Dogma, tradition and patriarchal society comes to mind when the Hierophant appears. At its best, he is a benevolent teacher, kindly and understanding. The Papal tradition is the model – and we know they still have not really forgiven Galileo for suggesting that the Earth revolves around the Sun. If you like orderly society, the family unit, the mother at home baking cleaning and nesting while her perfect husband is out earning an honest crust for the school fees, he is perfect. Unfortunately, life ain’t like that. Behind that perfect exterior many sins are hidden. Innovation and experimentation is stifled, for the powers that be know what is best for their flock. When the Hierophant hits the rocks, there is a lack of respect of for authority and tradition. People live in sin rather than tying the knot in church. People seek alternative lifestyles, children accumulate a bewildering number of ‘uncles’, and have no respect for teachers, parents or the police. Hmm, sounds like modern society. Of course, there is nothing new under the sun, and that society has always been like this, and these days we are more likely to see the warts.
An example of an individual Hierophant would be one of those preachers who extols the virtues of the perfect family, screaming abuse at prostitutes and other sinners, for they are destined for Hell… and the money rolls in. Later, he is found in a seedy hotel smoking crack with several hookers. Suitably chastened, tears rolling down his cheek, he implores his flock to forgive him for his singular indiscretion.
So, should we see him as the projection of perfection in society when in fact it is rotten underneath the façade?
Book of Thoth: Hierophant
Offer thyself Virgin to the Knowledge and Conversation of thine Holy Guardian Angel.
All else is a snare.
Be thou athlete with the eight limbs of Yoga: for without these thou are not disciplined for any fight.
Stubborn strength, toil, endurance, placidity, manifestation, explanation, teaching, goodness of heart, help from superiors, patience, organization, peace.
Benediction and orthodoxy, for Aleister Crowley this represents the Holy Guardian Angel. All things relating to education, patience, help from superiors.