Paraclete, Comforter, Advocate:
Christian Archetype for Tarot Key V The Hierophant
(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2002-6

"....he symbolizes all things that are righteous and sacred on the manifest side. As such, he is the channel of grace belonging to the world of institution as distinct from that of Nature, and he is the leader of salvation for the human race at large. He is the order and head of the recognized hierarchy, which is the reflection of another and greater hierarchic order;"
from "The Pictorial Key to the Tarot" by Arthur Edward Waite
"V Hierophant"

"The symbol of three is repeated in his staff, revealing the realms of spirit, soul and body. The letter W at the very top is the Hebrew letter Vav, meaning nail, means of union, link. Here it is used to suggest the linking of man to God through the inner voice."
from "A Complete Guide to the Tarot" by Eden Gray
Key 5 The Hierophant

"The bridge from the conceptual to the tangible. The bridge between that what is heard by the ear and what is comprehended by the mind and spirit. The Hierophant is the holder of the Book of Knowlege, in a place where the information can be conceived by man(kind). He is perception. The giver and receiver of divine information, he is the tide of thought."
from "Guide to Tarot of the Sephiroth" by Josephine Mori and Jill Stockwell
The Hierophant Major Arcana V

Have you ever had one of those moments where "the spirit moved you". This often occurs during difficult or important personal, creative or business situations or out of pure, joyful spontaneity. Sometimes we find ourselves in situtations where only the right words, the right course of action or the right decision will do. Unfortunately, sometimes nothing is the only thing we know to say, to do or to decide - we may not have enough wisdom or skill to deal with the situation we are in. This is when it will occur, suddenly, inexplicably, in a flash and out of nowhere you open your mouth and speak with perfect clarity or you have the perfect comeback; you put your pen to paper and write with lucidity or the decision becomes manifestly clear - it all just comes together. It is almost like one day the light goes on and we can know that our time is up in this relationship, this job, this place or this particular situation and we can move forward with peace of mind.

The term "Paraclete" does not occur in the King James Version of the Bible, the translators used the term "Comforter". This is the English form of the Greek parakletos, a name given by Jesus to the Holy Spirit, and which may also be translated as Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Teacher or Helper. The word is derived from the Greek words para, which means alongside and kaleo, which means to call, invite, or summon. Advocate is probably the English word that most accurately represents the meaning of the original Greek. This term was part of the language of the Greek courts and indicated the defense counsel or attorney, as opposed to the diablos - the accuser or prosecutor. The name was used by the Apostle John to describe Jesus. The word spirit, in the Christian context, originated from the Hebrew word ruah which means sigh or breath. The word represents a divine influence or inspiration, a sign of the presence of God. The Apostle Paul translates the Hebrew ruah to the Greek pneuma which means breeze, wind, air or breath. He expanded on the definition to represent an atmosphere of divinity which would fill the life of the Christian and was fond of adding the adjective holy to the term.

The body is here to support the brain through the navigation of life, by collecting experiences and interpreting them through the five senses. The brain is here to house and support the mind. Mind is the home for sacred thought - the piece of the shattered vessel and light that we kept when we fell from the state of pure thought and perfect comtemplation with the Divine. Mind is the centre for thinking on this plane of existence as the discerner and the builder of the concept of soul in its three aspects: memory, understanding and will. Soul gives birth to spirit and seeks what is highest, best and sweetest. The spirit is the collector of the experiences of this life and every other life we may have known or may yet know, this spiritual knowledge informs the soul. The spirit is the pneuma, pneuma is the soul's breath. According to Tertullian, grace rides on the back of the Holy Spirit.

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins and not fo ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
1 John 2:1,2

The Apostle John was the son of Zebbedee and the brother of the Apostle James. Together they were known as The Boanerges, The Sons of Thunder, for their fiery style of preaching. John was the only apostle to die of natural causes and he was the one Jesus asked to look after his mother, Mary, upon his death. He authored the Book of John, three Epistles and the Book of Revelations.

The story of The Last Supper is a powerful one. In all of the accounts of The Last Supper, John is the only Apostle who tells us of Jesus' promise to send an advocate, a comforter, who would be with us forever when Jesus could no longer be a visible presence in the world.

"If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
John 14: 15-20

Jesus had gathered all of the people who were closest to him, people whom he had chosen and trusted, in an upper room for one last supper. He spoke openly to them and expressed foreknowledge of his betrayal by the hand of one of his disciples, identifying Judas, the keeper of the purse, as the traitor. He told them that he would be leaving them soon and that they would have to continue their work spreading the Word without his physical presence. He also warned them that if his accusers had written down what he had said, they would write down everything his apostles said too.

"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also."
John 15:20

He warned them of the risks they would face in persevering with his ministry.

"These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you sorrow has filled you heart."
John 16:1-6

His apostles were extremely upset and deeply grieved by this talk, fearing that they would be unable to carry on without him, deal with accusations, remember all of the teachings or carry on his work properly. He tried to calm and reassure them that there was nothing to worry about in that regard. The presence of the Holy Spirit would be with them, they would remember everything that he had preached and taught and they would know what to say and how to answer their accusers.

"These things I have spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John 14:25,26

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All the things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you."
John 16:13-15

Jesus would be gone to become our advocate with God - we ask Jesus for help, he asks God on our behalf - God dispatches the Holy Spirit, His advocate to us for assistance and comfort, and God grants our request. This could not occur until Jesus was crucified, fulfilling the prophecy of his preaching, and completing the external aspect of his life on Earth.

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying if any man thirst, let him come unto me a drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified."
John 7:37-39

"But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me; And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning."
John 15: 25-27

The Paraclete represents the mission of the Holy Spirit as the internal aspect of Jesus' life on Earth. The Paraclete's purpose would be: to continue to teach based on Jesus' wisdom: expand the wisdom of his teachings throughout the world; help the disciples to grow in understanding the truth as Jesus taught it; be a permanent presence in their lives, as opposed to the presence of Jesus which was taken away; and be invisible and inward. Like Jesus, the Paraclete came into the world through the Father; came in the name of the Father; would be with and in the disciples; did nothing on his own authority; and stands as a witness to the Father and the Son.

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.And when he is come, he shall reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgement because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now."
John 16:7-12

Jesus carried, and still carries, the gift of the Holy Spirit, his life was fully directed and influenced by the Holy Spirit from the moment of his conception. He paid the ultimate sacrifice to be an advocate for us with God. He fulfilled the prophecy by being the one who was the permanent carrier of the spirit and the one who pours the spirit onto all the world.

So much for thinking that Holy Spirit is the sacramental wine........

"The Spirit is the paraclete, the helper, the advocate, the comforter. He calls us forth with his dazzling fire and his howling wind; but he also encourages us and reassures us when we are discouraged and frightened. The Spirit calls us forth out of our narrow fears and our timid anxieties by stirring us up, by attracting us, and then by reassuring us when the fears and timidities reappear. And thus it is with any lover whose beloved is fearful and hesitant."
Andrew M. Greeley, from "The Great Mysteries: An Essential Catechism"

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This page was created April 28, 2002 and updated on December 3, 2006.