My friend Beth Owls Daughter writes that 2012 is the Year of the Hierophant according to the Tarot numerology system. The Hierophant in the Tarot is traditionally associated with the Pope as a symbol for religious structures and dogma.

The word Hierophant comes from the ancient Greek that means ta hiera,“the holy,” and phainein, “to show.”  In ancient Greece the hierophant was the priest who interpreted the sacred mysteries and served as the bridge between the spiritual experience and the individual worshiper, just as the Pope later took on that role.  The word Hierophant is also considered an advocate, proponent and supporter.

Beth quotes Caitlin Matthews (creator of the Arthurian Tarot)

The ancient Tarots make this card a Pope, while the more recent ones return to an older tradition of the hierophants of the Greek Mysteries.  Both Pope and Hierophant draw upon earlier traditions and represent important concepts. Drawing upon pre-Christian Roman religion, the Pope is called the pontiff or bridge who, in his own person, bridges this world and the other.

The ancient Mystery Religions were largely about the revelation of myth through dramatic representation or sacred ritual.  This is still an important part of our divinatory profession whereby the Tarot-reader bridges the everyday and the deep worlds for the client, through the medium of the cards’ story.

Beth also posts a Tarot spread created by Ms. Matthews to work with the energy of the Hierophant, the arbiter of the “Triple Crown” as she says of Fate, Free Will and Destiny. If you are a Tarot aficionado you may want to try this spread, but we can all use Caitlin’s outline of this spread as a map to unwind our past so that it lays out before us as a map to our future, without using a single Tarot card.

Wisdom of the Years Behind Me.

Begin by making a list of everything you have learned from the experiences that you have been through during your lifetime.  We often find that the most difficult and intense times of your life (often denoted by transits of Saturn and Pluto) are the times in which we gained the most insight and wisdom and deep understanding.

Sometimes it helps if we begin by listing the most intensely powerful and challenging experiences of our life, and then extract the gifts that came out of those experiences.

How I Wisely Traverse 2012

While there is nothing particularly significant astrologically for the year 2012, this is the year that Uranus and Pluto make their first exact square after coming close in the summer of 2011.  When the revolutionary (Uranus) and the destroyer and rebuilder (Pluto) face off in battle, the result is often intense and always involves endings and new beginnings.

What in your life are you ready to let go of?  Where is change needed in your life, and what do you need to do in order to achieve a flexibility of spirit so that this transformation can occur?

The Wisdom of the Years Ahead of Me

When you look ahead along the timeline of your future, what do you see?  Is the future blank and filled with fear?  Do you see a long and open road that is ready to be populated with people events?  Do you have a dream, a vision or an idea that can carry you into your future?

Whether or not we have a vision for the future, we will create it out of what we carry in the present.  Creating a vision for our future timeline is not the same as making a plan: the work of visioning requires a higher and broader view and a desire for a sense of purpose.  The transformation of the Uranus and Pluto square will continue through 2015.  Consider where you would like your life to be when this Great Transformation period is complete.

This Tarot spread also lays out three defining tools:

The Hand I’m Dealt (Me and my Fate)

In the astrological language, the hand we’re dealt is the birthchart.  This defines the potential of our personality and whether certain areas of life will be difficult for us or easy and harmonious.  Modern-day astrologers have learned that fate and destiny are two different things, and our free will is the determining factor of how one becomes the other.  The family we are born into, the circumstances over which we had no control – these are our fate.  What we do with that fate is up to us.

Looking along the timeline of your past, how can you define this hand that you were dealt?  What are the tools that you were given either to facilitate your progress, or to create challenges for you to overcome?

The Game I Play (Me and my Free Will

How we play the cards we are dealt is up to us.  Say you were beaten by your father.  Are you going to allow that experience to create bitterness and rage that will destroy your relationships and your future?  Or will you seek the help that you need to find the empowerment and compassion from the experience that can help you to become a mentor and healer?

This is where the path of Life becomes interesting.  We read about Free Will every day in the newspaper: how some people surpass incredibly horrific life experiences to accomplish great things, and others turn to a life of crime.  It’s all a question of how we play the game with the cards we’re given.

The Hand I Create (Me and my Destiny)

The question over whether or not we have any control over our Destiny is a thorny one and has been the subject of much debate.  Most dictionaries define Fate and Destiny as being synonymous, but my own belief is that they are quite different.

Using this triad of experiences, our Fate is the hand we are dealt, and our Destiny is created by how we play the Game.  Through the Free Will we have been given, we can make choices in our life that can alter the trajectory of the life that we are living.  In my theology, our higher self and celestial teachers assist in this process, speaking to us like the proverbial angel on the shoulder, helping to guide us towards the Right Actions that will help our destinies to unfold.

Most of us spend a great deal of our lives listening instead to the little devil on the shoulder which urges us to react in habitually patterned responses rather than break free of those bonds.  It takes wisdom and attention to learn to tell the difference between those two voices.

Where has your own voice of old habits and patterns held you back from making the transformations that are needed?  Where can you make better choices which will help you to break through the blocks to bring you closer to your own Destiny?

This is a beautiful exercise for the New Year and I thank Beth and Caitlin for their inspiration.  Please share your experience in the comments!

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