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divinatory meanings-- teachings, traditional ideas, wisdom. gaining wisdom or knowledge from dreams.

reversed-- unorthodoxy, finding your own path.

the hierophant

the hierophant used to be called the pope. some modern decks name him the high priest, to show that where the high priestess conceals the inner mysteries, the hierophant reveals the outer truths. in many ways, morpheus, also called the sandman, dream, and the lord of dreams, is the very image of a high priest. like a high priest, morpheus does not so much act in his comic as preside over it. often, he will not even appear for several issues, and yet his presence pervades the story. it also is fitting that the hierophant for the vertigo tarot be a master of dreams. though the various vertigo titles make no attempt to form a single continuity (or style), many of them move in and out of a dreamlike state.

in many tarot decks, the hierophant represents orthodox spirituality. by contrast, morpheus has seen all religions come and go. he knows them as special dreams, and so can lead us beyond specific teachings to the strangeness and beauty of sacred experience. the word "hierophant" actually suits him very well, for it literally means "one who shows sacred things." in greece, the hierophant presided over the greater mysteries of demeter and persophone (remember the empress).

morpheus here appears more sensual, even androgynous, than we usually see him in his own book. we see the darkness of night in the card, but also strange colors, suggesting the luminous variety of dreams. he holds up his hand in blessing, a gesture from the standard imagery for the card. the wand he holds looks at first like the greek orthodox triple cross (another standard hierophant image). when we look closer we see that the crosses are wings. like something from a dream themselves, the wings signify the transformational power of dreams.

1995 dc comics

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