Marseille Pope

from the Marseille Tarot
illustrated by Jean Dodal

from the Rider-Waite Tarot
illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

It is not in himself that the numen resides,
But in what he represents, making the holy sign
As the Priestess does not - so it is observed. (*)

‘Pope’ he is called, ‘High Priest’, ‘Hierophant’,
As the cards record. Behind him are the pillars
Of the Temple, the outward facade of the Portal

But not the Portal itself. Who do they worship,
Those who kneel before him? Is it the symbols
Of his power or what they represent?

He maintains them, treading the straight path,
Holding the gatehouse against those who stray
But yet may find other ways through to the truth

He guards so assiduously.   Otherness is not here
Until his sign beckons it and none may come to it
Except that he guides them. So he does say.


(*) “It is notable in this connexion that the High Priestess makes no sign.”
-A. E. Waite

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