Carrying on with my exploration of astrology’s role in the Druidcraft, today I’m going to look at the Major Arcana. The card mostly commonly associated with Taurus is the Hierophant – or in the Druidcraft, the High Priest.
The word ‘hierophant’ is Greek, meaning ‘he who shows’. This referred to the role of the priest in ancient mystery rites, but could represent any priestly figure whose function is to show the objects that are to be used in any sacred ritual. The Hierophant card has come to be associated with the search for spiritual meaning, as well as with any ‘structure’ or tradition that’s been passed down through family, society, culture, and that influences our thoughts, beliefs, and values. While the High Priestess represents inner awareness, the Hierophant shows us the ‘outer’ forms – the texts, the prayers, the teachings, the rituals.
|Druidcraft Tarot (trimmed)
Ritual carries with it a sense of the seasons, the turning of the year. We celebrate the passing of the year through a variety of rituals. Ritual can help to see us through crises - just think of funerals, for instance. The High Priest is surrounded by ritual tools – the chalice and the athame, symbols of the Great Rite to come. The shape formed by the fingers of his raised right hand reflect the bull’s horns atop his throne, giving us a link to Taurus.
The bull was associated with many ancient religions – both patriarchal and matriarchal – and according to classical texts, sacred bulls were involved in Druid rites. In some Stone Age temples, depictions of bull’s heads were found on the walls of chambers used for giving birth; it’s been postulated that the shape of the bull’s head and horns were representative of the shape of the uterus and fallopian tubes. In the Druidcraft’s image, the bull’s horns on top of the High Priest’s throne reflect the shape of the crescent moon, which cradles the sun in the sky above, linking the High Priest to the High Priestess - the uniting of the feminine and masculine, or perhaps the balancing of the two.
Taurus is the fixed Earth sign. Social mores, religious dogma, cultural traditions passed down from one generation to the next – these all carry the idea of being fixed – perhaps even (talking of fixed Earth!) ‘set in stone’. That’s not to say that such structures, or the institutions associated with them, can’t or won’t change. But it’s not just about conformity to society’s rules, it’s also about changing or transforming. The people associated with those structures – be they teachers, priests, mentors, gurus, advisors, therapists – can help to explore our psyche, our need to find a higher purpose or inner meaning, regardless of creed or doctrine. The High Priest/Hierophant can indicate a search for inner meaning, initiation (another ritual), though people, books, and religious or spiritual traditions. Such a search will require strength, wisdom, perseverance, and patience – all good Taurean qualities!
Druidcraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections