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Symbols - What does heaven look like

Bishop

Johann Otto von Gemmingen (B of Augsburg 1591-98)                                   "A Bishop Saint" by Fra Angelico.

 

Both an actual Bishop and the Bishop in chess are the same symbolically as Hierophants.

Or should be.

But what is interesting is, how much the role has degraded over time.  If we take as an example, the staff the bishop holds.  This was originally intended to be the same as the Shepherd's crook.  It certainly does not now and possibly has not for hundreds of years fulfilled that symbolic meaning, any more than the Bishop is in any sense a Shepherd.

They are these days preachers in moral law, a far cry fom the original symbolic meaning.

And then we have the Bishop's hat.  A clever construct which the Christian church will tell you is symbolic of the Holy ghost, but if we take a look at the Bible there is nowhere any description of a holy ghost looking like two horns turned sideways

Luke 3:22  and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

So we have a hat that is a hat with the Twin horns, but turned in such a way that the congregation are denied this view.  So what does this tell us?  It may be saying, your access to this form of spiritual experience is denied.  It could also be a form of insult to the belief in the existence of the two tunnels. 

Not all bishops used this approach, some tried to maintain the knowledge of the twin horns and twin tunnels by dividing their hat with braid or ribbon.  But the hat tells all.

The cloak is an attempt to imply the person has wings or that they are not really a hierophant at all, much more  a hermitSkull caps have their own symbolism.

Observations

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