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When the Hierophant comes out in a reading, it represents tradition, ethics and education. The idea is to stick with methods that are tried and true for progress. This card is a reminder that there is security in following cultural and institutional norms.
People come together and create institutions like religions, corporations, governments, and cultures by establishing rules that reflect their collective core values. The guidance of the Hierophant is that you need to conform to the larger structure’s existing way of doing things.
Now is not the time to innovate or to stand out as an exception to the rule. To succeed under the auspices of an organized collective, you must adapt to its beliefs and systems. Follow the rules and exemplify the norm if you want to make progress.
The Hierophant Tarot Card Keywords and Facts
Before you understand the specific meaning, take a look at the keywords and phrases associated with our sixth Major Arcana Card.
|Upright Keywords||Tradition, institution, morality/ethics, education|
|Reversed Keywords||Progressive values, rebellion, subversion|
|Yes or No||Maybe|
The Hierophant Tarot Card Symbolism and Appearance
In a scene indicating formality, the Hierophant sits facing the reader. He wears a blue gown under a red and white robe. The blue represents the spiritual life, while the red and white represent our physical life and existence in time and space.
His right hand is raised in a sign of blessing, and in his left hand, he carries a triple cross traditional to the Pope. Reflecting the triple crown he wears, the three bars on the cross represent the father, son, and holy spirit. These are symbols of the Hierophant’s authority in the context of a religious organization.
There are two students, or acolytes, seated at the Hierophant’s feet. This refers to the passing of wisdom to people initiated in the ways of the institution. We are invited to gain an education when we dedicate ourselves to the values taught there.
Lastly, there are two keys crossed in the image, indicating that discipline and dedication will lead you to ultimate security.
The Hierophant Tarot Card Upright Meaning
When it appears upright, the Hierophant refers to authority earned by dedication to conventional practices. The message is that advancement is available when you observe the principles handed down to you. Authority can be achieved through education and disciplined practice.
Following well-established rules and policies can take a lot of the pressure off of a situation. Innovation has its place, but we stick with what we know will work because it works.
Adhere to the existing cultural construct. Stand out by being reliable. Pay the institution its respect and dues, and you will see your sense of security in life grow.
In a love reading, the Hierophant points to a traditional, conservative partnership. The point is to settle down with someone safe and reliable. A partnership represented by this card is seen as conventional and supported by culture.
If you are a person with strong religious, moral, or ethical convictions, this card reminds you to choose among potential partners that respect and share your point of view. A partner who doesn’t fit with your moral code because of some taboo or alternative way of being may drive a wedge between you and your family, friends, and life path.
In terms of an existing relationship, the Hierophant can come out as a reminder to treat your partner with loving respect according to your shared principles. In some cases, the card may point to a wedding officiant or a marriage blessing.
Health and Spirituality (Upright)
In a reading about health, the Hierophant refers to the authority of a medical professional. Listen to your doctor or nurse practitioner.
This card can also points to a spiritual teacher. The message is to be open to education. You may be drawn to dedicate yourself to a religious or sacred path.
Money and Career (Upright)
When the Hierophant shows up in a spread about money or career it means teamwork, mentorship, and financial safety. The idea is that you can have a life of abundance and security when you take the time to learn from others and work together.
If you’re concerned about keeping your money safe, the guidance from this card is to stick with established, traditional institutions. Choose a bank that has a long-standing reputation for conservative practices.
A new financial or career opportunity for you may not be well-timed. Even if it’s a business you know well, the Hierophant says making a change or taking on additional responsibilities may cause a problem. Don’t gamble with your future right now.
The appearance of this card can also indicate you will find success while working with a team. Our effectiveness as a group is seen as more important than our singular effect. Now is not the time to make waves.
Furthermore, the Hierophant is about education, institutions of learning and the benefit you can gain from dedicated training in a school or other educational program or with the help of a mentor.
The Hierophant Tarot Card Reversed Meaning
When the Hierophant shows up in reverse, it points to unconventional approaches and new attitudes. The meaning is that there may be some rebellion against traditions due to ignorance or a preference not to conform to tradition. This can arise when the conventional practice feels too restrictive or unfair.
Due to a sense of confinement, you may feel you have lost control and lost sight of your options and opportunities. The Hierophant reversed says you desire to break free from conventional practices that don’t reflect what you want for your life.
Temptation is a keyword with this card in reverse. What is taboo becomes attractive, and you are tempted to stray from the socially accepted path.
When the Hierophant reversed comes out in a love reading, it points to the breaking of a taboo or a partnership where the values of both people aren’t in alignment. The lesson is to acknowledge where you and your partner are incompatible or struggling with one another.
In love, it is essential to be on the same page in terms of the rules and guidance you follow. It’s hard to build a future with someone who doesn’t have similar goals to yours. Some compromise may be needed.
A reversal of the Hierophant can also show a partnership that has become stuck or dull. Perhaps you entered this arrangement because you wanted something calm and reliable, and now you’re suffering from too little stimulation.
Temptation is a keyword with this card in reverse. What is taboo becomes attractive, and you are tempted to stray from the tried and true path.
Health and Spirituality (Reversed)
In a health spread, the Hierophant shows up in reverse to indicate the need for a second opinion. Your condition may be beyond what your regular doctor can address. It’s possible that you’ll need to see a specialist for a more reliable diagnosis or treatment.
Spiritually speaking, it shows a lack of discipline or failing to adhere to a moral code. You have strayed from the path of ethics into lawlessness or fraudulent behavior. You may be projecting yourself to be an authority in something when you are not.
Money and Career (Reversed)
If you see the Hierophant reversed in a money or career reading, it stands for a stifling work environment. The message is to notice where the influence of bureaucracy or peer pressure may be putting a damper on your progress.
You may feel as though you aren’t allowed any creative freedom in your current position or that you lack opportunities for advancement. It’s possible the leadership isn’t progressive enough for you in that they don’t want to make any changes.
It can require some schmoozing or buttering up your workplace peers to make a difference. At the end of the day, though, you may wind up sacrificing creativity in the name of advancement and following some directives you don’t agree with.
The Hierophant in reverse, invites you to weigh your individuality against the need for acceptance and support. Can you stay put and also be true to your convictions?
The Hierophant Tarot Card Yes or No Meaning
In a “yes or no” tarot spread, the Hierophant is a firm “maybe.” This card gives a passing grade only to one who has learned from experience and become aligned with the prevailing authority. Rule breakers and rebels are rejected.
Important Card Combinations for the Hierophant Card
The Hierophant and the Three of Pentacles
The Three of Pentacles is a card that represents working collaboration. Together with the Hierophant, one can say specifically that this refers to the work you might do in the context of community.
Spirituality or religion may be involved, such as missionary work or officiated celebrations such as a wedding or funeral.
The Hierophant and Judgment
When Judgment and the Hierophant show up together, it points to politics. Whether by following the rules or by the grace of God, someone seeks to rise above the rank and file and be granted an opportunity to lead.
In politics, your adherence to the law is often as important as your adherence to a faith. Be aware of the possibility that certain activities may be perceived as hypocritical and, therefore, not aligned with the goals of your constituents.
The Hierophant and the Lovers
The Hierophant brings institutional formality to a spread. When paired with the Lovers, it clearly represents a wedding or some other commitment milestone.
It also points to the officiant of that celebration. This could be a church official, justice of the peace, a mayor, or anyone else with the authority to bless a union in the eyes of God or state.
The Hierophant and the Three of Cups
Similar to the last pairing, when the Hierophant comes out with the Three of Cups, it refers to a celebration. Whether this is about a wedding, a graduation, or your sweet sixteen, the party is officially on.
As you plan your celebration, there is a hint here to make sure everything is done “by the book.” Don’t make the mistake of inviting guests who will disturb the quality of your celebration with unauthorized antics.
The Hierophant and the Hanged Man
The Hanged Man takes an enforced pause to change his perspective and gain new understanding. In this context, the Hierophant represents a licensed therapist that uses professionally approved methods so that you can get the most out of this reflective period.
Psychological counseling can be a challenging but productive experience where you learn enough about yourself to transform into a kinder, more accepting person. When you see these two cards together, you know you can put your trust in an experienced counselor and reap the benefit.
The Hierophant and Ace of Wands
New or renewed faith is represented when you see the Hierophant with the Ace of Wands. A wish or prayer has been or will be answered, and it fills one with optimism.
Trust the courage of your convictions when you see these cards together. Your hopes and dreams are attainable.
The Hierophant and the Ten of Pentacles
The Ten of Pentacles is the supreme expression of material wealth, with a secure family, a nice home and a life of relative comfort and ease. When you pair this card with the Hierophant, the message is about an inheritance of resources, most likely from a family member.
The Hierophant shows up to formalize that security in terms of its material value so that it can be divided and paid out.
The Hierophant and Queen of Swords
Pairing the Hierophant with the Queen of Swords, we get a message about teaching in an official capacity. The Queen of Swords is a character with a sharp mind and specialized knowledge. An educator with authority has information to share.
This reading points you down a path of institutional learning, either as a teacher or a student. Often, as both.
The Hierophant Tarot Card in Numerology
Though it is the sixth card of the Major Arcana, the Hierophant’s number is five. This number represents liberty, transition, and the curious mind.
The number five accelerates your growth as you commit yourself to a path of material discipline, which in turn creates an environment for imagination and questioning. Personal and spiritual growth is the result.
Next Card: Tarot Card Number 6: The Lovers Meanings
Rider-Waite images used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT c. 1971 by U.S. Games Systems.