The Hierophant Tarot Card Meanings

Pamela Coleman Smith, 1909

The Hierophant Keywords: Tradition, Conformity, Orthodoxy, Institutions

The Hierophant Tarot Card Description

Key 5: The Hierophant is a religious figure in a position of authority in an established church. He sits in a temple between two pillars reminiscent of, but quite different from the High Priestess. One of the names sometimes given to this card is the Pope. The Hierophant is dressed in the vestments of a Pope. He wears a papal tiara, also called a triregnum, triple tiara or triple crown. Popes wore a three-tiered crown from the 14th century until 1963. There are crossed keys at his feet. If you’d like to read more on the symbolism of the crossed keys, is an excellent article on them. Both the triple crown and the crossed keys appear on the coat of arms of the Holy See and also on the coats of arms of many popes. He holds a triple papal cross in his left hand and his right hand is raised in a gesture of benediction. Two tonsured monks kneel at the Hierophant’s feet. They are being indoctrinated into the established church. One wears vestments decorated with red roses (desire and passion) and one with white lilies (purity).

What The Hierophant Means In A Tarot Reading

The Hierophant is embedded in tradition. He shares the knowledge and traditions that have been formed over centuries of orthodox religious teaching. He represents education and initiation into the institution of the established church. While the High Priestess represents an inner spirituality, the Hierophant teaches the tenets of an outer, exoteric spirituality. An understanding of both of these forms of spirituality will enable us to move forward to Key VI, the Lovers, allowing us to make informed choices.

In readings, the Hierophant can indicate that you will be conforming to tradition. You may be participating in a group activity, society, or club, with its own particular rules and regulations. Or perhaps you’re dealing with, or working for an institution, where there is an emphasis on working to established norms. Like the Hierophant, you may be an expert in your field, mentoring and guiding those less experienced than yourself. Or perhaps you’re being guided by an expert.

Working and participating with groups and teams can be very enriching, however, there is always a danger in these group settings, or when dealing with an institution, that you feel bound by the rules and regulations. While an understanding of tradition can provide valuable insights and can help you to make informed decisions, it’s important to remember that you have free will. You can make your own choices and decisions, based on your own observations. Group settings can be oppressive and stifling if you feel pressured to conform. You can learn from tried and tested traditions and regulations, but then you should feel free to express yourself spiritually and creatively according to your own wisdom. You may feel pressure to conform to what society, or your family and friends, expect of you. Perhaps you seek their approval. However, while making everyone else happy and being accepted into the group may make you feel better in the short term, denying your own path will never bring you long term happiness and fulfilment. If the group you wish to be part of cannot accept you as you are, then is it the group for you?

It may also be the case that it’s you that is pressuring others to conform – that you disapprove of those who don’t conform and who don’t ‘fit in’. In this case you need to ask yourself if you really have all the answers. There are many paths to happiness and enlightenment and it’s up to each individual to find their own way.

The Hierophant Love and Relationships Tarot Meaning

The Hierophant suggests a relationship based on traditional values. The ruling sign Taurus indicates a practical relationship, which is financially stable.

The Hierophant Career Tarot Meaning

The Hierophant can represent working as part of a team, perhaps for a large institution. This can feel stable and predictable. However, there is likely to be an attitude of ‘this is how it has always been done’. You may feel pressure to conform to expectations, or perhaps you will be the one to break the mould.

The Hierophant Correspondences & Attributions