Tuesday, June 24, 2008


The Hierophant has always been a little difficult for me. I identify a bit too closely with it as it was the first card in the deck I found out was one of my “family” of cards. (I’m a 5 by both name and birth date numerology, and The Hierophant’s number is 5.) This has meant that when it appears in a reading I feel put on hyper-alert for special s-i-g-n-i-f-i-c-a-n-c-e. Even before I learned of my relationship via numerology to this card, I’d been reading a great deal about it to form some sort of workable, open relationship to it, as The Hierophant is not a card I -- and others I know -- buddied right up to. His association with tradition and established religion can be off-putting to those of us on more fringe paths. Fortunately, it was not long before I learned of the association with intuition or inner teaching/learning. And it helped that the card’s astrology sign is usually Taurus, which is where my moon is. Of course, that also heightened that sense of possible “special significance” when it shows in one of my readings. :-)

The upshot of all this is that I’ve been waiting with a lot of curiosity to see what sort of Taiga Tarot design ultimately suggested itself to me for The Hierophant. In another very basic symbol deck I was designing years back, I had pretty much decided on using an ear for The Hierophant, but was never very happy with that, and did not think it could work with this deck, either. As usual, my dream world came through for me. On May 13, 2008 I had a dream about which I wrote this tanka:

the presence predicts
I'll freeze at first ghost contact
but I'm on a roll
across the bridge by starlight
feet first on a swift gurney

What’s immediately relevant to The Hierophant is “the bridge by starlight.” In fact, it was only when I remembered that alternative names for The Hierophant card are The Pope or Pontiff, and that “Pontiff” (pontifex) means “bridge builder,” that the dream opened up for me. And “starlight”? Intuition is sometimes referred to as twilight or starlight vision. All this led quite quickly to this design:

Before going on to share versions of The Hierophant from other decks, I should add that for me personally, The Hierophant in a reading (especially when I was still reading for others) often indicates that some sort of mediumistic information is trying to come through. This aspect is referenced in the above dream/tanka via "presence" and "ghost."

For comparison, here’s The Hierophant in the Rider/Waite/Smith deck:

And here it is in The Star Tarot:

.... from The Tarot Chapel at Avenieres (wall mosaics):

.... and from The Tarot Graphica:

BRIEF BACKGROUND ON THE TAIGA TAROT (Click here for additional background on the Taiga Tarot.):

Please note: This deck is not necessarily being designed for use in divination, but rather to share taiga based on each of 78 Tarot cards.

When I decided the name of the deck would be The Taiga Tarot, I liked not only the alliteration but the resemblance of the word “taiga” to “tiger.” One of my power animals is the Siberian Tiger (and by extension, all tigers), which first appeared as three tiger kittens in a dream. What I had completely forgotten at the time was that the area of Siberia in which the tiger ranges is called “The Taiga”!

A “taiga” (briefly put) is an illustrated tanka. A “tanka” is a mood poem written in five lines, that usually references natural images and human emotions. Also, there is often a contrast or conclusion or response in the last two lines to the first three. I recognize that the tanka/taiga I’m developing for The Taiga Tarot are non-traditional. As with the dreamku I write (haiku-like poems about dreams), I am not only attempting to bridge two things – Tarot and taiga – but also bringing my own experimental slant to it all.

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'til next time, keep enjoying The Tarot,

**** [aka: Patricia Kelly] **** If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)**** SEE ALSO: Roswila’s Tarot Gallery & Journal; Roswila’s Dream & Poetry Realm; and DREAMJIN: for Haiku-Like Dream Poems, a Yahoo group.****