The Hierophant

The Hierophant by Jason Beam featured on Jonathan Maberrys Cryptopedia

As I researched the The Hierophant, I discovered that a lot of Tarot renditions stay true to the original cards – and I am going to do that in spirit, but I also think that adding my personal interpretations is important to the work as well. So this first piece, and the pieces that follow will have a short interpretation of the meaning of the image, based on my beliefs and philosophies that tie in with the connotation of the original cards.

The Hierophant card represents the traditional, orthodox teachings of religion considered suitable for the masses. She is the ruling power of organized religion. Originally, The Hierophant is seen positioned between two pillars to represent the duality of nature – and it meant that man must choose one or the other, justice or disobedience, mercy or severity. In this rendition, I replaced the imagery of the pillar with an arch, to show that modern humanity has replaced the choice of one or the other with the selfishness of desiring both and the hipocracy of choosing one under special circumstances and ignoring the other in contrasting circumstances – of which modern organized religion is the most guilty of all. The imagery of three is significant, and I have used the three attributes of Jesus Christ/Christianity (the nail, the rosary and the crown of thorns) – which also represent the Mind, Soul and Body. The naked, stoic angel represents the dichotomy of sexuality: the pure and the adulterated.

This illustration appeared on the cover of  Jonathan Maberry‘s Bram Stoker-winning ‘Cryptopedia‘ book.