The Hierophant

The Hierophant Tarot Card Meaning

Stina Garbis

The Hierophant tarot card also known as The Pope or The High Priest is card number 5 in the Fool’s journey of the Major Arcana and represents the astrological sign of Taurus. The word “Hierophantes” comes from the Ancients Greeks and means, “the displayer of holy things”.  He was a Greek priest of the Elusinian mystery religion.  This card represents the Holy One, the most high, and the leader of organized religion. In the Rider Waite deck, he is wearing a triple crown also known as the papal tiara which represents the triple power of the Pope, being the father of kings, the governor of the world and the Vicar of Christ. In his left hand he is holding the scepter of the triple cross which is also known as the papal cross representing the holy trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. He is making a blessing sign with his right hand with two fingers pointing to heaven and two pointing to hell, as he is the one that bridges that gap. There are the two crossed keys of Simon Peter or the keys of heaven at his feet.  There are two ministers below him, adopting his message, one wearing roses and the other wearing lilies signifying the combination of the physical and spiritual worlds.

The Hierophant is the well learned, chosen one and religious guru who makes all the rules, holds the keys to truth, and assumes a greater than man position. In order to come to God you must go through him.  In some senses, the Hierophant is the person that you want to confer with, and ask for advice, after all, he is wise and all knowing and has a direct line to God. But in other circles, this may also be the person you want to avoid because who wants to deal with all of the rules and the constraints of organized religion and following the path of one instead of the path of many. This card represents conformity to the extreme. You must obey the law, God, the church’s rules and his rules. He is God’s law. He is the male counterpart to the High Priestess and is an outward expression of the divine, where as she represents the mystery and keeper of the secrets of the unknown. He teaches the secrets to those who pay the price.  With the Hierophant, all can come to him and learn from him, if you do exactly what he says and pay your dues.

Tarotoo card

When you get this card it normally means that you are about to get your act together, get in line, and follow the rules of loyalty and obedience to someone who is in a higher position than you. This could mean that you’re about to get a job that is a regular 9 to 5.  It can mean blind faith, or conversion to a certain set of ideals which are not your own. It can indicate learning and education of traditions. It can be a teacher or one who advises. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are the follower as it could mean that you will be adopting a more traditional career where you impart your wisdom on others and also enforce the rules.  Sometimes this card means that you’re about to get a job for a religious organization like a hospital or a university that takes its name after a saint.

In relationships: It can also indicate a marriage. The Hierophant is the one that conducts the marriage ceremony of the Empress and Emperor, (Major Arcana cards 3 and 4) which allows them to be The Lovers (card 6). This is a commitment you make in public in front of your friends, family and God, where you have to learn how to compromise and be loyal and obedient to your partner.

Following the rules can be very good. It is good for the mind and the body to have a steady routine and to be humble, admitting that we aren’t the only show in town and that there is something greater in this universe than us to be in awe of. Just like monks and nuns, as they intersperse their working days with prayer, we can chose to live in step with the Divine and devote our lives to service of something bigger. But not everybody wants to follow the same routine, or the lessons of one guy or one specific religion. Some people may want to march to their own drummer, and choose to have a personal relationship to their higher power.  The Hierophant to them could represent being chained to something that they don’t want to be chained to, like an outdated religious idea that was forced upon them as children. Organized religion can work for the masses, but it does not work for everyone and in the Age of Aquarius many different ideas of what is Holy exists. We all have the power to be the guru or to believe what we want to believe.

Reversed meaning: Reversed this card can represent being casted out of society or religion, being excommunicated. Choosing to not follow the rules. It may mean that you are going to be unfaithful, act out of line or that you may lose favor with those that are above you. It can also represent you going against the grain on purpose and going against the establishment of traditional values.  It can mean you are going to quit your job or get a divorce and break your vows of loyalty.

Yes / no meaning: When it comes to this card answering a yes or no question it depends upon the question. If you’re asking if you’re about to get a job or get into a serious relationship, then it would be a resounding yes. But if your desire is to break free from society’s chains, and say quit your job or break up with someone then this card is saying no, not yet, you’ll have to stay a while.