Christ as my Hierophant! How dare I? “He’s the reason for the Season”…... Well, that’s debatable, at best. But He definitely gets a lot of attention this time of year, which is why I’ve decided to highlight my relationship with Christ and explain why I chose him as my Hierophant. For those of you who don’t know, the Hierophant traditionally represents the keeper of wisdom and the guardian of an adopted set of rules that are passed down through the generations. He often represents the unchanging tradition of institutions, particularly ones that are associated with Patriarchy, and, most notably, the Church.
When I learned Tarot, I practiced religiously (heh) with my favorite deck, Motherpeace Tarot. While I warmly regard every card in this endearing, round deck, its Hierophant is portrayed in a negative light. Don’t get me wrong, it totally resonates with me. My spiritual upbringing was firmly held in the hands of Patriarchy. There was no wiggle room for one’s intuition. There was no questioning the system. There was only the Word, One Way, and that was through Christ.
When I was creating my deck and found myself running through the candidates for my Hierophant, there was no shortage of male spiritual teachers in my memory who assumed control over my relationship with God. I even sketched a few of them. Then... I paused. What if I could have a healthy relationship with my Hierophant? What if he could embody the strength and warmth of the Sacred Masculine? Then Christ walked across the water of my subconscious and planted His feet in the small boat I’d painted.
It’s worth explaining that my Christian path has undergone several significant transformations over the past 20 years. For starters, I haven’t been a fundamental Christian since the year 2000, when I began attending Episcopalian services. What appealed to me about this new path of faith was that I felt like there were appropriate boundaries between believers. Direct experience with God was encouraged, as was contemplation over evangelism. Women served alongside the Men within the clergy, and the setting was completely inclusive, regardless of race, gender, age, and/or sexuality. Believers were allowed to …..just be. Here I began the practice of introspective prayer and dreamwork, and my concept of Christ was transformed.
While my spiritual transition and return to the Goddess is outlined specifically in my tarot guidebook, the way in which I maintained a relationship with Christ is not. What I found as I surrendered to my intuition and allowed myself to be led towards wholeness, is that Christ guided me deeper into the mysteries of the Divine Feminine. It is territory that He knows well and, to me, has always validated.
Through the works of Cynthia Bourgeault I began to see every one of his teachings in a new way: how the “pure in heart” have learned to embrace nonduality, how the “poor” are blessed because they cling to nothing, how “dying to self” is the grueling process of releasing one’s ego. None of these practices were intended to create martyrs of faith. Rather, these are energetic gestures of release that elevate one’s consciousness. These are paths to union with oneself and the Divine. His message took on an entirely new meaning through this metaphysical lens.
The further I ventured, the more complexly layered and nuanced his character became. Through much research into Mary Magdalene, I began to understand their relationship of perfect Union, the role she played in His ministry, and the continuation of their Mission today. I began to recognize Him as the ultimate empath, the most powerful of energetic healers, whose message is to awaken the Divine light within us all. His death and his tumbling descent into the realm of hell also took on a new light: the seismic energetic shift necessary to allow sufficient Spirit to pour through his Being, thus producing the healing needed for every soul on the planet.
I understood that by renouncing their intuition, denying their voices and identifying as unworthy of love, mainstream Christians were missing the point (which is the original definition of “sin”, actually.) A self-deprecating, fear based belief system had replaced their God-given right to be whole and held in an all-encompassing love. A love that radiates into one’s core independent of one’s own actions, Exclusive of one’s own track record. And that’s scary to people.
So, why is he my Hierophant? Because he holds the key to wisdom, and offers it to everyone. Because his truth is hiding in plain sight. Because despite millenia of misunderstood teachings and misguided followers, he continues to live as an Ascended Master, patiently awakening in our consciousness. Because he is perfectly balanced between the realms of light and dark, and has a perfect vantage point. Because he is both Divine and human, and he offers that to me. Because, like a good Teacher, he encourages me to think for myself, but is always ready to step in when I need help. Because his brand of “salvation” has nothing to do with condemning me and everything to do with filling me with light.
So, Christians, please don’t find his image in my Tarot deck vexing--He’s more open than you think and less easy to offend. And Pagans, Atheists, whomever finds his image equally triggering, please sit with the discomfort and ask for his true message to come forward.
I don’t care when his birthday is.
I don’t care if it’s Christmas or Xmas.
I don’t care what holiday cups Starbucks is using. Neither does he.
I care that he was here.
Emmanuel, God is with us.
God is within us.