The Tarot is a powerful tool for intention setting and conscious growth. With The Hierophant Sessions, Melinda Lee Holm shares how to discover which card is your Tarot teacher right now …
We generally consult the Tarot when we have specific questions and seek clear answers.
Yet in the same way that we look to figures like Joan of Arc, Yogananda, Angela Davis, and Harvey Milk as role models, we can also look to the Tarot’s archetypes not just as divination tools to give us information about our lives, but as actual guides for our behavior.
In my own work, I use the cards as practical guides, and encourage my clients to actively work with the deck by meditating on its images, setting altars to archetypes, and consciously cultivating relationships to these symbols through everyday strategies.
I’ve selected my top Tarot “teachers” and techniques for you below. See if you recognize yourself in any of these types and when in doubt, separate the 6 teachers, shuffle, and pull one to discover whose guidance is calling to you right now.
1// Teacher: The Empress. You may need The Empress if you are experiencing: impatience, narrow focus, scarcity mentality, a closed heart.
The Empress teaches us that sometimes the best way to get the great love and prosperity we desire in life is to wrench open that bear trap around our little modern hearts, lean back, and let the love flow! There is an element of profound trust inherent in this card, a fundamental knowing that we are loved by the Earth and the Universe and that by simply opening up and loving unconditionally, we can tap into that great well of abundance they promise.
**Activate The Empress by embracing the idea that to give is to receive. Volunteer your time cooking at a shelter, reading to children, caring for animals or the environment, sorting food at the food bank—anything that gets you immersed in that consciousness of the Universal flow. Showing your love for others and backing it up with your time and money is a great way to get into Empress mode!
2// Teacher: The Hermit. You may need The Hermit if you are experiencing: stress, feeling overwhelmed, lack of direction.
Scent: Lemon balm
When it all feels like it’s just too much and you want to run away, it may be time to do just that—with the focused guidance of The Hermit. While in common usage we use the word “hermit” as a synonym for “recluse,” in the Tarot the figure is a wizened sage who seeks solitude in order to gather more wisdom. The seclusion he seeks is not motivated by desire to hide, but rather to cut out the noise to better focus on gathering the knowledge he needs to best serve not only his own personal development, but the needs of the broader community.
**Activate The Hermit by thriving in the cycle of intake and reflection. Try reading a great book on a topic near and dear to your Self and take time to journal for at least 30 minutes after reading each chapter. Solo trips into nature are a great Hermit activity as well—if you can’t make a trek into the mountains, sit alone under a tree in a park for a few hours. It’s a great time to read that book!
3// Teacher: Strength. You may need Strength if you are experiencing: isolation, fatigue, weariness, feelings of resentment.
This card teaches us that true strength comes through co-creation and collaboration with the world around us, and through knowing our strengths and our weaknesses and embracing both. So much in our society pulls us apart and encourages us to see our fellow humans as competitors or even adversaries. Strength counters this messaging and reminds us that we are all children of the Earth and the Cosmos, and that when we embrace each other and our home we can achieve the greatest results. Only through vulnerability can we fortify ourselves to accomplish our greatest goals.
**Activate Strength by seeing the results of co-creation appear before your very eyes. Complete a project with someone close to you—this could be a household project with your partner or a creative project with a friend, anything where you are working in tandem with someone else and there is a clear concrete goal you can see completed. Repeat as needed!
4// Teacher: The High Priestess. You may need The High Priestess if you are experiencing: disconnection from self, lack of confidence, feelings of being unworthy, imposter syndrome.
The High Priestess calls us to fully explore the depths and dark corners of our souls. Just as the Moon shows itself by reflecting the light of the Sun, the High Priestess teaches us to look for clues about our true natures by looking at our reflections all around us. All of this inner exploration is made possible by her dedication to maintaining strong boundaries around her temple (nuns may be our closest living embodiment of High Priestess energy). From her, we can learn how important it is to enforce and maintain strong boundaries around a space we designate as sacred in our lives.
**Activate The High Priestess by designating and consecrating your temple. Your studio, office, bedroom, even a little corner of your living room that is just yours. Choose a space, clear it (physically and energetically), and then very selectively populate it with items that reflect you as you aspire to be and be seen.
5// Teacher: Death. You may need Death if you are experiencing: scattered thinking, lack of productivity, obsessive thoughts about the past, inability to form new relationships.
Stone: Black Tourmaline
When we try to hold onto ideas, patterns, and even relationships that have passed their usefulness to our well-being, it can manifest in a confusing series of seemingly unexplainable setbacks and energetic blockages. As the confusion sets it, we tend to clamp down ever harder, afraid to lose the ground we’ve worked so hard to gain, and further exacerbating the problem. The magic and wisdom of the Death card shows us that loosening the grip and allowing release is the surest way to make more room for new growth to emerge.
**Activate Death by leaning into the wisdom of letting go. Start with donating clothes you no longer need. The act of purging material posessions has a profound effect on the emotional and energetic bodies that can lead to greater ease in releasing emotional patterns and psychic loops.
6// Teacher: The Hierophant. You may need The Hierophant if you are experiencing: lack of meaning, directionlessness, strained connection to the Divine, difficulty finding your path.
Stone: Herkimer Diamond Quartz
While all of the cards offer wisdom and guidance of their own, The Hierophant stands apart as the one figure completely dedicated to downloading Divine teachings and disseminating that information for the benefit of others. If you’re feeling lost, calling on The Hierophant can be a powerful force to help you find the direction you need. Working with this card in manifestation practice can even bring in the teacher or mentor you need to get going on your path and achieve your goals – as long as those goals are aligned with your spiritual purpose!
**Activate The Hierophant by quite literally finding your gurus. Read spiritual texts, go to group meditations, go on a retreat if you can swing it—just get around as many people and ideas as you possibly can that are inspirational and aspirational to YOU. And be ready for the surprise twist where you actually end up being the guru someone else was looking for! We all have wisdom to offer the world.