'My Reincarnation', a Hierophant's tale

December 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

My Reincarnation, a film by Jennifer Fox

My Reincarnation

The trailer below for the documentary My Reincarnation by Jennifer Fox, got me thinking about the Hierophant.

The movie is about the high Tibetan Buddhist Master, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, and his western-born son, Yeshi.

It traces Namkhai Norbu’s rise to notoriety in the West, and his son’s break from tradition to follow a modern path.

Though Yeshi was recognized at birth as the reincarnation of a great spiritual master, he chose not to follow the call.

It’s a fascinating story, and a classic Hierophant situation played out quite literally in real life.

Rinpoche Norbu is a celebrated spiritual leader respected by many thousands of people. He’s an expert on Tibetan history and culture, and is largely responsible for the spread of Dzogchen throughout the West.

#5 The Hierophant from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot

The Hierophant

In Tarot, the Hierophant is a spiritual master, pictured in the Rider Waite Smith deck with two acolytes below him. They come to him for answers, the key to all their questions.

He is the final word on tradition, and the spiritual mediator with the divine. It’s the Hierophant who sets the rules. And if he chooses to break them, it’s because he knows best.

The Hierophant’s authority is rarely questioned, at least not by his followers. His son, on the hand, is another story.

#6 The Lovers from the Tarot of Marseille

The Lovers

Yeshi is being asked to make a choice, not unlike the Lover in the old Marseille Tarot. Follow tradition, or move on to the what’s new.

In the last segment of the trailer, Yeshi says his father doesn’t understand the concept of being father and son. He says Namkhai Norbu sees him instead as the son of a master.

That’s just how I’d expect the Hierophant to see things. As great as Namkhai Norbu is, having a living archetype for a father must be tough sometimes.

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