Hi and welcome to TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast. I’m glad you are here.

This card again. Ugh.

I don’t know if this is true of all professional readers, but I have a couple of cards that are my arch nemesis. They poke a bony finger at old sensitive scars and rub salt in spots that still aren’t all they could be. For me, the hierophant is defininitely one of those nemesis cards, if not THE nemesis card. It isn’t clinically correct, but a common, understandable way to say it that this bad boy is triggering.

Or you could say it is a pain in the ass. Either one works for me.

Either one is Tarot at its best doing its best thing. Tarot really isn’t about blowing happy smoke up your aura or making you feel good. It is about holding a mirror up to what we are doing in life at the same time it is giving context to the nonsense. Sure, Tarot inspires and empowers, but that is only part of it. Sometimes part of the healing, helping, inspiring and empowering process is to challenge us.

A good friend will tell you when your zipper is down or there is spinach stuck in your teeth. Tarot is a good friend. Both best friends and Tarot decks are truth tellers and support systems all rolled into one.

It is standard issue boiler plate advice that when a Tarot card keeps turning up in a reading that it signifies a lesson that we haven’t learned, an aspect of life that keeps coming around until we finally deal with it in the right way.

I wonder if it isn’t part desensitization therapy too. I don’t know if this is legit, or if it is a disproven trope, but at one point people would manage specific phobias, flying for example, by gradually increasing small exposures to the thing that triggered their anxiety until they were inured enough to the trigger that it wasn’t a problem anymore. In other words, repeated exposure helped them let go of the fear inducing thing by repeating the thing until they were just sick and tired and totally over it.

That’s kind of how I feel about the Hierophant today. I wonder, what card or what issue in life are all of you completely over? The religious imagery and symbolism in the Pamela Smith artwork for the RWS deck isn’t trigger-y for everyone, but to my minds it begs the question: What is your personal IDGAF totally over it topic today?

Whatever it is, celebrate your accomplishment of attaining a state of apathy. Celebrate your apathy about that thing that used to send you up a wall and over an edge, whatever that is for you individually. If you can’t think of anything like that, then it may just not be the right time for you to take on your triggers. Or maybe you are one of the fortunate ones who don’t have a nemesis card or maybe you just don’t need this message today. Either way, it’s all good. Despite what the dogmatic religious folk might think, nature is unfolding as it should.

If it does apply, however, enjoy your apathy. You’ve earned it.

Thanks so much for reading and listening! Any likes, subs, follows, shares, questions or comments you can spare is much appreciated. I’d also appreciate it if you’d take a look at the TaoCraft Tarot ko-fi page where the exclusive content memberships, shop purchases, private email Tarot readings, and virtual coffees all help me create these non-monetized, free to access (almost) daily Tarot readings for you.

Enjoy your weekend. Next sip comes Monday. See you then!

source unknown

Inescapable Unity (both edges apply)

No matter how thin you cut a coin, it still has two sides.

Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Short Sip: Tarot contemplation for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee.

Today the emphasis is on short. As in a short week. I don’t want to do half-assed readings for you. I want to do the best Tarot reading I can for you be it here on the blog and podcast or be it in a private individual session. Usually I straight up take a couple of weeks off around this time of year. This year, I thought I could fit a little Tarot work in and around other things, but it isn’t quite working out that way. Like my new favorite internet meme says, I don’t have ducks, I don’t have rows, I have squirrels and they are hosting a rave. Long story short, E-mail Tarot readings are open, but the blog, podcast and social media will be on a short hiatus from now until June 27, 2022 and again over the weekend of July 4. After that it is right back to the usual squirrel rave playlist.

With that announcement out of my system, let’s get to today’s card, the two of swords.

Swords are associated with the mind, intellect and the element of air. They are a symbol of power and authority, society and culture too. Swords were the weapons of war for a broad swath of human history. If we take a more contemporary, relational point of view of the suit of swords they can symbolize our relationship with authority, and with the bigger definitions of society; your nationality, your ethnicity, your religion, your political affiliation. Sometimes swords carry a thread of Hierophant or Pope type energy. Social conventions are a minor background energy today.

More often than not, Tarot is intensely personal. It isn’t often that a spirit or energy message connects to society at large. Today’s card, however, is reminding us that we are never not connected to it. We are never not connected to anything. We are never not connected to everything.

The two aspects of this card are interesting. Two cards vary in theme from suit to suit. Two of pentacles is the essence of balance and has a similar vibe to Temperance in the major arcana. Two of cups is about committed one to one emotion, marriage and long term relationships. Two of wands is about watching, hope and preparation within an individual. The two of swords speaks to mental state, things like indecision, being of two minds about something, or somehow in an unwinnable situation with equal good and bad consequences…something that cuts like a double edged sword as the saying goes

In her book Magical Tarot, Mystical Tao, Diane Morgan interprets the two of swords as mystical unity.

However sharp or dull the edges of a sword may be, they are still a part of the same sword. Even if you split a sword down the middle, you get more edges, each connected to its mate.

We are three dimensional beings. There is no one side to anything. As strongly as the two of pentacles points a dynamic balancing dualities, the two of swords points to an inescapable unity. No matter how thin you slice a coin it always has two sides. You can’t deny the existence of the sword’s other edge, the coin’s other side – or your many sides either. Sometimes you just have to choose which edge you use, which side of the coin to show, and which facet of you to that you use to interface with the rest of culture or or your larger social groups. Whatever side you choose to show, the other sides of you, even the sides you may not like so much, still exist.

It is a dangerous thing to ignore one side of sword when all the edges apply.

One of those edges is feeling like it is useless to choose or stop caring about important decisions. Remember…whatever sad, angry, terrifying thing makes you want to give up, you are equally connected to happy, kind, supportive, comfortable things. Out there, somewhere in the universe, in there somewhere on a bone deep molecular level, there is a connection to love and support. You are star stuff, and many people love stars.

The edges may cut, but the center connects.

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Helpful links are in the episode description for podcast listeners.

See you in a few days at the next sip.

The Quiet Why

Welcome to TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast. I’m glad you are here.

Every superhero has a super villain. Every Tarot reader has a nemesis card or two. This one is mine. I’m allergic to religion and this card is dripping with it today.

The classic question “Why ask why?” also springs to mind.

Usually that question comes in a context that implies a certain laissez faire attitude or a go with the flow sort of vibe. In Tarot we often work with the unknown or mysterious. Being OK with not knowing things is sometimes as important as knowing the reasons and motivations behind the stuff we do. That level of mystery is, however, the purview of the High Priestess card.

There are several threads of meaning for the Hierophant card. I get along with it better when it’s called the High Priest. Mark Evans’ artwork on the Witches Tarot deck is far and away my favorite rendition of the High Priest. His art captures the card’s grandfatherly, kind, storyteller, tradition-keeper qualities. It is still a belief system and social order oriented card, but with a softer, wiser, more ancient, more organic feel.

From medieval decks to the 1909 Waite Smith to contemporary decks the Hierophant is most often shown as a Christian religious authority figure. Some decks go so far as to call it the Pope card as the 17th century Marseilles deck did.

This pope-like aspect of the hierophant card speaks of a stricter social order, of dogma, and clear-cut cultural expectations. Why ask why? Why not ask why!?When it comes to dogma and blind faith you bet your backside I’m going to ask why. Sometimes why really matters.

But realistically, not everyone has the privilege of questioning.

I rage with heartbreak at the racial, religious and LGBTQIA bigory that floods America like a Tsunami – and always has. It isn’t new to recent politics. Right wing political power has only ripped the top off of a rotting underground septic tank and allowed it to ooze .

Why ask why? To know who you serve, that’s why.

Think, for a minute, about small rural communities.

There aren’t many homeless shelters, if any at all. There aren’t the same community resources that cities and suburbs have. If there are any such civic or secular organizations, they are tiny, underfunded and making miracles out of nothing at all.

Imagine you are keeping a secret in that small town. Imagine being in a closet, be it a sexual orientation one or a gender identity one or an atheist one or a witchy one or any other kind of closet. It eats at you. Especially if you are a teen where self-discovery, self-definition and gaining independence is pretty much your job in life.

Now imagine the heart-rending and mind-bending emotional and intellectual dissonance for someone who has been told their whole life not to lie, because you are a bad person if you lie. Yet, if you DON’T lie to every single body every single moment about your essential self then you put yourself at risk. The same honesty that was held up to you as so very virtuous now puts you at risk for losing important relationships, outright abandonment or possibly violence.

The hierophant is pointing to these dire realities today.

We said earlier that ‘why’ is important because it shows who you serve. Why matters in the context of social expectations and institutional dogma.

WHY are you a member of the groups that hold your allegiance? Do you agree with them? Do they express who you really are? Are you there in service to a set of beliefs? Are you there to serve the advancement of beliefs that mirror your own? If you are an adult, if you are part of a group and if there are no consequences to you if you left, you are there by choice however habitual or mindless that choice may be. If you are a knowing adult with no threat to your well being, then you are a willing part of your social, political and religious affiliations. You are a part of them and they speak for you unless and until you choose otherwise. Agreement is why you are there.

But if, at any age, there are real consequences to leaving a dominant group, a different and vastly more important WHY comes into play. Are you in a group not out of agreement, but rather in quiet service of your own well being. Safety and life is why you are there.

If your why is the preservation of life, health, safety and relationships, know that you are not alone. We see you in your closet because we are in there too – or have been at some point. In your quiet service to your well being, in your quiet why, know that you are loved.

Harshness Begets Chaos

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today: The judgement card and rising from the ashes

https://youtube.com/shorts/IPTsVtFKL7o?feature=share

Welcome to TaoCraft Short Sip Tarot. I’m glad you are here.

Today’s card is Judgement.

If you have read the blog for a while, you probably already know this card is one of my nemesis in the deck. Both Judgement and the Hierophant as it is drawn in the RWS deck is a little trigger-ish. Luckily it isn’t the religious judgement day aspect of the card stepping forward here.

On the other hand, who the heck uses the word “begets” outside of Shakespeare and the old Testament? The phrase “Harshness Begets Chaos” just dropped into my head when I turned the card this morning, so I’ll roll with it. It must mean something to somebody out there in cyberspace.

I’m not the only one, by the way. When I say “dropped into my head” it refers to that pop of an idea that cartoons used to show as a light bulb turning on over a character’s head. My husband and our martial arts teacher call it “getting the download.” So when the muses, or spirit or intuition or your higher self or whatever you want to call it drops an idea into your head through your crown chakra like a fed ex delivery with an attitude, pay attention. It probably means something one way or another.

“Begets” is an odd word. So let’s say that harshness…or in the context of this card….harsh judgement results in chaos. It can be shattering to a young or vulnerable person. The word shattering also comes to mind. Although the artwork on this particular card is fluid and the word melt would be better than shattered, hard sharp edges of shattered emotions better describes the feelings that harsh judgement can evoke. On the card, the clear eyed image of a bird melts into poorly defined shapes and swirling colors.

It is beautiful the way the artist connects Judgement to a blue jay and, as the Alleyman’s notebook points out, a rising energy not unlike that of a phoenix rising from the ashes. This is where this newer card and the older RWS card overlap. Even within the religious imagery there is a notion of second chances, or rising up from a bad situation. If you have been on the receiving end of bigotry, or judgmentalism or shattered by other harsh circumstances, this can be seen as reassurance that you can rise from that. Know that you are seen by the universe.

The clear eyed bird sees those who can rise above. The clear eyed bird sees those who would tear down.

Ted Andrews associated blue jay energy with the Two of Swords and “the right use of power.” That is where today’s card veers from judgmentalism into judgement as in good judgement or use your own judgement.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Use your judgement when to be strong and when to be gentle.

But remember, the two are often the exact same thing.

Thank you so much for reading and listening! Thank you for all of your likes, subs, shares, blog follows, reading orders, questions and comments. Comments are open on the blog, so please let me know what you think, and what you want to see and hear in the blogcast.

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The blog and podcast will be quiet for the next four or five days, but I’ll still see you at the next sip. Have a good weekend!

Short Sip Tarot: Gotta know ’em to break ’em

Thank you for reading, watching and listening to TaoCraft Short Sip: Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Any likes, subs, shares, reading orders or blog follows that you can spare are always appreciated.

Today’s Card is the Hierophant.

The Marsielle deck calls it the Pope card. Personally, I prefer other decks that call this same card the High Priest and omit the specifically Catholic and Christian imagery that Pamela Smith uses.

I think both approaches to the card’s artwork is valid, because this major arcana card has two threads of meaning. Sometimes, as with the religion-neutral decks, the Hierophant is a grandfatherly figure, the keeper of stories and traditions. Other times the card has a more law-and-order vibe, that speaks more to social convention, rules, and cultural expectations.

Today it is the second of those two that steps forward. Over the years, whenever this side of the Pope card steps forward it is usually to ask us to think about our individual relationship with those rules, conventions and expectations. This may sound like an oversimplification, but simplification is often just what the situation needs. The question is essentially are you a rule-breaker or a people-pleaser? The advice is to understand your natural, innate style, to honor that, but also know when and how to play the other side of the game for a little bit.

If you are by nature a people-pleaser, the Hierophant might be suggesting that it is time to color outside of the lines a little bit. If you go your own way, then the card might be asking you look for ways you can play societies game a little bit in order to accomplish a particular goal. Wherever your mind is at the moment, look at the opposite and evaluate it as an option. If you tend to follow the rules, is it time to follow your heart? If you are a free spirit, is it time to cover the tattoos and put on a suit long enough to get through that job interview…that sort of thing.

Either way, the Hierophant reminds us that we have to know what the rules are. It’s like writing and grammar. We have to know what the rules actually are so we can decide when to judiciously break them.

YouChoose Interactive Tarot: Making Online Tarot Personal

Well, isn’t this opposite day?!

This time, if you want to hear the more detailed card interpretation, it’s in the video. I’m not telling you which meaning is which card, so I hope you’ll watch at least the first bit of the video to choose your card and see the reveal. If you want to spend a little time and feel it out, just pause the video then restart to see which one you picked.

Nothing in Tarot is 100%. The card might not feel right. That’s OK. Claim one of the others if it feels more helpful. Or find another video / blog post and try again to find guidance that resonates with YOU – here, now, today. It doesn’t matter when the video was made or the post was written. The right message has a way of finding you sooner or later.

I hope you’ll follow the blog if you haven’t already – that way you get ALL the new content, video and print-only, right in your inbox or WordPress reader.

The Heirophant: How are you being too much (or not enough) of a people pleasing rule follower. Thank you to all activists who speak for us whenever we’re not sure what to say.

Nine of Swords: Is the thing that’s keeping you up at night really worth losing sleep over? What are you making bigger than it is? Let go what needs to go and get some real sleep.

Eight of Pentacles: Just do it. Set aside any high minded spirituality or over-intellectualizing and peel the potatoes, chop the wood and carry the water.

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YouChoose Interactive Tarot: Merry Happy Everything

Happy Merry Everything!

If the worlds belief systems were Venn diagrams, there would be a lot of overlap this time of year. Light overcoming darkness, the triumph of human spirit over adversity, days literally becoming longer are core themes within every solstice season celebration. As I see it, that is where attention and energy and celebration are best focused – on the shared, universal, deep, primal underlying humanity of it all. Although you won’t see me turning down any mulled wine or Christmas cookies regardless of the reason they were made. It makes happy to know the fixins for some soft gingerbread cookies are waiting in the kitchen. And yes, the lights are lit on the tree even though it is broad daylight just because.

Not much by way of announcements. Email readings are open for the holidays. Order anytime 24/7. Am also working on some “Mindful Moments” bracelets to photograph and list in the shop

Before we get to this week’s cards, Happiest Holidays to everyone, everywhere. Wishing you health, safety and prosperity at the solstice and all the year.


Left: Page of Cups. One of my favorite cards ūüôā Traditionally, the fish in the cup is said to represent the mysteries of the deep soul and psyche. I like the playful happy quality the artwork takes on with the Witches Tarot, used here. Mark Evans’ artwork is far and away some of my favorite. The Pamela Smith artwork gives the card a sort of conversational quality. When you think about it, having conversation with a fish in a cup is a little bit absurd. Roll with it. See the humor. A spoonful of humor brings out the light in almost any situation. If you can’t see beyond the mystery or the misery of a situation, maybe find the humor in it if you can instead.

Center: King of Pentacles. Any day above ground is a good one, any little thing is a win. Have toilet paper? Win! Scraped together dinner? Win! Found a moment for a cup of coffee (or a beer, or whisky) Win! Things held together with bubble gum and baling twine are, nevertheless, together. Make the most of what you have on hand then lead your merry band of misfits (a bit of Robin Hood energy here) into a place of celebrating and enjoying whatever-it-is that you have. If you are the one who popped the top off of the can of spam, you still are founder of the feast and qualify to enjoy the moment as much as anyone. Whether other people follow your lead or not, whether there is another living soul around or not, make the most of what you have and enjoy the celebration. Make merry in your heart, just like that big old red clad ghost of Christmas present in that version of “A Christmas Carol” that always seems to be on TV this time of year. Cheers to you!

Right: The High Priest. This is one of the major arcana cards I tend to wrangle with a bit. And it is one of the other reasons I like this deck so much. The Marseille deck among others calls this the Pope, which makes sense given the Catholic church’s dominance in the countries where Tarot first evolved, Italy and France. Pamela Smith’s classic artwork for the card fuels that specific religious association and imagery despite using the more general term Hierophant (defined by Oxford Languages as “a person, especially a priest in ancient Greece, who interprets sacred mysteries or esoteric principles.”) The name High Priest is, in my opinion, much more in keeping with the Hierophant name and the intent of the card. I’m going on about the hair splitting semantics because it makes a point about the cards energy for the week.

Vesak, Hannuka, Diwali have all happened recently. Today is the winter solstice and Yule. Secular and religious Christmas, Festivus, and the start of Kwanzaa are coming up this week. Sure, it’s never good to slavishly follow traditions if they have become detrimental. There is something laudible about making up your own, or bending old traditions to suit new beliefs and circumstances. By the same token, there is no reason to discard old established traditions if they are harmless, meaningful or a comfort. If there is any little tradition that makes you feel comforted or happy then yes, if at all possible, indulge. In the middle of chaos and crazy is precisely where repetition and tradition does the most good.

Whatever your Holiday, wherever and whenever you celebrate – or don’t – I wish you a safe and happy week. Merry Happy Everything!

You Choose Interactive Tarot Reading 23 March 20

 

Better late than never. TECHNICALLY it’s still Monday here where I am. We are still hammering out the schedule. I have to learn a whole new rhythm and pattern to things too. After being the usual work from home one, I’m sharing space with two other adults suddenly needing the same turf to do their work too. Unless and until the world starts ordering a whole lot of Tarot readings….the breadwinners get the priority.

Even so, patterns are emerging. As you can tell from this video, Markeplier or Aurilo Voltair I ain’t. The TaoCraft Tarot YouTube channel is never going to be polished or edited. It looks like I’ll be filming these early in my day, so if you are looking for spiritual woo woo happy happy positive rainbows and unicorns, this is not going to be the YouTube for you. It is going to be raw, straightforward, caveman-ish semi sentences, with the expanded, detailed card readings here later in the day. My Zombie Cat side is going to be on full display on the YouTube side. Consider yourself warned.

I’m in the northeastern part of the USA under a stay at home order, so the energies are just saturated with both anxiety about the epidemic and raw fury at those who aren’t taking it seriously and putting other people at risk. No wonder the cards are staying in stuck-at-home territory.

The horse is out of the barn as far as prevention, testing and containment. Kiss that opportunity good-bye. All we have left is isolating to slow this thing down a little. I’ll make you a deal…I’ll stay home and write Tarot stuff if you stay home and read it. Fair enough?

Left: 3 of Coins. Do SOMETHING productive each day. I’ll be the first to admit, time management is not my strong suit, but have had enough times around the block as a stay at home mom to know it’s true.¬† Start off with some sort of plan or inkling of a schedule so you at least have something at the start for circumstances to blow to bits. If you start with a plan and execute, and it all goes off without a hitch, pat yourself on the back, then start looking under furniture and around corners because Muphy’s Law will have its way with you sooner or later. Otherwise, baby steps. Take the small wins where you can get them. But in the big guidance energy this week: if you picked this card, this is your cue to do something, be it something you are good at and do effortlessly, your usual work, something you have been putting off or simply putting on a clean pair of yoga pants, try to accomplish some little goal that you can take with you to bed each night as a teeny tiny little seed of normalcy. Let that, small as it may or not be, give you a little comfort. Tomorrow you can write King Lear like Shakespear during the black plague.

Center: The Hermit. Yes, this guy again. We are all connected, even when we are alone. It’s a universe, cosmos thing. You might be a guru sitting on top of a mountain, but you are still sitting on the same space rock as the rest of us. Even if you are on the space station, you are part of our solar system. I had a poster on my wall forever growing up. It was that one of the Milky Way with an arrow pointing to an outer arm and “you are here” Truth. We are part of the whole dang galaxy. When you look at it, 6 feet of separation is nothing.¬†

That isn’t to minimize families separated by the illness. Having to stay away from a hospitalized loved one is more than a universe…that is multiple multiverses of crushing heartbreak. Please send your thoughts, prayers, meditations, Reiki, mojo, hoodoo, vibing vibes out to everyone who needs healing, consoling and condolences. If we are citizens of the cosmos, we can certainly bend a little good energy toward those who need it. Let them know they are not alone, even if it is in energetic silence.

Right: The High Priest. I’ve always wrangled with the Pope / Hierophant card because of the religious imagery and overtones to the card. That’s my personal issue, not anything to do with any of you. The High Priest card is not that way at all. He is the keeper of traditions, not the maker of social rules, a teller of stories, not maker of pronouncements. Tradition is exactly the issue at hand, not just this coming week, but for a few weeks to come. I’m talking specifically about Easter. As someone forced to attend sunrise services throughout childhood, I’m here to tell you that stay at home orders and evangelical Easter are going to be a problem. It isn’t entirely my intent to take aim only at Easter, which is a purely Christian holiday. The same is true for other spring celebrations, including secular ones like graduations. It’s just an honest telling of the intuition mixed with past experience that shows Easter to be the biggest powder keg in all of this, considering it is only a few weeks away.

It’s ok to put church attendance on the shelf this one time. Lives are on the line. Life and health are far more important. What would Jesus do? He would stay home and wash his hands. This isn’t forever. You can celebrate alone or as a family unit at home this one time. It will be “that year when…” for all time to come. Make this stay at home season one to remember, because we are going to be talking about this year for years to come. Welcome to history.

Tarot Without a Net: The Heirophant

I like Marvel.

I was as happy to see Professor X as I was to see who I thought was ObiWan Kenobi on the Emperor card. It is a perfect bridge between what I see and what the artest saw in these two cards.

It’s been a long year coming, but waaay back when the third edition of Heart of Stars third edition deck was released by Thom Pham, he very graciously gave permission for me to share these posts with you. I am so looking forward to exploring this deck with you because it is very much how I work. If you have ever had a reading with me, there is a good chance that spirit and energy gave a pop culture reference at some point…a song, book, movie or tv show.

It is interesting to me that the very thing I missed by mis-understanding Odin from Thor as Obi-Wan from Star Wars is the exact thing that drives my impression of this card.

The Hierophant (or Pope card in some decks) has always been a nemesis for me personally. The Hierophant / Pope is often associated with social rules and conventions. On the RWS deck it is rife with religious imagery. As an adult child of evangelicals recovered fundamentalist, that is a hot button pushing reflex issue for me. Lucky for me AND my clients, that only happens when I engage with stuff like this, outside of a reading. In a reading, the Hierophant is smooth as silk and clear as a bell because it has to do with connecting with THEIR¬† energies and messages. Please don’t take my wrangling matches with this card to be an indication of what is to come in YOUR reading should this card turn up.

It is much better than it used to be, actually. It took a dozen re-writes to do the “Arcana in Balance” post (I’ll updating and reprising that series here later this year.) Since coming out secular, it has been easier to deal with this card. It is even easier still since Johanne Dinali explaned the card in her twitter feed as the keeper of traditions, like a grandfather or a shaman.

Here, I get the word teacher very strongly from this card. It still has undertones of rules and conventions because the Professor teaches discipline and ethics and how to deal with mutation super powers. It has the same threads of mystery and power. All that Professor X has learned has been long and hard-won….and about mysterious powers. So yes, the Hierophant is the keeper of rules, traditions, social conventions….but to teach them. He teaches mysteries through the same, not just all law and order. It is a subtle, even nonexistant distinction to those who embrace religion, perhaps. To those of us who have experienced and deliberately, mindfully left mainstream religion, it is an important one. The hierophant is more kindly kindly monk-teacher-scribe than lay-down-the-law, missals and diatribes Pope.¬† Professor X and the heart of the Hierophant card is more like teaching us to find and use our X-men powers than it is law-and-order, lock-em-up and throw away the key. The Hierophant is a spiritual teacher – not a religious¬† officer, judge, jury and executioner.

I was browsing for a quote to post with the card as I often do on Instagram (@Taocraft.Tarot) This one by Thich Nhat Hahn caught my eye:

“Doubt in my tradition is something that is very helpful. Because of doubt, you can thirst for more and you will get a higher kind of proof”

That resonates with teaching in a very real world way on multiple levels for me. If we go back to my personal religious issues (obviously not something that will relate to everyone, but shout out to all the ex-vangelicals out there) anything worth learning will stand up to doubt and questioning. Christianity, for me, disappeared in a poof of dust at every question, every doubt. Taoism has stood up through everything life has thrown at me. Tarot has never ending wisdom so far for me AND my clients. That isn’t bragging about my skill…it is bragging about what a reliable, testable, doubt-and-question-tolerant tool Tarot has proven itself to be in my experience.

That is just from the one sided perspective of a student. I’ve taught. This card and this quote has something to say to teachers as well: Questions and doubts are a wonderful thing. When I was teaching Kung Fu and Tai Chi I LOVED it when students had questions. They took the whole class to some really cool wonderful places…to hell with what I had planned. When students question us and doubt us and push us….they are doing US, the teachers and enormous favor. They are showing us the dead spots that need pruned away. They are showing us the empty gaps that need feed. If I don’t know an answer, it is only an embarrassment if I fail to try and find and answer or at least try to point the student in the direction of other possible sources for their answer.

When Professor Hierophant rolls in to a reading, it is a good time to ask questions, face our doubts, test the rules, then follow those guides and lessons that prove trustworthy.

Unsurprisingly, given his choice of Professor X, the artist makes teaching a primary focus, instead of a supporting focus behind the paternal / protector emphasis of the Emperor card.

Deck: Heart of Stars Third edition by Thom Pham, used with permission.