from the emperor to the hierophant

exploring the magic between aries and taurus season

hello, lovely friends, and welcome to taurus season. as a quick housekeeping note, i'm hitting a few speed bumps on my road to transitioning away from substack (did you know that stripe really doesn’t like tarot readers? i keep being reminded!), but i so appreciate those of you that are finding creative ways to pay me for my work without giving money to substack. i will continue to make my posts accessible to everyone until i’m able to get my content fully onto a new platform, and appreciate your patience.

from aries to taurus

today we move from the first to the second season of our new astrological year, shifting from fiery and independent aries to grounded, determined taurus. aries' cardinal fire wanted us to take all of the dreams and intuitive magic that we explored with pisces season and carry it into the real world, creating structures and plans that would allow us to put those big ideas into practice. but after that big explosion of energy, after making necessary adjustments and assuring ourselves that everything we want is truly possible, the fixed earth of taurus season helps us to slow down, find a sustainable pace for growth, and really dig into the every day work that helps us fully accomplish those big ambitions.

aries is associated with the emperor, an archetype of discipline and structure, rules and boundaries, protection and focus. this figure understands how to look at the big picture, how to take the fool's big dream and integrate the wisdom of the other archetypes they have learned from, how to create a strategy and a plan that will help us get exactly where we mean to go. the fool may be the one behind the steering wheel but they need the magician's energy, the high priestess' thoughtful perception, the empress' willingness to explore, and the emperor's ability to plan in order to get anywhere.

to keep running with this metaphor, we need more than what these figures have already provided to complete the fool's journey. we also need the insights of travelers past, the information that they have gathered, the routes that they have taken. we need the hierophant, because they bring a tool to this adventure that makes traveling through unknown worlds a lot easier. the hierophant is the one with the road map and compass, the history and knowledge of those that have come before, and this figure is eager to share what they know with anyone who cares to listen.

the wisdom of the hierophant

the hierophant is an archetype that can be challenging to work with, one that dwells between the physical and spiritual worlds, helping us keep our feet firmly on the ground even as our minds wander, our hearts engage, our souls demand to be seen. they’re often compared to religious leaders, popes and pastors, people that guard the laws of god and the knowledge of the world. it’s easy to think of them as gatekeepers and manipulators, as people that keep us from understanding, as rulers that restrict access to anything deemed too powerful or forbidden.

if we only view the emperor and the hierophant as figures who rule with an iron fist, who shut down all creativity and collaboration, then this might feel like an uncomfortable few seasons - moving from one dictator to another hardly seems like an improvement, and it makes sense that we might bristle under such confinement, such unrelenting control. yet instead of completely cutting us off from flow, these two archetypes instead offer us the tools we need to invest in ourselves, to put our ideas into practice, to create safe spaces of creation and productivity that will allow us to focus on establishing a solid foundation for our future work. they help us learn how to ask important questions, to find our footing and our people, to learn from those around us and figure out the best ways to protect ourselves even as we grow.

the emperor helps us clarify our destination, refine where we want to go. and once we know exactly what we’re after, the hierophant provides us with some new lenses to view our progress through, information from the past that can help us put our present into perspective, insights into the kinds of obstacles we may find along the way. the hierophant helps us integrate all of the lessons we’ve learned so far, so that we know where to turn when we get lost or confused.

the magic in between the emperor and the hierophant is as intentional and thoughtful as these two archetypes. during this transition, we find ourselves moving from a space of necessary structure to a possibility of finding new freedoms, as we experiment with different frameworks and figure out what resonates. after all, the hierophant is a devoted teacher and mentor - but they can only do so much, can only introduce us to the ideas and theories that have come before, can only share what’s in the past and offer it to us in the present. they cannot force us to believe, to have faith, to partake in the regular rituals and practices that they follow. it's up to each individual to decide how much they want to participate with any particular community, how deep they want to go. the hierophant may give a number of keys, but the fool gets to decide how many they will accept, and which doors they will ultimately unlock.

as we move into this season of slow, purposeful movement, as we consider how we balance labor and leisure, as we honor the magic of the sensual and the spiritual that can be present in even the most mundane tasks, consider the energy of the hierophant, and all that this figure is offering you. when are you eager to learn, and when do you prefer to trust your own instincts? how do you connect with members of your various communities, and what do you share about your experiences? how are you letting yourself expand, and where is it more comfortable to stay confined, restricted, in spaces that feel safe? what do you believe, and how is that belief reflected and explored in your daily habits and rituals?

to put another way: how often do you tap into the mysteries of spirit, and what do you learn when you’re willing to wander through those wild, unknown spaces? which tools enable you to take those kinds of risks, and how can you fortify those tools so that you can safely venture farther away from your usual paths?

if you're looking for more on taurus and the hierophant, as well as card readings for each sign, my latest round of tarotscopes for this season is now live at autostraddle. thank you for reading, friends, and have a beautiful taurus season.

images from this post feature cards from the fountain tarot. all photographs by meg jones wall.