Institutionalized. Or, loyalty to the establishment, whatever that institution or establishment may be or represent to you. It is The Way of Things, the Way Things Are and the Way They Have Always Been. As in, my father did it that way, as did his father before him, and his father before him. This card is actually called The Heirophant, from the old Greek, but my eyes don’t like that word so today I’ll call him The High Priest. A “Heirophant” is described in the dictionary as being “a person who brings religious congregants into the presence of that which is deemed holy” but can also be a professor at an established University or some other old, revered institution or methodology. They, he or she doesn’t just accept anyone, Grasshopper.
On this solemn and serious card is the Pope, facing us with his right hand held up in blessing. The traditional (Rider-Waite-Coleman-Smith) image shows 2 monks kneeling before him. They are initiates, wearing the little shaved bald spots that mark them as initiates and of which they are both very proud. He has approved of and has publicly declared them worthy of his esoteric knowledge. They take solemn vows. This is the card of the leader, the professor, the master, the maestro. Perhaps these kneeling people have been accepted into a respected and established University. This card has everything to do with tradition, and so the 2 kneeling humans before this Priest could be getting married, as this is a wedding card – the old fashioned kind, where someone’s wearing his or her mother’s wedding dress and is gifted with his in law’s secret bbQ sauce recipe. It’s been in the family for generations! Well,that certainly makes it official.
This card is associated with the conservative, grounded Earth sign of Taurus. At his feet are 2 crossed keys, one silver and one gold, the colors of the sun and moon.
Upright, the High Priest advises doing things ‘by the book’ if you want to be accepted by whoever or whatever. It’s a serious card, and expects to be taken seriously.
This is about making a commitment to or being accepted into a very specialized or exclusive association or society, or even a (possibly very prominent) family in which respect and adherence to the family traditions and values will be expected. ‘Papa’ is the Latin name for this card, ‘Papal’ of course is of the Father, or the Pope. People find comfort in their tribe who believe the same as they do, and look up to the spiritual leaders who lead them. That’s a lot of responsibility, Papa.
This card demands conformity and morality, but who defines and dictates these concepts?
The crossed 2 keys on this card always give me Church & State vibes, and that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
But – it’s tradition.
It’s midterm Election Day in the US.
Pray for us.