The Hierophant and Mickey Flodin’s Signing Illustrated

They’re doing that hand jive all over town. — Johnny Otis

The Rider-Waite-Smith Hierophant

My friend Adam Goldstein’s article, Signing for Shakespeare, reminded me of my interest in sign language. I went to my library to check out a few books, the most helpful being Signing Illustrated: The Complete Learning Guide by Mickey Flodin.

Direct from the book’s glossary:

“Dactylology — Using the fingers and hands to fingerspell and communicate.

“Iconicity — The characteristic of a sign resembling what it represents. Example: The sign for elephant moves the hand, from the mouth, in the shape of a elephant’s trunk.”

The Hierophant's right hand

The Hierophant holds his right hand in the traditional sign of benediction, two fingers extended to indicate “that moral problems involving the opposites of good and evil are under his domain.” (Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey, Sallie Nichols, 121) He may hold the key to the holy mystery of the Trinity in his palm, beneath his other fingers.

Should you stand in the shadow of this blessing, however, one might be excommunicated, as the shadow suggests the shape of the devil.

The Hierophant is a teacher, providing the opportunity to look for blessings rather than curses, truths rather than superstitions — thanks for the read.

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