As I laid the final brush strokes of vermillion and scarlet, the synchronicity and timing were not lost on me. It’s a thought-provoking thing to be completing my painting of the Pope card as, simultaneously, the Roe v. Wade overturning hammered one more demoralizing nail in the coffin of our national and political institutions and organized religions—long past efficacy and out of step with the zeitgeist, but like a house in dangerous disrepair, are a powderkeg, a money pit, and a death trap that we are still trying to live in. We have lost our way as a country and are in a crisis of leadership. The graffiti on the wall could not be any clearer. The shadow side of the Hierophant looms large over us these days.
As this summer pulls us back into another Saturn-Uranus square that hearkens back to the deadlocked and volatile energy of 2021 (the Hierophant year); as this year’s eclipses in Scorpio and Taurus have us playing with poisons and antidotes; as the US Pluto return digs us even deeper into the mire of our own making; and as Lilith keenes and crows through Cancer, there is something of Kali-Medusa in the noxious air. Visions of lolling tongues, bared breasts, and rolling heads come to mind, as the People are stress-tested to their max.
The US Solar return soon approaches and then, like every year, leads us into a wet hot 8th house American summer—our rebellious, idiotic adolescence in full swing at age 246—but at least no longer in the reckless toddlerhood of the 18th and 19th centuries (we hope). And maybe with enough heartiness and blind optimism to keep believing in ourselves, thanks to Sagittarius on our collective ascendant. After all, we haven’t lost our ability to work together, to support each other, to push each other into new directions, and to grieve, rage and laugh together through the best of times and the worst of times. There is no room, or time, for cynicism in the Age of Air. We need vision, inspired and radical thinking, and practical action.
Is it subversive to cast a woman in the role of the Pope? Maybe to some. I say it shouldn’t be. In my Hierophant I see a reclamation of power, a remembrance of sacred truths, and an homage to the matriarchal and the matrilocal, to lineages of women and caretakers—the shepherdesses of society—who Get Shit Done, and have done since time immemorial, with little to no recognition or thanks. My Hierophant is soft and strong, proud and autonomous, and is the holder of knowledge and wisdom, and I believe she is not obsolete at all, but rather has much to teach us. She passes the keys to the next generation, to the children that will inherit the earth. She is the revealer of what is holy, and I hope we can be silent and reverent enough to hear her, before it’s too late.