Tarot opening is a well-known divination technique. We would all love to know what awaits us in the future; well, at least the majority would be happy to get some guidance in times to come. Could we change our destiny through divination? Of course not. It has all been set up many eons ago.
However, tarot readings could help us get to know our own fate better.
Tarot cards are archetypical images of ever-active forces that influence our lives in each of our existence’s aspects, at any point of time.
Tarot cards sometimes indicate events that have already took place, things that are happening right now and those that are about to come. In each of these moments, the archetypical forces require our attention.
These illustrated cards were not originally used for divination. They were intended for various card games, emerging in the late medieval Europe.
Their imagery, however, is full of mysterious symbolism. Over the course of time, they have become a common divination tool, although in some places they are still being used as playing cards.
The Hierophant Tarot Card Quick Facts
The Hierophant card, also known as The Pope or The High Priest, is the fifth card in the Major Arcana. Common tarot card decks count 78 cards in total, of which 22 trump cards, called Major Arcana and numbered from 0 to 21.
The remaining 56 cards form the Minor Arcana set, which could be further divided into four suits. The Hierophant is numbered 4, following The Emperor card and preceding The Lovers card.
This card, as its alternative names suggest, could be understood as the male counterpart of the Priestess, who could be taken as a female Papa. His role is similar to the Priestess, as he also connects the transcendental and the earthly domain. This is the first card on which we could see other human figures; more about it in the description of the card. Let us learn some quick facts about the Hierophant.
Key terms for The Hierophant tarot card: Traditional values, ethics, higher wisdom, faith, morality. The Hierophant is the guide to wisdom, the tutor, the master.
Key essential element of the Hierophant: Earth
Major Arcana numerical of The Hierophant card: 5
Astrological sign of the Hierophant: Taurus
Yes/No question for The Hierophant card: Maybe, neutral
Related to the card of: Temperance
Visual Description of The Hierophant Card
There are various designs of tarot card decks, with the Tarot de Marseille being the standard pattern. The Rider-Waite deck is the one we are taking into account, as it is the most widely used deck for tarot opening. Its imagery is of simple design, although each of the images is loaded with symbolical and allegorical meanings. Take a look into The Hierophant card. What do you see first?
The Hierophant is the central figure on the card, of course. He is depicted as a beardless man; it is hard to decide whether he was young or old. His divine role is immortal, since he is a mediator between the transcendental and the earthly domain; hence his face appears timeless. The red color dominate his robes, but there are also white and blue.
In harmony with his three-layered robes, the Hierophant wears a threefold crown. As we take him as the counterpart of the High Priestess, also associated with the unity of the three (she rules the heaven, the earth and waters), his three domains are different ones, but we could draw a parallel with those of the Priestess.
The Hierophant is the master of subconscious, the conscious and the super-conscious. He rules the spirit, the matter and the eternity, as a mediator between our tangible world and the divine. His hands are raised, each in a symbolic manner. The right hand gesture is that of a blessing. The left hand holds the staff with the cross with three horizontal bars.
The bars of his cross represent another Trinity, that of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Let us quickly remind you of another tarot figure holding his right hand raised in a similar fashion; yes, it is the Magician, the mystical mediator. Unlike the Magician, however, the Hierophant is enthroned. His position is strong, firmly established, traditional.
There are further similarities with the High Priestess card. The Hierophant is also seated between two pillars. The pillars in his hall, as well as his throne, are of the same color, white, made of stone. This tells about the structure, order, ultimate power. His open hands hide nothing, while the High Priestess is all mysterious.
The figure of Hierophant clearly dominates the whole card. Now, look at the lower part of the card. Here, for the first time in Major Arcana, we could notice two human figures. We could see only their tonsured heads and ornamented priest robes. Their position tells us they are paying respect to the Hierophant, ask him for guidance and blessing.
Right in front of his feet are two crossed keys, which you could immediately associate with papal insignia. Papal crossed keys are gold and silver, bound with a cord of red color. They represents keys to the Heavenly Kingdom.
Those on the card are both golden and crossed, without a cord. They represent the harmony of the conscious with the subconscious; the Hierophant harmonizes the two and brings them into stability.
The Hierophant Card Meaning Guide
I follow the path of faith.
We could take this mindset as the ultimate credo of the Hierophant. He is above the material domain, he governs the spiritual realm, connecting it with the earthly one. In that sense, he is above the Emperor, who governs the tangible world, through wisdom, practicality, authority of the father, strength and knowledge.
However, the Hierophant is father even to the Emperor, we could say. He represents the spiritual, but not as free and changeable as it could be the case with the High Priestess. The Hierophant, like the Pope, is about the religion, rather than simply being spiritual. Tradition, structure and divine hierarchy are of great importance to the Hierophant.
Ceremonies and rituals have to be followed and obeyed. In that sense, the Hierophant represents the firm authority, the religious teacher and guide. He provides people with hope into salvation that comes through traditional religious path. He, above all, follows the path.
The Hierophant is strongly associated with education, the religious one in the first place. He helps you see the connection between the world of godly and divine and the life we live here, in this place. If you ask him, the religion and cultural tradition should be the anchor of all human hope. The two are inseparable.
The Hierophant Card is associated with the initiation process as such. In a card opening, it does not have to be a spectacularly mystical initiation, but simply an entrance process into a certain group or a club. If you think more of it, all social groups require some form of initiation; even groups of friends you hang out with or a new job team. The membership always requires an initiation.
Thus, the Hierophant is the guide through an initiation process. The hierarchy and the ceremonies are extremely important to him. His path to the Heavenly Kingdom is ceremonial, very well structured.
There are rules and steps to be followed. While certain other figures mediate between domains of the abstract and the tangible in a lose fashion, the hierophant works through well established traditional forms.
Two clerics in front of the Hierophant are devotees. They seek for the word of guidance from the Hierophant, who is the only capable of introducing them to the domain of the divine, through a well-structured process. They are blessed to be his followers; it is not a burden to them, for he is the ultimate mentor, honorable and wise in his power.
The Hierophant – YES or NO
Do you know what are ’yes or no’ readings? This is a very simple tarot opening technique. If you have a straightforward question to ask, then ’yes or no’ would be a good choice.
It is also a nice way to start your tarot journey. This type of reading usually requires only one card to be pulled. The question should be simple and the answer one gets is yes, no or maybe.
The Hierophant card does not give a solid ’yes’ or straight ’no’ for answer; this is a NEUTRAL card, so the answer is MAYBE.
The Hierophant’s teacher role suggests one should seek an advice from a trustworthy person, someone reliable and wise, a mentor. It directs you towards further research upon the matter you are interested into. Search for authentic sources of knowledge, do not fall for simplified answers.
The Hierophant Card Upright Meaning
The meaning of a card pulled in a tarot opening depends on the position in which the card appears to the questioner. The upright Hierophant card, that is, upright from your angle of view, is a sign of guidance.
All the aforementioned characteristics and symbols of the card apply if it appears upright. It tells about the importance of following conventions and procedures.
Sometimes we think we are the most powerful beings in the universe and that we alone could take care of everything. That is not the case, even though we, of course, have power over our decisions and lives. The human world is structured according to the divine plan and you could notice norms, patterns and traditions around the world.
The Hierophant tells you to get familiar with your traditions and beliefs; they should give you roots, not suppress you in your growth and development. The rebellion against the rules might sound attractive at times, but it is not always the solution. Think carefully about it. The Hierophant represents belief system above all.
Rather than seeking ways to destroy the order, you should examine the values of a system. This card directs you towards mentorship, cooperation and guidance.
The Hierophant card indicates an inner need for spiritual guidance that could come from someone who is an expert when it comes to that. Such a person will help you discover your true beliefs and nurture them.
As this card is about traditional values that are bound with the religion, it is also a reminder of long lost family traditions and customs that have to be revived.
Therefore, the Hierophant is not about inventiveness, abandoning the old and leaving the tradition behind; it is exactly the opposite, as he sees the greatest value and hope in those.
The Hierophant Card Reversed Meaning
The reversed Hierophant represents everything the opposite of what was described above.
Such a position of this card is all about the openness, rebellion, breaking old ways, nonconformity, innovativeness and so on. It tells about a strong desire for rules to be broken, boundaries to be crossed and rewritten.
It tells about the feeling of being caged and limited by the existing order, by the beliefs and knowledge you have gained so far.
Therefore, you are eager to discover more, not only about what awaits you ahead, but you also want to re-question things you have been thought so far. This is a process of growth.
If you recall that The Hierophant card is neutral, this position could eventually lead you to the concept described in an upright Hierophant reading!
However, you clearly have to go through the phase of exploring your own limits and boundaries that have been set in front of you. There is a natural need for change in every human being.
You probably feel a bit rebellious, especially when it comes to established belief systems and traditions. You start wondering why is that so and who told it was the only right path to follow?
Most of the people face such questions sooner or later. This is your time to question all these things, if you have pulled a reversed Hierophant.
The Hierophant Tarot Card – Career Meaning
When it comes to career, the Hierophant could suggest different things, depending on the position. The upright card tells about entering a well-structured working environment; you will feel comfortable working in an organized team or trustworthy individuals.
On the other hand, it could also indicate a business that maintains traditional values; it could be a family business.
The Hierophant is also about mentorship and education, so it could also mean that you are on a good path to build up your career through learning, researching, but, most importantly, by following the established system.
Speaking of money spending, the Hierophant is conservative and the card suggest you should not waste money in vain.
The reversed card could suggest another path. In this case, you could achieve great success through innovation and experimenting. You should be careful about daring moves, of course. Even if you are not really inclined towards the traditional system, but towards novel ideas, you should still look for an advice from an expert.
The Hierophant Tarot Card – Love Meaning
The Hierophant card is an auspicious sign if seen in the context of romantic relationship. Being conservative and traditional, the Hierophant represents complete commitment, similarly to the Emperor.
The Hierophant tells that your relationship is literally what was supposed to be; you and your loving partner were born for each other. It is a higher form from carnal connection.
The love for the Hierophant is sacred, the institution of the family as well. Traditional values would play a great role in your love life. Therefore, if you are entering a relationship, speak about those with your partner.
The Hierophant in a love reading symbolizes full commitment, fidelity, honesty, trust, support, love until the death set you apart.
The Hierophant Tarot Card – Health Meaning
The Hierophant has some clear directions when it comes to health issues. Do not challenge the destiny and fall for unchecked healing practices, but visit a doctor, if you feel any problems that interfere with your daily life. This has to do with trust; the trust is the pillar of the Hierophant. People tend to ’follow their own way’ and get astray from the established norms.
To some point, it is refreshing and useful. However, when it comes to overall well-being, one should trust an expert.
The upright Hierophant does not question such authority; the reversed does. So, the meaning depends on the position. If it was reversed, you should find an alternative solution. This is only an advice.
The Hierophant Combined
The alternative meaning of tarot cards unfolds when we see them in combination with other cards from the deck. Combined, tarot cards form specific meanings.
Let us give you several good examples of The Hierophant card combined with others. Here are the meanings.
- The Hierophant and The High Priestess: Following the rules
- The Hierophant and The Emperor: Blind following the laws
- The Hierophant and The Six of Wands: Seeking for justice
- The Hierophant and The Four of Cups: Disappointment regarding love life
- The Hierophant and The Ace of Swords: Receiving a reward
- The Hierophant and The Ten of Pentacles: The birth of a male child
Astrology and The Hierophant
The Hierophant is associated with the element of Earth, as he is a representative of the Divinity on earth, a role befitting the highest of priests. He teaches us the divine way in our earthly realm, helping us discover our own path to the divinity.
The two clerics kneeling before the Hierophant are his pupils, just as all of us should be.
The Hierophant Zodiac Sign
The zodiac sign associated with the Hierophant is Taurus. Taurus main traits are stability, stoicism and practicality.
Taurus is also very materialistic and very physical. The Hierophant is a bridge between the spiritual and the material.
Numerology and The Hierophant
The number of The Hierophant card in the Major Arcana is 5. Number 5 is a bond between the physical existence and the archetypical mystery of numbers.
It is the number that embodies four essential elements binding them by one, which is the spirit, the soul.