Today we’ll cover the meaning of The Hierophant tarot card. This is a part of a deep dive series on the tarot.
The Hierophant tarot card: a religious figure; The High Priestess’s male counterpart. In some Tarot decks, he is known as the Pope or the Teacher, and he is controlled by Taurus.
Let’s explore the various meanings and interpretations of The Hierophant tarot card.
Classical Hierophant Tarot Interpretation
The classical meaning of The Hierophant can be seen in the Rider-Waite deck.
The Hierophant is a religious character who sits between two pillars of a holy temple, albeit this temple is not the same as the one in which the High Priestess sits. He wears three robes – red, blue, and white – and a three-tiered crown, each of which reflects the three realms he reigns over (the conscious, subconscious and super-conscious).
His right hand is raised in benediction, a gesture of blessing — the same hand that the Magician has lifted. In his other hand, he holds a triple cross, which is typically connected with the Pope.
Two followers kneel in front of him. The Hierophant’s goal is to pass on his spiritual understanding and introduce the two into the church so that they might fulfill their tasks.
Upright The Hierophant Meaning
The upright Hierophant has a straightforward meaning:
The upright Hierophant represents conventional wisdom, ancient traditions, and religious/spiritual values The Hierophant signifies teaching from a deep knowledge base.
The Hierophant can symbolize a spiritual or religious adviser such as a priest, rabbi, or monk, or it can represent a counsellor or mentor who will supply you with knowledge and advice.
Seeing him in a reading gives you the opportunity to take on such a role yourself. Career-wise now is an excellent time to get involved in a group or team projects as a leader. You will be successful if you perform what is expected of you and shun unusual tactics at work.
You may be drawn to partners who are safe, conventional, and well-liked in your society while avoiding companions who take alternative approaches to life.
Commit to a purely spiritual practice without modification, adaptation, or rule-bending. Create a regular practice if you’ve been lacking in ritual and tradition. Consider researching your spiritual or religious roots.
The meaning is easy to remember by just reading some of the upright card keywords off of the symbols:
- Hierophant = spiritual advisor
- Followers = teaching or leading
- Temple = religion or spirituality
- Triple cross = ancient traditions
The upright Hierophant encourages us not to upset the order around us and sticking to the tried-and-true road. With so many uncertainties in the workplace, it may be best to play it safe for the time being.
This card may also indicate that group cooperation, rather than individualism, is more vital at this time.
As a person, the Hierophant signifies a teacher of tradition. Before you may develop your own belief systems and make your own choices, The Hierophant advises you to acquire the essential principles from a reliable source.
The classical meaning of the card should be easy to remember.
Reversed The Hierophant Meaning
Reversed, The Hierophant has the opposite meaning:
The Hierophant’s reversal is an indication to defy convention. The old traditions no longer apply. The reversed Hierophant means: Follow your own inner path.
When the Hierophant is inverted, it might represent an uncommon way of life or an alternate way of existence. Alternatively, it may signal that you are frantically clinging to old methods to your cost, or it may indicate that you are experiencing emotions of guilt and shame as a result of behaving in a way that contradicts the principles you were raised with.
When the Hierophant appears inverted in a career situation, it might represent a boss or someone in a position of power who forces others to comply with their way of doing things.
You may have to toe the line with this person if they have a lot of power, but you will be unhappy and your work environment will seem constrained.
A reversed Hierophant might signal that your relationship has gotten stale or monotonous. You may have started the relationship because it appeared sensible, but it might get boring if you don’t infuse some extra excitement.
When it comes to common ideals and building a future together, the inverted Hierophant love meaning might signal that your perspectives do not always agree. This does not have to be a deal breaker, but it may necessitate some flexibility.
The Hierophant Reversed tells you that you are the one who is in charge of your own education. All of the insight you seek comes from the inside, not from an outside source or authority.
Instead of mindlessly following others’ spiritual belief systems, you are being led to forge your own path and adopt your own.
It may seem disconcerting at first as you forge your own path, but you will eventually learn to trust yourself and tap into your inner wisdom. Others may question your intentions for deviating from convention, but you know deep down that this is the moment.
I always like to examine other, modern decks to see what can be read into their symbolism.
The reason for this is that every person will have different decks, and so it’s good to learn how to go with your gut on what you see. This is the best way to have a good interpretation for the moment.
Too many people stick to a learned reading instead of going with the flow. Remember, each reading, deck, person, position, and question is different. Reading the cards is an art, not a science.
We’ll use a different deck for every one of these. Today’s is the mind-bogglingly good Prisma Visions tarot by James R Eads (if you’re into the abstract).
As you see, Eads puts Taurus front and center, emphasizing the astrological interpretation over the religious one. This turns the meaning into a very closely related one:
The Hierophant/Taurus has the capacity to look at things from a grounded, practical, and realistic standpoint. They find it simple to generate money and stay on the same projects for years, or until they are finished.
What we often perceive as stubbornness can actually be interpreted as commitment, and their ability to complete tasks no matter what is astounding.
The Hierophant holds a key. He can unlock the ancient wisdom inside of you if you are willing to put in the effort. Instead of holding a triple cross, it seems he’s holding some type of scroll.
This means you should put in the study needed to progress. It isn’t going to come from blindly following religion. The religious traditions have the answers you seek, but turn to the source material and contemplate it deeply.
The Hierophant Tarot in Context
Context matters a lot when reading the cards. Here are some particularly strong things to look out for when the Hierophant appears in these contexts.
- Past: You come from a strict religious or conventional background.
- Present: You now have the opportunity to take on a teaching role from your accumulated knowledge if you wish.
- Future: You will cast off your non-conventional ways for a more traditional way of life.
For other types of readings:
- Hobbies: Consider hobbies for spiritual growth.
- Love: The new and exciting no longer cut it. The safe, conventional choice will give you the stability to achieve your goals.
- Work: Work inside the system and lead a group.
- Finance: Stop looking to get rich quickly. Conventional savings plans are the way to success.
Back to the Major Arcana list.