5 – The Hierophant
Upright: Religion, group identification, conformity, tradition, beliefs
Reversed: Restriction, challenging the status quo
Hierophant Tarot Card Description:
The Hierophant is known as the High Priest in some decks. He is the masculine counterpart to the High Priestess. The Hierophant is ruled by Taurus. The Hierophant is represented by a religious figure, sitting within a formal church environment. He is wearing three elaborate vestments of his office that represent the three worlds. The crown he is wearing has three tiers to. His right hand is raised in approval, which is also the same hand the Magician has raised. While the Magician was taking raw power from the Universe and manifesting it on the material plane, the Hierophant channels that power through society (as in the religions of the world). The triple scepter is another symbol of his dominion over the three worlds. The crossed keys represent a balance between the conscious and subconscious minds and unlock the mysteries. Before him kneels two initiates. The Hierophant’s task is to bring the two into the church so that they can take up their appointed roles. This symbolizes entry into all types of institutions where there is a shared group identity. These could include schools, clubs, teams, companies and societies.
Upright Hierophant Tarot Card Meanings:
The Hierophant is very conventional and suggests that you have a desire to follow due process and to stay within the conventional bounds of what is typically a conventional approach. Instead of being original, you will need to adapt to the existing set of beliefs and systems that are already in place. You will need to do what is expected of you. The appearance of the Hierophant in a Tarot reading indicates that this is certainly not a time to challenge the status quo.
The Hierophant Tarot card suggests that you may be wise to follow established social structures and traditions. You may be involved in some sort of ritual, ceremony, or religion. There is also a need to honor some tradition in your life, or maybe start some traditions of your own if you have none. Consider also exploring your spiritual or religious heritage.
In Tarot readings, the Hierophant card often stands for institutions and their values. The Hierophant is a symbol of the need to conform to rules or fixed situations. His appearance can show that you are dealing with a force that is not original, free-spirited or individual but is instead fixated on the ‘way we have always done things around here’. Groups can be enriching or stifling depending on circumstances. Sometimes we need to follow a program or embrace tradition, while at other times we need to trust ourselves.
The Hierophant Tarot card indicates that you may feel compelled to join some sort of group or institution. This Tarot card is about identifying with a group and a way of thinking that will have benefit for you and will prompt further learning.
The Hierophant represents education and the pursuit of knowledge. This Tarot card can indicate a period of increased studying and learning, through formal mechanisms. The Hierophant may also appear in your life as a psychotherapist, a wise counselor, a priest, or a spiritual mentor to whom you will turn for wisdom and knowledge. He may be an authority or a kind and generous mentor who nurtures a spiritual awareness. You will learn new skills from this helpful teacher as he has the wisdom to provide good counsel and advice.
The Hierophant Tarot card represents an institutionalized means for accessing the sacred and is the carrier and transmitter of ancient wisdom and religious teaching. He represents a link between us and the Divine and, for this reason, he is often referred to as the Pope. The role of the Pope is traditionally that of the mediator between God and mankind. As such, the Hierophant represents the spiritual teacher who helps us come into contact with the Divine. Unlike the Magician, who simply points the way, the Hierophant is a trusted guide, one who will take us by the hand and lead us to our spiritual goal. He represents a gateway to a higher consciousness reached in a ritualized manner.
All things that are righteous and sacred come with the Hierophant Tarot card – marriage, alliance, mercy and goodness, inner conscience and outer conscience.
Reversed Hierophant Tarot Card Meanings:
The Hierophant reversed indicates that you are feeling restricted or constrained by structure and rules, and as a result, you have lost a lot of flexibility and control in your life. You have a strong desire to go against the grain and break free from convention. You may be tempted to go about your business in an unorthodox manner, to do something that is out of character or against social norms. The Hierophant reversed is about breaking the rules and challenging the status quo. You no longer accept the rigid structures, tradition and dogma surrounding you, and now seek out opportunities to rebel and retaliate. You want to challenge ideas and concepts that you once thought of as written in stone.
The reversed Hierophant is about questioning tradition and asking yourself whether what you are doing is really the right thing for you. Now you realize that perhaps things are not the way they seem and changes need to be made. The reversed Hierophant can sometimes reflect societal or group pressure. You are being forced to conform but you do not agree with the fundamental belief systems.