V. The Hierophant
and shroud like it's the coming of the Lord.
- Soundgarden, "Jesus Christ Pose"
Imagery: A figure sits upon a basalt throne; his face is stern and impassive; as stony as the stone of the chair he now sits in. There are three figures, two male and one female, that bend their knees before his almost overpowering presence. His left hand is held out in a sign of warding or a demand for obeisance, while his right holds a staff of gold. The staff has three concentric circles that form its top-piece, and within the spaces of those circles flowing glyphs spell out a secret which no tongue can utter.
Meaning: The Hierophant is the instructor and the urge to instruct, with all that it entails. An instructor demands respect from the student, and in return for this deference shows the student the ways and paths that they can walk without falling. Authority is represented in the figure of the Hierophant, as is observance of traditions, but there is also the danger of hubris and arrogance which is ever-present for those who must illuminate the path. The Hierophant guides others on the road of life, but should take care to also avoid getting lost. Knowledge is no guarantee of success.
VI. The Lovers
"It's you that I adore,
- The Smashing Pumpkins, "Ava Adore"
Imagery: Two figures lay on a bed of cut bracken, they have one another in a tight embrace and are kissing passionately, their forms so entwined that it is nearly impossible to identify the male from the female. An eclipsed sun watches their tryst, perhaps hiding its eyes from the passion that it sees. Behind them, in the darkened horizon, a city burns with tall flames and a volcano unleashes a torrent of blazing lava and sulfurous ash into the already dusky sky. Both Lovers clutch knives in their right hands in a symbolic gesture… both have their eyes tightly closed.
Meaning: The Lovers represent the carnal and spiritual aspects of love and passion, as well as the ultimate reason and cost for such. Their oneness is the closest that two humans may share, a bridge formed of essence that spans between body, mind, and soul forging one being where once there was two. Yet in this merging they are blinded to the greater forces that surround them, forces of both creation and destruction, they briefly recapture the innocence of beginnings. All this before the recognition of endings comes, for no such binding can last before its own raging energy destroys it from within.
VII. The Chariot
"A long train
held up by page on page,
- The Sisters of Mercy, "Lucretia, My Reflection"
Imagery: A Dark Unicorn prances in a wild and fetid marsh, its alicorn-horn wreathed in azure flames that cast a blue glow on the dim marsh’s landscape. Its proud mane is also made of these icy-blue flames; they ripple and flag in the wind as it blows through the swamp’s throat. The rider of the Dark Unicorn holds tightly to the jet reins of his mount, his face both fearful and amazed at the puissance of the creature he rides. The look of the unicorn speaks of fearful and manic speed. The unicorn is saddled and barded in silver, its hooves flash sparks of blue as they strike the ground.
Meaning: The Chariot represents speed toward your goals, but it is also indicative of a loss of control, you are the rider but the choice of destination is not solely yours. The Chariot will bear you to where it wills, but you must remain ever cautious and aware, for the mount you ride is swift and fleet, it is also touched by the wild aspects of chaos. You may need to abandon this mode of transport if you come to feel it is not bearing you to your desired goal. The Chariot is both chaotic and unknowably potent.
control of a history untold,
- The Damning Well, "Awakening"
Imagery: A waif-like individual wrestles with an itsumade, a ferocious and protean beast containing and blurring the aspects of many animals of legend. The person does this seemingly without effort, as her face neither reveals strain or concern; rather a placid, complacent peace graces her features. The beast has torn off much of her clothing, revealing a boyish body covered with rune-like tattoos and scars, blood flows from a shallow gash on her stomach; the gash appears oddly like a caduceus made in lines of anemone-red blood. The woman is on her back as the beast strains to get at her throat.
Meaning: Strength is an aspect both of the war we maintain with the greater world around us, and the more secret war we wage inside ourselves. Chaos, represented by the ever-shifting itsumade, fights a fierce struggle with the scarred and tattooed waif, who signifies Order. As they fight so do we fight, the tides of Chaos and Order sing within us and plunge us into battle with both the world and ourselves. Strength gives us the ability to stave off both alike, and remain in state close to Balance.
X. The Hermit
"Now I watch
as the rain comes down,
- The Cruxshadows, "Walk Away"
Imagery: The Hermit stands at the summit of a vast mountain, robed in vests the color of a starless night. His lamp has fallen to his feet and shines its starlight down the slope of the mountain so that others might see to find their way. The Hermit, however, has turned away from the mountain and now faces the night sky. His staff lays broken at his feet as well, an implement that served him well in the ascent but is now used up, a tool that has been cast aside. The Hermit holds his hands to his face as if sobbing; there is great sorrow and a sense of grim finality we cannot quite understand.
Meaning: The Hermit represents the final ascent we can make as ourselves, the realization that we have achieved the summit, but that there is still yet a ways to go. His tools cast aside for the next climber to find and perhaps use, the Hermit now contemplates the next step on this grand journey, and the sacrifices that will now be required to continue on his way. The summit is ultimately a place of loneliness, there can be no returning to the safety and sanity of innocence and ignorance now that the mystery has been grasped. The way to greater mysteries is open now, but the road is one of deep pain.