Every year has a number that corresponds, in terms of magical numerology, to a tarot card. For 2012, 2+1+2=5, giving us the Hierophant card. The Hierophant can denote the transmission of teachings and traditions, which also relates to the preservation of cultural values. For Americans, this being an election year, we can expect a contest over what these values are, and who has the right to claim and “own” them. We can also see this contest at large, as many other countries have undergone changes that have resulted in different groups asserting different values. Bear this in mind if the Hierophant comes up in any of your readings this year. You might think about how your personal situation, or whatever matter is in question, might relate to this larger cultural debate.
The potentially revolutionary qualities of the Hierophant have not been appreciated, as many writers see it as denoting “the Establishment,” and if they have a troubled relationship with the Establishment, they’ll interpret the Hierophant in a negative light. However, the Hierophant is the Number Five card of the Major Arcana, and when we look at the Five cards in the Minor Arcana suits, they deal with energetic forces of change, denoting the destabilization of the previously stable conditions portrayed in the Fours. (In numerology, the number Five has a lot to do with the circulation of elemental energies, which is why the pentagram symbol is used to store and to move energy.) In the Swords and Wands cards, which deal with contests of ideas and causes, the struggles that are portrayed often involve conflicted relationships with larger groups.
Viewing the Hierophant as a force for change in 2012, we can think about calling upon the many different “wisdom traditions” that we have access to, because they still flow as subcurrents through our society. (This is a different take on what Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls the “rio abajo rio,” “the river below the river.”) A challenge for this Hierophant year is to identify and align with the kind of traditions and institutions that nurture and empower people. Then, our next challenge is to transmit this wisdom in keeping with the teaching style of the Hierophant—which, in the ancient temple of Eleusis, was to convince through “things said, things done, and things shown.”