In the Initiatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn, there are three cards that when set together side-by-side form a panorama. They are The Empress, The Emperor, and The Hierophant.

I’ve used my newly acquiring, super-amazing Photoshopping skillz and put these cards together for you. I think it is pretty cool.

Now, the LWB says nary a word about this at all, so we are, first, left to discover it on our own, and, second, left to our own devices to determine why. Was it just a clever little trick that the artist threw in for fun? Is there some unusual relationship between these three cards that someone with more Golden Dawn knowledge than I have knows about (if so, let us know in the comments, please!)?

It is interesting and puzzling to me. I sometimes think of pairs, such as the Magician and High Priestess, the Emperor and Empress, or even the High Priestess and the Hierophant (especially in decks where the Hierophant is renamed the High Priest). And I may have, at some point in my life, thought about the Magician, High Priestess, and Hierophant. But I am pretty sure that I have not considered the Empress, the Emperor, and the Hierophant as a trio.

The Empress has a dove, sign of Venus nearby, and sits by the dawn. The Emperor has a ram (easy…Aries) technically sits in front of a curtain, but probably really the height of the day. The Hierophant has a scroll (which is usually given to the High Priestess, who, in this deck, has no scroll) and sits at the sunset, his arms resting on bulls (for Taurus).

How do these relationships affect the meanings of these cards? Let me know what you think in the comments.


Written by Barbara Moore
The tarot has been a part of Barbara Moore’s personal and professional lives for over a decade. In college, the tarot intrigued her with its marvelous blending of mythology, psychology, art, and history. Later, she served as the tarot specialist for Llewellyn Publications. Over the years, she has ...