Whether you’re new to tarot or have been reading for a while, here’s some tarot interpretations and meanings for the Hierophant card.
In this post, we’ll look at:
- Keyword & Phrases Meanings of the Hierophant – Upright
- Keyword & Phrases Meanings of the Hierophant – Reversed
Let’s begin with the symbolism and interpretation of the Hierophant card.
Interpretation of The Hierophant Card
The Hierophant is often a card that many people have a difficult time connecting with, just like the Emperor.
The Hierophant is seen as a religious figure that for many people who have difficulty with organized religion and many of its teachings, it can seem that The Hierophant can be distant and judgemental.
The word Hierophant comes from late Latin derived from the Greek “Hieropantēs” combined from the word hieros meaning “sacred” and the word phainein meaning “show, reveal.”
This entails that The Hierophant is someone who reveals what is sacred.
While The High Priestess hides her secrets and the mysteries of her wisdom are hidden behind the curtain and in the scroll on her lap.
The Hierophant shows the knowledge that he has and teaches it openly.
The Hierophant is about order, structure, higher education and knowledge.
He keeps things in order based on what is ethically and morally acceptable in culture and/or society.
Most of the Western world is based on Christian belief, practice and teachings, that many laws are based on Christian principles and public holidays such as Christmas and Easter are centered around the Christian calendar.
The Hierophant’s teachings are ingrained in public society and in personal ethics, morals and what is considered acceptable.
However, when we see the Hierophant reversed in a tarot reading, we can expect to question what is expected of us.
When reversed, The Hierophant asks us to question what we’ve been taught, to challenge the “norms” of society.
Together with the energy of the reversal of The Hierophant, we may feel more inclined to break stereotypes and “rules” made by others to keep us in line or subservient.
While many people choose to practice spirituality privately and separate from organized religion, The Hierophant reminds us that there’s still some value in learning about historical teachings.
Next we’ll see how the astrological sign Taurus is connected to The Hierophant.
Astrology and The Hierophant Card
All the major and minor arcana cards are associated with the planets and signs.
The Hierophant is associated with Taurus in the astrological zodiac.
In ancient times before Moses, the Bull and Golden Calf were worshiped in forms of deities.
This was the Age of Taurus which ended when the Age of Aries began, then later became the Age of Pisces with the coming of Christ (with the symbolism of the fish.)*
Taurus is a fixed astrological sign, steadfast and sturdy, ruling the second house of money and possessions that give us security.
When it comes to faith, spirituality and/or religion, its purpose is somewhat to provide security and certainty in uncertain times.
Taurus is associated with Venus (which in tarot Venus is associated with The Empress.)
However, here Venus is less ethereal as she would be in Libra and is more down-to-earth and concerned with day-to-day matters of practicality and security.
Next we’ll look at how the number 5 in numerology is connected to the Hierophant.
Numerology and The Hierophant Card
The Hierophant is the number 5 in tarot, which the number 5 is considered in significant in religions such as Lutheranism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
There are 5 books in the Torah, 5 pillars of Islam and in the biblical story, it’s said that David gathered 5 stones to defeat the giant, Goliath.
The pentagram is also a five-pointed star representing the five elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit.
Humans have five fingers and toes – the number 5 connects humanity to the spiritual aspect.
This connection to the number 5 and The Hierophant certainly has a religious overtone considering A.E. Waite was a Christian mystic and Pamela Colman Smith was a Christian convert.
The number 5 brings change and something new to what is already stable.
It’s what brings the “spirit” or “breath of life” to something.
While the number 4 represents the four elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), the 5th element is added that being Spirit.
The number 5 is adventurous and spiritual, a combination of masculine and feminine, yet slightly more feminine.
Keyword & Phrases Meanings of the Hierophant Card – Upright
- Teachings from traditional / hierarchical viewpoints
- Organized religion / beliefs
- Orthodoxy or orthodox methods
- Marriage (institution of marriage from a personal spiritual or religious perspective) / This can also represent civil union or marriage in any spiritual or religious ceremony that has personal meaning.
- University / Post-secondary education / Ph.D. / Masters
- Obedience / Follow rules and regulations
- Societal expectations / what’s socially “acceptable” or considered “the norm” in terms of etiquette or lifestyle (which often may be based on personal/religious/spiritual/cultural beliefs – these may be what we feel society expects of us rather than what we personally believe)
- A priest, rabbi, imam or religious clergy
- A religious ceremony, ritual, class, study or school
- Spiritual fulfillment in a group setting, practicing with others, a spiritual or religious community to belong
- Mentor / mentee study in terms of educational or religious study
- Esoteric studies / knowledge / learning and/or study religious texts / scriptures
- Secret organizations / exclusive memberships
- Teacher or instructor (often using traditional methods or teachings)
Keyword & Phrases Meanings of the Hierophant Card – Reversed
- Going against societal “norms” or expectations
- Breaking the “rules” and stereotypes – being a rebel and going against the “norm”
- An unorthodox approach, method or belief system
- Excommunication or excluded from a group, circle or membership
- Corruption in a system, group, system, circle or membership
- Leaving a religious or structured group, membership or club
- Leaving, ending or discontinuing a higher educational institution, post-secondary school or program
- A disconnection and disapproval from what’s expected of the self and what the self believes, feels or wants (to behave, act, pretend or be a certain way)
- Rejection of expectations put upon the self based on upbringing, cultural, societal or religious beliefs of others.
- Something that’s morally unethical based on societal, religious or personal standards or code of ethics
- A solitary practitioner – no need for an intermediary to commune with the Divine
To know more about other tarot card meaning, be sure to check out other posts in the Learn Tarot series.
*source Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess by Demetra George, HarperOne Publishing, 1992.
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