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Join Date: 17 Oct 2005
Location: Yorkshire, UK
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Dulcimer 
Geburah


I've been away for a few weeks, but now I'm back and I'm kicking bottom!

GEBURAH

The Sephirah is called Severity, Justice, and Fear.
So how can The Hierophant and The Tower belong in the martial Geburah? Well, it isn't hard to see the connection with The Tower, but The Hierophant?
Another problem I had at first was to understand how it is that The Hierophant finds HIMself on the Femanine Pillar. The original name of the card was, of course, The Pope. It took some time for the shekkel to drop: the Pope is the head of the Catholic Church and the Church is the BRIDE of Christ.
Recalling that when the Tarot first appeared was at a time in Spain and Italy when the Catholic Church reigned supreme it is not beyond the realms of possibility to find the Church being given the sphere of Severity and Fear!
Mind you, the emphasis began to differ when the Tarot became esoteric. The Pope, specific interpreter of the Catholic God's Will for the masses, became The Hierophant, pagan teacher and interpreter. Dictionary.com gives the following translation of the word "hierophant":
1. An ancient Greek priest who interpreted sacred mysteries, especially the priest of the Eleusinian mysteries.
2. An interpreter of sacred mysteries or arcane knowledge.
3. One who explains or makes a commentary.
He was much more than that though. The high point in the Eleusinian mysteries was the enactment of the coupling of Demeter and Zeus. The actors in that drama were the High Priestess of Demeter and the High Priest of Zeus, i.e. the hierophant himself [Larouse and others].
Crowley alludes to this in BoT "...the main reference [of the Kerubs] is to the particular arcanum which is the principle business, the essential, of all magical work; the uniting of the microcosm with the macrocosm."

The ascending, spirituallising energy, is represented by The Tower.
[I got quite excited for awhile with the discovery that French and Italian titles for this card was La Maison Dieu, The House of God! The Pope and The House of God side by side. Hurrah! My bubble of joy was popped however by Paul Hudson, in The Devil's Picture Book, who pointed out it was a corruption of La Maison Diefel, The Devil's House. Boooo! Ah well, it does make more sense I guess].
This is one of the less demanding cards to interpret at what ever level we are studying. The sudden and cataclismic destruction of the currupt and false. The violent overthrow of an outmoded model which refuses to die. The Logos piercing the darkness. The Great Challenger, the instrument used in Chesed to test the the King's (or Hero's or the Self's) worthiness. An unexpected, unforeseen 'bolt out of the blue', eradicating the old order. The purifying fire which Crowley saw as ridding the world of the old Aeon to make way for the new Age of Horus. Heaven save us - Goddess have mercy!

There is more to it of couse. The Thunderbolt is God's wrath for sure. But if you see God as Zeus and the Tower as matter (in Catholism the devil is matter) which, by definition, is Demeter, then a different slant can be put on it. Crowley was, I believe, hinting at something along these lines with his references to Tantric yoga (a method of channeling Kundalini energy through certain sexual rigours), and the "there are love and love/serpent and dove" lines in the BoL, which are common to the Hierophant as well. Freud also found that in the analysis of many of his patients death and sex were, at the moment of orgasm, synonymous - the "little death". Is this another definition of The Tower I wonder? Is it the card of orgasm?
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