The Hierophant on the Path of Initiation

So far we have followed The Magician through Awakening, Realization of Divinity and Rejection of Consensus Reality (Atus I to IV). The next stage in his Initiatory journey is The Hierophant V, as the occult pilgrim has already turned his back on family and religion, to interpret the Tarot Trump V as ‘The Pope’, a representative of Patriarchal ‘Faith’ does not fit this narrative. Instead, this card represents Arcane Knowledge and Tradition. The Neophyte will be faced with a bewildering volume of disparate systems and teachings, all of varying degrees of incomprehensibility. He* will, perhaps, flit from one spiritual practice to another, like a bee landing on one beautiful flower after another. This is natural but there must come a time when one system or school lights a fire in his soul and he dedicates himself to this one method of ‘attainment’. It is at this point where a Teacher or Mentor may present themselves, sometimes an experienced ‘Master’ will take the aspirant under his wing and pass on their knowledge. But most newcomers to the Mysteries must negotiate their own path. Some decide to join an established Order, (which, in my opinion has as many pitfalls as advantages) or more commonly, in these days of on-line communities and self-initiation manuals, will commit himself to a program of private study and practice. Nothing worthwhile comes easily and the Self-Initiated Occultist will find motivating himself to perform even half an hour of daily ritual incredibly difficult… at first. But as he works his way through the Rites of the Hermetic Tradition, using, for example, The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and The Middle Pillar (as well as reading proscribed texts, keeping a Magickal Diary, meditating and ‘undoing’ himself with various mental exercises), he will feel remarkable changes in himself and his environment in a very short time. The Hierophant then, represents the vast body of Hermetic Wisdom and Teachings. He marks the true beginning of The Magician’s road to Attainment, which, when begun cannot revoked…

*For the ease of writing I’ve used the masculine pronoun. This is not sexism but laziness, apologies to all female readers!

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