Saturday, August 22, 2009

Larry's Notes: Meditations on the Tarot - The Pope

In this installment of my notes about Meditations on the Tarot, I'll be talking about the Pope, more commonly known as the Hierophant. The key concept given by the book for this card is benediction, or blessing, which takes place in response to prayer on our part. Both are necessary because of what I wrote in the last posting about free will. Just to recap, the theory given in the book is that God influences the world in response to our willingness for him to do so, because only in that way can free will be preserved.

There are a couple of prerequisites, according to the book, to aligning our will with the Divine will so that Divine Magic can take place. The first is closing what the book calls the "five wounds," which correspond to the five wounds suffered by Our Lord on the cross. These five wounds are wounds in our soul, the desires "for personal greatness, to take, to keep, to advance, and to hold on at the expense of others." The book talks about acquiring five wounds corresponding to giving up those desires. My contention is that the desires themselves are wounds and need to be closed. But that's just a difference in terminology as I agree with the basic concept.

So how do we close the five wounds? The answer given in the book is "the practice of the three traditional vows, namely obedience, poverty and chastity." (Didn't expect to see that in a book about Tarot, did you?) Obedience in this context means what you think it would. Poverty and chastity require more explanation. Poverty is explained in the book as "the practice of inner emptiness." I prefer to think of it as "emptying your cup" as in the story of the man who went to see a sage, but was so full of his own opinions that he didn't have room for the knowledge he was seeking. Chastity is explained as living "without covetousness and without indifference." It sounds like a tall order, but it's really about purity of will; about the quest you're on being more important than anything else.

The best thing about the three vows is that you don't need to join a monastery to practice them. You can (and should) lead what seems to others to be a normal life. Stay tuned for the next installment about the Lover (not what you think).

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