We have just entered the astrological sign of Taurus and the traditional tarot card link is 5 The Hierophant. The essence of The Hierophant is about learning and teaching through institutions and tradition. This got me wondering about the phrase “separating Church and State”. In ancient times the leader or monarch ruled by the concept of divine right. These people believed that it was their responsibility to take care of both the spiritual and corporeal needs of their people.
The downside of this is that when the leader was not disposed to the welfare of the people and only served his own needs, the masses suffered. More recently we have HH Dalai Lama who served as both spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people. HH recently resigned his political post to better serve his faith and followers.
The Hierophant in some tarot decks is also known as The Pope or Papess. The Pope serves as ‘the Vicar of Christ on Earth’ and is believed to have authority over the Catholic Church and therefore indirectly over the state. During the Renaissance period (when tarot was developed) the papacy was both the religious and political ruler.
I see this as rather exclusionary – not everyone follows the faith of the spiritual leader, and would have had to conform to the laws of the church. Poor Socrates was executed by the Athenian state because they believed his teachings ‘disrespected the gods’. In the past South Africa was seen as a Christian state, after the adoption of the constitution in 1994 South Africa is religiously neutral and guarantees the freedom of religion, belief and opinion.
What do we learn from the 5th Major?
We need to be centered within our selves and the way to do that is to practice a philosophy daily. Whether it’s by prayer, meditation or just spending time contemplating our position in the world, we learn by insight.
It has been said that ‘you are the centre of the universe’ and I believe that. It all starts and ends with us, as individuals. Our thoughts and actions have an impact on those around us. If we all learn to live with balance and harmony and we extend our knowledge to others, lead and inspire by example, then surely the world would be a better more conscious place .
We should honour our traditions – what ever they may be. Time erodes and if we do not consciously practice what we believe in, it will disappear. Performing rituals and rights keeps a tradition alive and passes it onto the next generation.
Family does not always have to be our biological connections. We make a ‘family’ from people we love. We share common experience, hopes and dreams. We create a truth in our community. This leads us to a sense of freedom. A power to achieve anything we believe in, we hold the keys of heaven within us. Unlock the power within, share and lead.
5 The Hierophant – UMZI
iTongo Tarot for Transformation
CONCEPT: Practice a philosophy daily /Patriarchal law /Spiritual truth and purpose /The concept of family and community /Inspire others by example /Growth by learning and teaching /Practical and firm /Productive; Solid work ethic /Material rewards for efforts /Freedom
UMZI invites you to experience growth through learning and teaching.
The Home (Kraal) as a Sacred Place
The home (Kraal) is the environment of a clan, comprising houses or huts, ancestral graves and cattle kraals. Interaction between these elements creates a well balanced, harmonious, and development place for children. The home is the fundamental place of worship and nothing is more sacred.
Each homestead has a great hut, called indlu enkulu. Usually, this hut is used for cooking, though sometimes for sleeping. The fireplace (iziko) divides the inside of the hut into two sections. The section to the right, on entering the door, is where women sit, and to the left is where the men sit and socialise. Behind the door on the women’s side is the place for labour and childbirth, and this area is also where the attendant religious and social practices are performed.
Divisions of the cattle kraal
Ixhanti (cattle kraal entrance) is important in African tradition as it is believed to be highly charged with the presence of the ancestors, and is also where the clan will be heard by the ancestors. Going to ixhanti shows the seriousness of the problem and it is the place where ancestors are asked to intercede.
Ancestor (amathongo) worship is a practice based on the belief that deceased family members have a continued existence, take an interest in world affairs, and/or possess the ability to influence the fortunes of the living. Ancestor veneration ensures the ancestors’ continued well-being and positive disposition towards the living; and includes requests for special favours or assistance. While not universal, ancestor veneration occurs in societies with every degree of social, political, and technological complexity, and it remains an important component of various religious practices in modern times.
Sitting position: From the entrance, the kraal is divided into two sections representing the male clan members and the members of the community. To the right, clan members sit according to seniority, while to the left sit the community members, also according to seniority by birth and initiation. Isilimela (the years of adulthood since initiation) determines the seniority of most Xhosa males.
Umthonyama (The side opposite ixhanti at the back of the kraal) Towards the back on both sides sit the young initiated males (abafana). The seniority of abafana is defined according to the period that has passed since their initiation. The youngest, therefore, sits at the back. Boys (young uninitiated males) have no special place in the kraal. They are considered immature and under the strict supervision of their parents.