If you are unfamiliar with the Enneagram, you might want to start here with the Introduction to the Series.
The Breakthrough of Wisdom
Welcome to the fifth video in our series, “The Enneagram and the Major Arcana.” In this series are looking at the gifts of the Enneagram and matching them to the corresponding cards of the Major Arcana. Today we’re on the fifth gift of the Enneagram, and the fifth step in the Major Arcana. The fifth gift of the Enneagram is the gift of Wisdom. When people have the gift of Wisdom they are able not only to see connections, to see structures and get an understanding of how things work, but they are also able to offer those insights to other people.
But when a person is living in the distortion of the gift they live with the fear that they don’t have Wisdom. As is true for all the gifts of the Enneagram, fear of not having the gift results in an attempt to overcompensate and the development of neurotic behaviors. For the person with the gift of Wisdom that neurotic behavior is isolation. If a person is afraid they don’t have Wisdom they will pull away from other people. They don’t want to share the insights they have with others because they’re afraid that if they do they will be empty. The distortion is rooted in falsehood, of course, because any gift we use more than renews itself. That’s true with Wisdom as well – the more you offer your Wisdom to others you are filled up with new Wisdom – a fresher, evolving Wisdom that only becomes richer and more powerful.
Solving the Distortion of Wisdom
One way of solving the distortion of Wisdom is by applying the qualities of the Hierophant. “Hierophant” is an old word for “Pope,” but we don’t want to take that too literally. When the Tarot cards were developed, the church represented society at large. It was the public sphere, the communal experience of being human. Therefore the Hierophant represents moving from the household into the public sphere. In the Ryder-Waite Tarot, you can see the Hierophant sitting on his throne in front of the church faced with two apostles. H raises his hands to teach them. He is preparing them to take their place in the public sphere.
Last week we looked at the energy of the Emperor, which is the establisher of the household. The role of the Emperor is to make a safe place for us to practice and play, and to learn who we are really called to be, and to do it in a place that’s safe. But when you are ready to leave that household and to go into the world, you move into the work of the Hierophant. Your gift is not yet doing anything until you move out of the protection of the household and move into community. The Hierophant is the energy that helps you navigate community, figuring out what your work looks like in the world, what venue you use, what models you might use, what people you are called to serve.
The Hierophant as Example and Encourager
Not only is the Hierophant helping us make that transition, it’s also giving us a model for what it will look like when we are ready to offer our gifts. We will stand on the steps of the institution or community we serve, and we will bring others in. We will constantly flow out into the world because Wisdom is always self-sustaining. We never have to worry about running out of things to say, about running out of things to do, running out of the gift. Because the gift will constantly renew itself. That’s the good news of the Hierophant.
The challenge of the Hierophant is that it is really difficult to move from the household to the public sphere. Fear of visibility gets in our way, and it’s a very serious fear. In fact I would say that probably stops many of us dead in our tracks. We fear what happens to us when we are not protected by our household any longer and we are see by strangers. We might be rejected or scorned, even targeted or hurt. To protect ourselves we might try to offer our gifts in a sneaky way, that doesn’t put us in the public sphere. Of course this means that the people we’re trying to serve can’t find us.
Calm and Steady Energy At Our Service!
The good thing about the Hierophant is it’s not an emotional energy. It’s a cerebral, calm energy, like that of a scientist. It helps us come up with a strategy, to take reasonable steps in moving forward. It helps us step away from our hysterics and our fear of what’ll happen to us when we are seen. After all, just like the gifts’ distortions, these fears are based on fantasy, not fact. The Hierophant helps us steer away from delusion and negotiate real action in the world. It helps us negotiate our fear and move into action, discovering that as we move into action nothing bad really happens.
This is a really important step in our trajectory, the halfway point in the first part of Major Arcana trajectory. This is the point where you move from your private space into the public space. From now on we’re negotiating how to be community. I really hope this is helpful to you in identifying where maybe you find yourself stuck in offering your gift to the world. And this it gives you encouragement in how you move forward so that your gift does not stagnate and sit inside of you, going unused.