21moonsofknitandcrochet, hierophant card

Happy Full Moon! It’s time for a new card and it is….the Hierophant.

It’s the full moon again, this time in the sign of Cancer. Yesterday I got out my new Yarn Tarot deck and spread out all the major arcana cards (minus the Fool and the Sun, which I’ve already worked with) and pulled a card for inspiration for my next project: the Hierophant. I’ll post about the finished Sun card project later but for now I wanted to get my thoughts down on the Hierophant. It was a card I had a hard time relating to for many years.

The dictionary meaning of the word hierophant is “(in ancient Greece) an official high priest of religious mysteries, or a person who interprets and explains esoteric mysteries” and in many tarot decks it’s shown as a man who is some kind of religious leader, holding the keys to the religious mysteries – a pope, priest, bishop, etc. In today’s tarot community this card does not have to be related to religion although it can. It can show up as a religious or spiritual leader, or as Joann Colbert says in the Gaian Tarot, it can be a humble and spiritual teacher in the tradition of the Holy Fool or Crazy Saint, the one who speaks in riddles, laughs and is intentionally ridiculous and open to wonder. A sort of Mr. Miagi teacher.

In addition to symbolizing a spiritual or religious leader/teacher, this card can also represent being called to teach what you know or pass down traditions, or getting an education, even getting training at work to move to the next level; it can symbolize sharing a cultural tradition or being part of a group, rites of passage like a wedding, or taking a more conventional approach.

It wasn’t until I discovered the Gaian Tarot that this card really opened up for me. I grew up in the LDS/Mormon church in Provo, Utah and left that religion when I was young and because of bad experiences with religious leaders there I had a lot of blocks around this card.

The thing is, once I really understood the meaning of this card, I realized I could see it in my every day life all over. I saw a really powerful example of this card this morning in the news: Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who led hostages to escape from a gunman in his synagogue in Fort Worth, Texas. He was able to keep a cool head because he had gone to security trainings and learned how to deal with this type of situation. A true hierophant or teacher is wise enough to know they don’t know everything and is willing to continue learning so they can be a good leader to their people. If you look around you can see these tarot archetypes everywhere.

So funnily enough, it was actually a religious teacher who started me on my fiber art journey when I was about 8. A neighbor lady who taught, I think it was Sunday School, I don’t remember. But in the LDS church at least at that time in the 70s there was a strong tradition of teaching handicraft skills to the younger generations of girls only so that they could be good little homemakers (hopefully they’re teaching it to all the kids now!). She taught all the girls in her class the basics of crochet one day at her home. Gave us each a hook and a ball of yarn and taught us the chain stitch and single crochet.

After that, I was fascinated and checked out all the books I could find at the library to learn more. I didn’t always have easy access to in-person teachers, knitting shops or the internet like I do now, so most of my learning how to crochet and knit has come from books at the library or ones I was able to buy from time to time. When I did have access to in-person teaching, and then later the internet, I also took advantage of that. I’m basically a self-taught knitter and crocheter who took a few bits of learning from in-person teachers and sought out more from books and whatever other sources I could find and just kind of learned through trial and error. I’ve tried to pass down what I know as well although I’m not the best teacher.

I think this journey fits the spirit of the Hierophant card really well though. I’m not sure what I’m going make for my Hierophant project yet, will let it simmer on the back burner for a couple days and see what bubbles up. It’s a card I’m much more comfortable with now.