THE 16TH PATH
“‘The Hierophant’ is the door to the path that crosses the abyss between Chokmah and Chesed; the path equilibrates the energies of a potent, dynamic, masculine sphere and the energies of a creative, up building, organizing sphere on the pillar of mercy, which is essentially a pillar of force. Despite the spectacular energies of the path, the image of ‘The Hierophant’ suggests great harmony and control. The hierophant lifts his right hand in blessing. With his left, he holds an unusual golden wand. He sits on a throne between two columns, suggesting stability and balance. On his head is an ornate golden crown. At his feet are the keys to the Kingdom.”
“Doesn’t this path connect the ruach with the chia?”
“This path does indeed connect the higher self, or the conscious mind of the enlightened individual, with the higher spiritual will. The hierophant is able to maintain that connection because he also pays attention--he is a good listener. Notice the fabric, suggesting ears, which descends from the crown. Notice the four levels of both the golden crown and the wand, suggesting the Tetragrammaton and the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical levels of being. The hierophant hears the sacred voice and brings the spiritual will from the sphere of Jehovah down through the other levels into physical manifestation. In fact, the word hierophant is Greek for ‘one who reveals the sacred.’”
“He must be more than just a good listener. I’m a good listener, and I can’t do that.”
“The hierophant is obviously a remarkable person. Notice that he sits in balanced stability in a path of pure life-force, which vivifies his entire being. The red robe suggests the potency of the life-force, as well as compassion. It also evokes the Passion, which suggests that the hierophant has sacrificed a great deal in order to occupy this special position. In fact, in a sense, he has sacrificed the pearl of great price.”
“You mean he has sacrificed his soul?”
“In the sense of giving up something for the highest good, yes. In other words, the hierophant subdues the higher self, or the evolutionary personality, to allow the spiritual will to take over. Remember that the soul is still an individual unit, even though it is part of the larger evolutionary personality that has developed over aeons. The spiritual will is in another realm entirely on the other side of the abyss, and as such, it is transpersonal, transcending the concerns of the soul.”
“Is Taurus, then, a sacrificial bull?”
“The astrological sign does suggest two things: First, the great potency of the bull, and second, the element of sacrifice. Jupiter, who once took on the form of a bull, is associated with Chesed and therefore has an obvious connection with the path. Ptah, an important creator God in the earlier Egyptian mythology, is associated with the bull also. And another creator God in the Egyptian pantheon, Khnum, is associated with the ram, which is of course another animal of great potency; ram’s horns can be found in some versions of the crown of the God Osiris, who was slain and risen. The intense potency of the life-force vivifying all levels of being, as well as the element of sacrifice to achieve the transpersonal level of the spirit are both emphasized on this path. The hierophant is no stranger to either; in fact, he can effectively balance the two and anchor his wisdom to the earth. Taurus is, of course, an earth sign, and the Hebrew letter for this path is vau, which means ‘nail.’”
“Can a person become a spiritual leader by meditating on this path.”
“That is a great question that leads me to a very important point. It takes years, in some cases lifetimes, to truly understand and utilize the wisdom contained within the Tree of Life. When you do path workings effectively, you open yourself to the energies of the paths, which eventually manifest in one way or another in your life. That can have startling and disruptive effects. We are teasing the meanings out of the cards right now, but if you do actual path workings in meditation, remember that you will probably be dealing with very real energies at some point in the future. That absolutely requires you to be purified and dedicated. I cannot emphasize that point enough. You must make sure that you are ready, especially when it comes to the higher paths on the Tree. Are you ready to take on the responsibilities of the hierophant?”
“I hope to be….”
“That is admirable, but be careful, always, when you are dealing with the Tree of Life. We are talking about them primarily so that you know what you are going to be dealing with, if you are not dealing with them already.”
“In the card, you see a man in a golden crown that has four tiers, suggesting that he is a magnificent spiritual being knowing the magnificence of each level of creation. The wand that he holds suggests a tree with four levels and it too is golden, suggesting its purity and incorruptibility. Through sacrifice, he has moved not only into the higher self but beyond--through the abyss to know the transpersonal spiritual will. He brings the transcendent wisdom of pure life-force into physical manifestation, and in that way he has the keys to the Kingdom.”
Briah: Deep indigo.
Yetzirah: Deep warm olive.
Assiah: Rich brown.
Take the next path.
Cards associated with Taurus:
Five of Pentacles.
Six of Pentacles.
Seven of Pentacles.
Cards associated with the fourth sphere, Chesed:
Four of Wands.
Four of Cups.
Four of Swords.
Four of Pentacles.
Cards associated with the second sphere, Chokmah:
Two of Wands.
Two of Cups.
Two of Swords.
Two of Pentacles.