Tarot Card Meaning: The Hierophant
The hierophant is the supreme leader of religious realms. He sits on a throne between two Roman pillars, with a pillar-colored background behind him. He wears a three-tiered crown of gold reaching high into the Heavens. His robe is red, the color of life, and under that he wears white, the color of purity and blue (spirituality). His staff is a gold cross with three bars, symbolizing unity.
He gives a blessing with his right hand, while looking forward at not at the two identical monks at his feet, who wear robes of roses (magic) and blue flowers. At his feet are the keys to Heaven.
The Hierophant is an emperor of sorts, though his kingdom is a heavenly one, and his path to Heaven is based in laws, rules, study, and education. The monks at his feet study and contemplate the rules and laws as part of their devotion. It is throw the Hierophant, the representative of God on Earth, that they will pass to get into Heaven.
When the Hierophant shows up in a tarot card reading, it indicates where or how the client or querent gets a formal education, learns their cultural mores, conforms to the culture, and what formal belief system they may have. It also symbolizes how well the querent adheres to any of these.
The Hierophant indicates how the querent blends in or meets expectations, how it plays by the rules to rise through the ranks. The Hierophant is about conformity and the rewards of conformity. It can show not just where the querent is to conform, but where they expect conformity in others.
In a way, this card discourages individuality, but for the sake of something bigger than just the querent. It shows where the querent can subvert the ego in order to become part of something much bigger than itself.
It can also indicate a boss, authority figure, or institution that expects the querent to conform, give up individuality, and fall in line. It can indicate where the person is intolerance of difference, rebellion, or individuality.
The Hierophant doesn’t look at his loyal subjects but he knows they‘re there. This card can show where the querent simply expects loyalty and conformity because they have the power to withhold something that others want.
When The Hierophant is reversed, the institutions that it represents are either oppressive or rebelled against. It shows where institutions are so oppressive that loyalty or forced obedience destroys individuality. The querent is being warned to leave an oppressive situation and stop blindly following leaders that don’t care about them.
However, it can also indicate places where a person’s lack of order and discipline has caused chaos and isolation. Doing whatever is desired whenever one desires doesn’t always lead to happiness. This card shows the emptiness of rebelling for no reason.
On the other hand, it can indicate where the querent is too willing to conform to remain a member of the group, even when conforming hurts them.