Sunday, 5 June 2011

Greek Masks

Today's card from the Lo Scarabeo Tarot by Mark McElroy and Anna Lazzarini, is the Hierophant.

Once again, both Thoth and RWS iconography are clear here, while the Marseilles is incorporated in as much as it is very similar to the RWS in any case.  This Hierophant looks like he is wearing a mask, as does the Thoth Hierophant to a lesser degree - perhaps pointing to how much this is about the role, rather than the actual person.  Instead of acolytes, there are two different kinds of flowers at his feet - a departure from all three traditions.  His Greek-style beard is also reminiscent of the Thoth Hierophant, while the keys on his chest, his crown, his scepter and the blessing sign of his right hand are all RWS elements (and all but the keys are also found on the Marseilles Hierophant).  His throne points to the RWS, while the stained glass flower directly behind him echoes the Thoth.  So, a real combination of elements here.

I don't like the mask-like aspect of this Hierophant: at a visceral level it makes him seem even more institutional and rigid than I am used to.  It's strange, though, as I like the symbolism of it - that the Hierophant is a role, not just a man who may be good or bad, but an idea and an archetype, something beyond a single person.

I am grateful for my ability to embrace paradoxes.


I am thankful that I am not a member of any religious institution.

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