Evening Read: 18 Feb 2016

Reading 2016, Feb 18
Animal Wisdom Tarot

Position One: What did I excel at or learn today?

Ram, Earth Father (The Emperor)

I worked very hard around the house yesterday, and I let myself rest for much of today. I was very tired! So I think today I did a good job of not being overly critical of myself and not expecting too much strict adherence to productivity and structure. I accomplished a lot yesterday, I did what needed to be done today, and I allowed myself to recuperate.

Position Two: How can I strive to be my best tomorrow?

Fox, Seer of Branches (Page of Wands)

I can be passionate and not take life too seriously. Tomorrow will be a big day of sorts for me, so if I can keep a somewhat mellow approach while maintaining enthusiasm that would be great. Don’t overthink things. Think of life as an adventure with the possibility of good things in store for me. Don’t assume the worst, and don’t hide my enthusiasm.


Reading: Openness

I’m a hot mess right now. Angry, sad, confused. My eyes are puffy, I have a headache. I don’t even really trust myself right now. So I asked tarot, “How can I be open to some movement toward positive change?” Because I feel like I’m not open to anything right now. I’ve very much in “scared donkey” mode right now. I’m frozen and everything sounds like a terrible and scary idea. I am not budging.

Reading 2016, Jan 28
Ostara Tarot

Five of Cups

Yes, I am grieving. I feel sadness and some regret. At this moment I am having a terribly hard time seeing that there are still cups standing. The cup that got knocked over was trust, so the others seem insignificant in comparison. This card has snakes, which can symbolize new beginnings. Right now sucks, but maybe maybe the contents of some of the other cups can be mixed up to make trust again. Maybe!


At this point in time, Strength seems to be saying to me, “Pull yourself together, woman!” My inner lion/dragon is a terrified thing running around in circles, knocking things over, and biting people. There is no balance! I need to take my inner dragon, hold its little face in my hands, and say, “Look, I know you’re scared right now. But trust me. We can do this. It won’t be easy, but it will be even harder if you don’t sit still for a hot second. You are adding to the chaos. Drink some tea, take a nap, find a safe place to calm down.”

The Emperor

My life feels like chaos right now. Maybe I can create some stability. Not over this situation at the moment, but I can fold the laundry, get back to daily tarot in the morning (that really helps start my day off right), and plan out the meals for the week. I can be someone I can count on. That little bit of created stability may make the rest of this mess feel easier to handle.

Two of Wands

In this depiction of the card, a girl is caged up while the birds fly free. I’m not ready to the leave the cage, but maybe if I can even just imagine that the door is open that might help. Like I said, I don’t know what the solution to this mess is, and nothing sounds good. But even so, if I just imagine that something (even if I don’t know what it is) can open the door maybe that will help. The Ostara Tarot’s lwb description of this card mentions courage, which is my word of the year. Maybe I can scribble the word on a sticky note and post it by my bed, because I’m having an awfully hard time remembering it on my own right now.

Reading: True Magic

Still feeling all ruffled and weird inside. Better than before, yes, but scared and vulnerable too. So I decided to try another spread from Barbara Moore’s Tarot Spreads. I settled on the “True Magic” spread to help reframe this issue in a way that can make me think outside the box. Think “magically,” if you will! I’m feeling at a loss for quite what to do and, like I said, feeling quite vulnerable. So as has become my norm, I am seeking some perspective from tarot 🙂

Reading 2016, Jan 8
Ostara Tarot

Position One: The magic I have, whether I realize it or not

Page of Swords

An enthusiastic curiosity and willingness to tackle any obstacle I find worthwhile. And I find this current obstacle incredibly worthwhile. I think that is part of what makes it so painful. It is so important to me, but the path is made of quicksand. I have to tread carefully. In some situations I’m totally at peace with taking things slowly. In this situation I am so eager to reach a better place I feel antsy and confused and unsure of myself. If I reframe this feeling as enthusiasm and dedication it may make the process easier.

Position Two: The magic I need and should try to acquire

The Emperor

Trust in stability. Trust in the stability of family. I need the magic of a supportive safety net that I know and believe will catch me if and when I fall. I need the magic of believing in the stability of other people’s love. I am fiercely loyal to those I love, but I don’t trust that most people who love me will return the favor. I need the magic of having people in my corner.

When I first began learning about this card, I didn’t really care for it. It felt rigid and bossy and constraining. I am beginning love this card because I pine for what it can represent: safe stability.

Position Three: Who will help

Ten of Coins

Well … family! Those I look up to and long to be family with. They can help, but we come from such different backgrounds that it is tricky ground to cover together. We each have such different ideologies about how to handle these things and how to even communicate about handling these things.

And perhaps my grandmother can help too. She is still with me in spirit, so even though I can’t call her anymore, I can feel her and know what her advice would be. She and I are soul mates, and I know she would want me to see this though. She would be firm that I stick around and not run away.

Position Four: What to do

Two of Cups

Practice active loving — and that includes for myself. This is trickier than it seems in this situation. Loving myself feels like standing up for myself (which I’ve done), and loving this other person feels like forgiving and allowing for another try at this. I want to do both, and that’s where I’m a bit conflicted. Where and how do I hop back and forth between to the two? To both protect myself and to participate in the rebuilding of this relationship? I’m not sure what the answer is, but those are indeed both things I deeply desire to do.

Position Five: What not to do

Five of Swords

Do not be so prideful and stubborn that I hurt myself and those around me. On principle it is tempting to throw in the towel and say, “Look, I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.” It would be one thing if that was the healthiest and best path for myself. But I would be devastated. Being vulnerable and working together is scary and will be hard work, but it’s better than the long-term regret and sorrow that would come from removing myself entirely from the relationship. That would be a mistake.

Position Six: Outcome

The Tower

I was startled when I turned this card over at first, but then I immediately thought, “Oh! A fresh start!” There has certainly been a proverbial fire, and an old way of functioning in a relationship is crumbling. So the outcome is the destruction of a damaged and unsafe way of being. I certainly hope that is utterly destroyed. I’m happy to burn that to the ground. I would love this outcome! This is best case scenario. I don’t want anything to do with the old way of things. I want positive and loving communication and respect. Not indifference and anger. Burn, baby, burn!

Overall Impression

I feel like this reading was loud an clear about family, love, and trust. I really feel like I’m settling into a comfortable groove with tarot where my intuition can kick in, and I can really connect the cards to my life. It’s a very cool feeling, and it’s such a support! I feel more physically at ease after a reading. It gets my thoughts more settled and allows me to find very productive ways of viewing the world and approaching the things that come up in my life. Ah, I love it!

Reading: Past Pains

Ugh, maybe yesterday’s evening read was more a peek at what today might feel like. I’ve made a lot of personal progress is processing my traumas and living a healthier life. But boy, some days the past just jumps up and pushes me off an emotional cliff. That was today! So I won’t be doing a regular evening read today. I don’t feel like looking for the silver lining. Today I just want validation for my feelings. So I drew four cards from tarot to see how it might do that.

In this particular case, things are indeed much better in the present day. But for several years, I was treated maybe not so good.

Reading 2015, Dec 21
Ostara Tarot

Eight of Cups

I feel defeated and disappointed. I have worked so super hard to get to this place of goodness that I am today. But some days all of that hard work feels like I had to beg for kind treatment. And that doesn’t feel good. At all. It makes me feel lonely and sad, like that poor eagle person sitting on the mountaintop in the card.

The Emperor

I don’t truly have a sense of stability. Despite wishing to feel otherwise, I feel like the rug will be tugged out from under me at any moment. That if I had to beg for something, how can I count on it to stick around? I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel secure in this connection or like I am being taken care of in the same way that I give care and consideration.

Page of Swords

If the Page can be a symbol of an immature state of development within a suit or element, I feel this is what I am up against. I feel that others do not think long enough to consider how their actions and words might cut me. I may be a sword-heavy person, but I am generally acutely aware of others’ feelings and do my best to make people feel comfortable, welcome, and loved. I don’t feel that I get that in return with any degree of consistency.

Knight of Coins

I feel like this Knight in the picture. Wading knee deep through snow with a bear — that I’m not sure I can totally trust. Maybe the bear has helped me in the past, but it’s also knocked me off my feet and bared its teeth in my face. It’s abandoned me when I needed assistance and left me lying in the snow when I’ve fallen. These things are hard to forget.

Overall Sense

An overall feeling I am seeing reflected back at me in this reading is insecurity, a lack of safety. Which in turn makes me feel angry. I put in so much time and work and I still don’t feel the same being returned. Like I said, things are actually much better than they were in the past. But like that bear in the Knight of Coins, I don’t feel sure things are all as they seem. It is an incredibly defeating feeling. Not my best day ever. Not my worst. A hard, sad day.

Two Card Pull

Tonight I’m feeling a little grumpy and a little jealous (which is a bit uncomfortable to admit). It’s actually been a good day, but a thing happened and I have a gross feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I thought I’d pull a card just to see what tarot might remind me or tell me.

Reading 2015, Nov 21
Animal Wisdom Tarot

Go figure, I’m too structured and get upset when things don’t go the way I planned them to. I am acutely aware of that. Since tarot stated the obvious, I pulled one more card to perhaps get some more insight.

Reading 2015, Nov 21 (2)
Animal Wisdom Tarot

While dissatisfaction might be the obvious message, I am really finding myself leaning toward the alternative interpretation of satisfaction with what one has each time I pull this card. This little crab might be saying, “Listen, life is good. You can’t get everything you want or make everything go the way you want. But take a step back. You have a pretty awesome life. And people love you and you’re only jealous of their time because you’re afraid. Take an honest look at what you have and see that it is more than okay and more than pretty good. It’s great.” Okay little crab, you were way more helpful than the ram tonight.

Oh, and it just occurred to me that they’re both fours. Structure, structure, structure. Yeah. Don’t be so rigid. I’m working on it.

VI. The Lovers

Efflorescent Tarot

Card Meaning

The Lovers can represent relationships, love, connection, and choice. In the Fool’s Journey, it can be representative of adolescence: the Magician and High Priestess are archetypes of “feminine” and “masculine” energies; the Empress and Emperor represent parents; and the Emperor and Hierophant represent larger social structures. From this perspective, the Lovers indicate a time of making choices based on one’s own desires, such as when a teenager begins to question the authority of those around them and to experience romantic / sexual feelings.

While the Lovers in the traditional RWS deck and here in the Efflorescent deck are presented as male and female, this doesn’t inherently have to be heteronormative in regards to the sexual/romantic element of the card. Male and female are used as archetypes, but really we each contain a mix of so-called “male” and “female” characteristics. The Lovers represent the “wholeness” that comes when we connect with others. The characteristics I have are complemented / completed by the characteristics of my sweetheart. This creation of wholeness is not limited to a romantic couple. Romantic partnerships come in many numbers and formations. The lovers represent connection in a broader sense as well, so our families and friends are essential relationships / connections. Together, we are more than pieces of archetypes; we come together to create a wholeness that does not exist when we are alone. Human are social creatures.

Gypsy Palace Tarot

I said in my first exploration of the Lovers:

I like the way that Paul Quinn explains love and connection within this card. “Sifted down to its essence, the Lovers Trump is not only an exclusive representation of the union of sweethearts and sexual partners (eros), it embraces the deep connections between soul mates and friends (philia). And at the other, less personal, end of the spectrum, the Lovers encompasses the unconditional, universal love for all beings (agape)” (66).

He also frames the cards as union or integration between “head and heart, conscious and unconscious, light and dark” (65). This again speaks to a balance of duality within our own selves. Reason constrains, so alone it would not facilitate advancement on our spiritual journeys. Passions frees, but without direction who knows where we’d end up. Joined together reason and passion are powerful.

Lovers - animals
Animal Wisdom Tarot, Animism Tarot

I think the Animal Wisdom Tarot’s honeybee is a beautiful representation of not only partnership, but with a wider, universal connection / love. Bees work together for the good of the hive and are communally connected in ways that humans are not.

The shadow of this card could indicate codependency, possessiveness, and over-reliance on others. The opposite / reverse of the Lovers could be a lack of connection, unwillingness to connect to others through a lack of trust or fear of intimacy, or antagonism or lack of cooperation.

Elemental Association

If I were to assign an element the Lovers, it would be water and earth since they speak to a meaningful (emotional, water) connection with others (outside ourselves, earth). It could probably just as easily be fire and air when it speaks to the balance between passion and intellect. At this moment in time, the water/earth assignment speaks most to me, but that could change with time! So depending on the context of this card, really it could be any of the four elements.

Personal Reflection

For such a long time, I kept myself at an arm’s distance from others because getting any closer seemed like a guaranteed way to get hurt. And really, it still feels that way, but I can’t be so lonely anymore. I do crave connection, and I desire it enough to travel into “unsafe” territory to try and make those connections. By unsafe territory, I don’t mean actually dangerous situations: I am allowing myself to get closer to the people I already love, which feels “unsafe” because of my background. Sometimes I make good steps, and sometimes I retreat pretty quickly when I feel I may be rejected.

Within myself, I am certainly a combination of “masculine” and “feminine” traits. I can go back and forth between periods of intense activity and deep introspection. I am very reason-oriented, but I am also passionate. Those two overlap quite a bit. My sweetheart is more silly and mellow, and I’ve learned many good lessons from him.

V. The Hierophant

Efflorescent Tarot

Card Meaning

The Hierophant is similar to the Emperor in that he represents social structures and rules. While the Emperor is fatherhood, physical protection, and government, the Hierophant speaks more to religion, spirituality, and ideology. So there is overlap in social pressure and expectations, but they are certainly two different pieces of the same pie. Rachel Pollack in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom draws our attention to the separation of church and state.

The Hierophant can represent social education within a spiritual, religious, or ideological tradition. While this tradition is supposed to represent that which is larger than us (God, the collective unconscious, the universe — whatever you call it), this education takes place within human institutions, which means there is always the possibility for corruption, error, and less-than-good intentions. I think Huzska’s depiction of the Hierophant does a good job of showing his humanness. 

The Hierophant
Gypsy Palace Tarot

The High Priestess, on the other hand, is an inner connection with the spiritual / unconscious. Her flaw, however, is in failing to connect with the outside world. A balance must be struck between following the doctrine taught by others and listening to one’s own inner voice of intuition.

The Hierophant can also represent one way of balancing, or attempting to balance, the duality of the Magician and of the High Priestess. This doesn’t inherently have to represent a religion with a figurehead. It can also represent a spiritual tradition that doesn’t necessarily ask for obedience: like tarot. Tarot has a long history, a few different schools of thought (regarding, for example, divination or reversals), and it offers a path to enlightenment for those who wish to practice it.

I like how the Animal Wisdom Tarot says that the bull can represent sacred knowledge passed though generations “through custom, ritual, symbol, myth, and beliefs.” This, to me, is the most beautiful thing about the Hierophant. Dogma is rigid, but a rich symbolic history of our beliefs can be a pillar for us.

Hierophant - animals
Animal Wisdom Tarot, Animism Tarot

As I stated in my last exploration of the Hierophant:

This card can also represent conformity/convention or deception, which can be thought of a few different ways:

  • A deception. A covering up of one’s true self in order to conform to better fit in.
  • A deception. A covering up of knowledge or information because you might think it best. This assumes you know what is best and can decide that for others. (Or the opposite, someone trying to hide something from you and deciding they know what is best for you.)
  • Conformity. Authoritative orthodoxy. Institutional and cultural expectations. Persecution or punishment for failure to conform.

The pillars represent the strength of the Hierophant’s philosophy. But pillars are man-made and can crumble like the Tower. This card may urge us to pay heed to the balance between our belief system and the truths we hold and openness to new ideas. To not be afraid to question how we came about some of our ideas. A rigid and dogmatic approach to life or to others is a refusal to understand the social location of others. Or perhaps we are feeling punished or persecuted by a “hierophant” in our lives: an institution, social pressures, religion.

Shadows of this card include gullibility or complete surrender of personal responsibility to a dogma. The opposite / reversal could be independent, original thought or it could also be an unwillingness to receive the help or support of a spiritual, religious, or ideological tradition when it could be a positive force.

Elemental Association

If I were to assign an element to the Hierophant, it would be earth. He doesn’t represent passion or drive, intellectual thought, or emotions. He represents a doctrine or tradition outside of ourselves.

Personal Reflection

This morning as I ate breakfast, I watched a documentary on the liberation of Dachau and cried the entire time. That is the most horrible, soul crushing side of the Hierophant. Blind obedience to unspeakably evil ideology. The light and dark of this card are no small matter; the Hierophant can create Wholeness or he can tear apart humanity.

Reading: The Emperor

Reading 2015, Nov 10 (2)
Gypsy Palace Tarot, A Reading for The Emperor from Rachel Pollack’s The New Tarot Handbook

Position One: How am I an Emperor in my life?

Nine of Swords

At this transitional moment in my life, I think this card can have two meanings. (1) My life has been structured by pain and grief. I can’t say whether I’ve built it that way or whether I “let” it happen, but either way pain and grief have been my life’s scaffolding for a very long time. (2) As I seek to take control of my life and rebuild my self and my approach to the universe (a possible “reverse” reading of the card), I am taking the Emperor’s role of both creating structure and stability and of protecting myself. I am stepping up to the throne, so to speak.

Position Two: How am I not an Emperor?

The Sun

I am not an Emperor when I use tarot to grow my spiritual understanding of myself, the world, and the universe. I am an Emperor by choosing a form of study to help me on the path of self-care, but I do not let structure get in the way of exploring tarot. I am able to not worry about what is “right” or “wrong” and to delve into the cards with an open mind and heart. A curiosity and openness that isn’t very Emperor-like. And I think that’s a good thing!

This card also appeared in my reading for The High Priestess. In that reading, The Sun spoke to letting my inner truth shine forth. By not over-Emperor-ing my approach to tarot, I can facilitate that happening.

Position Three: Where do I need to take charge?

Queen of Pentacles

The Queen of Pentacles loves nature, values hard work and simple pleasures, and brings love out into the world. She is a queen (water) within the suite of pentacles (earth). Perhaps I need to take charge of consciously finding the simple pleasures the world offers and anchoring my life’s structure around these things. I also ought to take charge of making sure that I am giving love into the world as well. The Emperor hold his orb representing his responsibility to the Whole. Part of this responsibility could be making sure my love is not hidden away. Share it consciously.

This is the third time she has shown up in five Major Arcana readings! First in my reading for The Fool for where I can be more foolish and last in my reading for The Empress for what nurturing gives me. All extremely positive positions.

Position Four: How am I weak?

Knight of Swords

Knights are air and swords are air. As I’ve said numerous times, I can be an overly-air-heavy person. My weakness is in placing too much value on intellect and “right” and “wrong.” This would lead an Emperor to be rigid and domineering, punishing or abusive even. I can work on overcoming this tendency by following the advise of the previous card: The Queen of Pentacles as a guide for where to take charge in my life: water and earth. I should just be careful to not take charge in such an “air-like” fashion. Take charge in some ways by giving over to water and earth. Letting water and earth take charge within me.

Huszka’s Knight of Swords looks like kind of a mess. A storm rages behind him, ships fly through the air, he has one leg and no pants. He keeps trudging forward, but maybe he needs to stop and reevaluate for a bit.

Position Five: How am I strong?

Ace of Swords

The Ace of Swords in this position may remind me not to demonize my air qualities so much. They are a strength. They just need to be directed in an appropriate manner so I don’t cut myself or those around me. My mind is strong. Use that strength in a positive and productive way.

Position Six: What rules, conscious or unconscious, govern my life?

Ace of Pentacles

Even though I am sword/air-heavy, there is a little Ace of Pentacles beating in my chest begging to be set free and planted in the ground. It feels like a bit of my “true self” that is trapped at times. I think that the rules that govern my life boil down to the interconnectedness of all things. People, animals, plants, the universe. The physical things that surround me are things I am intimately tied to, and so I want to be in harmony with these things. In loving harmony with my family of choice, in loving harmony with the creatures and plants that fill my world, in tune with the greater spirit/web that connects us all.

This card also appeared in my reading for The Fool regarding what gifts the Fool can give me.

Overall Reflection

I enjoyed this reading very much as it was a great way to see both the ways that I take power and control within my own life and the way that I either need to let go of power and control or need to take control in a different way/realm.

The presence of two Aces might suggest the great potential that lies before me as I take charge of my life.

IV. The Emperor

The Emperor
Efflorescent Tarot

Card Meaning

The Emperor represents society, structure, rules, fatherhood, and protection. The number of this card (four) further strengthens the message of structure and stability. For me, the Emperor’s shadows are most apparent: rigidity, constraint, or the harms of patriarchal rule. So I’m excited to learn more about this card to appreciate and understand its light side as well.

The Emperor can represent setting appropriate boundaries and creating order out of chaos. Boundaries allow us to say “no” when we need to and prevent others from taking advantage of us. Structure can create beauty and sustenance: choreography, agriculture, carpentry, recipes. Structure can protects us, feed us, and awe us. Tarot reminds us that rules and structure are complementary to passion and compassion. He does not shirk responsibility and owns and learns from his missteps.

The Emperor
Gypsy Palace Tarot

The Emperor can represent outer societal forces, structures, and expectations that influence our lives, for good or bad. He represents our process of learning to function within society as well as our process of creating our own life’s structure and rules.

The raven on the Efflorescent Tarot Emperor’s shield is a symbol of intelligence and rationality.  The sword the Emperor holds also reflects these air qualities. The orb he holds in his hand represents wholeness and his responsibility to the whole. The rams heads on his cloak represent a shadow aspect of being “stubborn” or “hard headed,” and the mountains behind him indicate strength and unwavering resolve. It is interesting to note that the Animal Wisdom Tarot’s Emperor is indeed the ram.

Additional shadows of the Emperor include blind loyalty to rules for their own sake rather than examining or questioning their purpose and giving over complete control of one’s life to others, whether it be a father-like figure or a larger social structure. The opposite / reversal can be an unwillingness to set boundaries or follow rules.

The Emperor - animals
Animal Wisdom Tarot, Animism Tarot

Elemental Association

If I were to assign an element to the Emperor, it would be air. He uses his intellect to carve order and beauty from chaos and to protect himself and this loved ones. His strength flows from his wisdom.

Personal Reflection

I actually really enjoyed getting to know the light side of this card. At first, I wasn’t sure how I could view it as anything but oppressive structural constraints. But a huge piece of positivity the Emperor can share with me is creating boundaries. I used to have no real personal boundaries. My whole emotional self belonged to others. It wasn’t until I read Kimberlee Roth’s Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds and Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem that I realized I was not capable of separating my own emotions from the emotions of those around me. It took a lot of practice, including finally letting go of some very harmful relationships, for me to actually believe it was (and is!) okay for me to set personal boundaries. That doesn’t make me selfish or mean or spiteful. It means I am a valuable person who deserves to be safe. And the Emperor agrees with me!

When the current structure in place sucks, buck the system, be your own Emperor, and build something that works and keeps you and your loved ones safe.

Daily: The Hierophant

HierophantThis is the fifth card of the Major Arcana.

Personal Reflection

I’m not sure at face value what this card means, but I’ll list some of the symbols I see. It seems like a religious figure. They’re holding up a hand with three fingers and a staff with three horizontal pieces. Two keys cross on their chest, one white one black. Several tall columns line the space where The Hierophant sits. A crescent moon is on the foot of the robe.

Reflection After Research

The Hierophant is associated with the element of earth, which indicates an association with the external forces in our lives.

This card represents conformity/convention or deception, which can be thought of a few different ways:

  • A deception. A covering up of one’s true self in order to conform to better fit in.
  • A deception. A covering up of knowledge or information because you might think it best. This assumes you know what is best and can decide that for others. (Or the opposite, someone trying to hide something from you and deciding they know what is best for you.)
  • Conformity. Authoritative orthodoxy. Institutional and cultural expectations. Persecution or punishment for failure to conform.

This is in contrast to card 2 of the Major Arcana: The High Priestess. She can represent heterodoxy (being unconventional or in the minority). The Hierophant represents a “higher” or “divine” authority as opposed to a legal or governing authority as the Emperor might.

The pillars represent the strength of the Hierophant’s philosophy. But pillars are man-made and can crumble like the Tower. This card may urge us to pay heed to the balance between our belief system and the truths we hold and openness to new ideas. To not be afraid to question how we came about some of our ideas. A rigid and dogmatic approach to life or to others is a refusal to understand the social location of others. Or perhaps we are feeling punished or persecuted by a “hierophant” in our lives: an institution, social pressures, religion.

We do not exist in a vacuum and we do not learn our values and beliefs in a vacuum either. I like what Paul Quinn says in Tarot for Life: Reading the Cards for Everyday Guidance and Growth: “Our task is to keep the ones [the ideas] that expand out spirit and retire the rest. … the Hierophant represents not only what one has learned or must learn, but also what one must eventually unlearn to nurture the heightened consciousness beckoning in the World card” (62, emphasis in original).

So the light side of this card could have to do with moral or ethical matters, loyalty to a group or collective beliefs, or following your own path even if it goes against convention. A shadow side to this card could be unquestioning conformity, self-righteous or dogmatic views, or behaving in ways that do not conform to your values.

Returning to the element of earth, this card represents how we view the world and how we are expected to behave within the world.

Hierophant - animals
Animal Wisdom Tarot, Animism Tarot

From my animal decks: 

Bull: Bull can represent sacred knowledge passed though generations “through custom, ritual, symbol, myth, and beliefs.” Dogma is rigid, but a rich symbolic history of our beliefs can be a pillar for us.

Stoat: A link between realms.