Tarot Cards – The Hierophant

Tablet of Contents on This Enchanted Page

 730 Lifetime Visits for This Realm,  2 Wizards Have Been Here Today

Affirmation: ‘I balance my spiritual and physical needs by making time for myself.’

Ruling Planet: Venus

Ruling Zodiac: Taurus

Kabbalistic Letter: Vav

Path on the Tree of Life: Hokhmah (Wisdom) to Chesed (Mercy)

Stones: Blue Topaz & Celestite

Key words: Spiritual, religion, tradition

Image: The Hierophant is also identified as “The High Priest,” the fifth card of the Major Arcana. The Hierophant or pope is the holy leader. Two servants sit at his feet waiting for instructions. The crossed keys can represent the keys with which to open the door of opportunity. Portraying this card is a religious person. It represents a teacher, counselor or mentor which may be in the form of the society, schools, companies, and religious organizations. When The Hierophant appears in a reading, it indicates having a belief system, learning a religious tradition or following a discipline. A man stands in a darkened temple room, dressed in his ceremonial robes, performing some act of initiation. He is clearly very senior in the order to which he is a member. It is as though he is telling us something, possibly revealing to us some mystical passwords or signs, through which we will make ourselves known to other members of the order. He stands as though giving a speech, almost as if the speech itself were a liturgy or had to be remembered by heart. On either side of the Hierophant stand two pillars, one representing the masculine or celestial regions, the other the feminine or terrestrial.


‘I am the Hierophant and it is my honour to officiate at your initiation. Today we are able to welcome you into our order and bestow upon you the blessing which that membership entails. Never forget that your commitment to us shall be binding for as long as you shall live and that you will be bound by the decisions which we shall take. Entrusted to you now are the mystical signs, seals and secrets which you shall know us by, in particular, the crossed keys which you see before you. Together they represent the master-disciple relationship; the silver key represents your own desire for knowledge, the golden key represents that which your Master can open for you. And the two conjoined together represent your desire for knowledge and that of your Master linking together. I particularly commend to you a study of our ancient traditions, for in them you will find the answers to your questions; in particular, how you may lead a happy and fulfilled life.


Around you there are many influences at work, only some of which may be apparent from your present perspective. Now is the time for you to make whatever compromises are necessary in order to be able to continue in your present direction. In ancient times, the Hierophant was the master of ceremonies and thus was the original forerunner of the Masonic tradition, the spiritual tradition through which the ancient mysteries were handed down despite years of religious intolerance and persecution. The basic meaning of this card is that now is a point in your life when you are ready to say to the world, ‘Here I am’ and the reply of the world will be, ‘And here is the effect of all the causes, good, bad and indifferent, which you have made in the period leading up to now.’ The presence of this card is suggesting that your life has been a rather eccentric one – and probably always will be. But at this point you will increasingly see that even those who you have assumed to be very orthodox or conventional have actually led similar lives, beneath the surface level of immediately visible reality. You are about to receive an initiation into the way in which the world works – remember, even in some of the trying experiences that lie ahead, that you are surrounded by friends and allies who, for reasons of their own, prefer to remain in the background ready to be of help if needed, rather than be so openly identified with your position. The Hierophant was the ‘Chairman’ as it were of the Magical Order of the Golden Dawn, a semi-Masonic order set up around the end of the last century to enact symbolic journeys of its members through the doorways and pathways of the Tree of Life. The Hierophant would have to learn long speeches by heart which would then be recited in front of the new members; set-piece speeches in which he would go on about the significance of the cube, or Star of David, or the journey of the soul into the astral plane. He would pass on to the new member ‘keys’ of magical value – sometimes they would be angelic names, or things they could do to enhance their own magical powers in one way or another. Some of these spells would have to do with invisibility, or knowledge, or protection. So it was really a school that he was responsible for running. This school attracted many members of the intelligentsia, including a number of writers, historians and professors, as well as members of ‘high’ society, even as far up as the House of Lords. So, you can see that this card really has a lot to do with hierarchy, structure, traditions and so on. These days mystical knowledge is a lot more freely available than it was in the age when the church and its own form of orthodoxy had a much stronger grip over what got published and what was freely discussed in polite society. So, these days, the appeal of small esoteric societies has waned, as people are now able to get insight into their lives from a much wider range of spiritual practices than ever before. Another aspect of the Hierophant is the relevance of initiation. In some societies around the world, the male members of the tribe have to go through some kind of initiation in which they are led out into the forest or desert for a certain period and left to face their own fears. The Hierophant is he who leads through the pathway of initiations such as these. They would always be regarded as symbolic turning-points for those concerned, and after being taken, there was no going back to the more juvenile states which preceded them. They always marked the divide between man and boy, woman and girl. In a sense, the ritual of marriage is an initiation in itself, in its original form, as it would originally mark the development of the married couple from childhood innocence to adulthood. In every religion, there are rituals to mark the symbolic passing of the soul through each of its major lifetime landmarks. The rite of a funeral is, in a sense, another example of this. The Hierophant card touches upon all of these other areas as well.


The Hierophant card represents the importance of learning, tradition, and routine. This card will appear in a reading to remind you to take counsel of those you trust most before making major decisions. Furthermore, it will remind you to value those people whose counsel you utterly trust. The Hierophant encourages the following of established traditions, but he also accepts that there is a limitation in tradition that some cannot withstand. For those individuals, this card represents what may stand in your way to success. For those who accept and embrace tradition, this card represents the beginning of your journey to self-actualization. A time when teachers – or just teaching – will be coming into your life. But they cannot force their way in. You will get from them what you are able to receive. Be open, be receptive. It may also be a time when life will be bringing new people into your world and asking you to take the responsibility of teaching them about the things which you have learnt. A time when that which has been hidden from you for a long time becomes open. But respect for what you now find open is going to be important.

Reversed Meaning

In reverse, the Hierophant signifies what happens when tradition goes out the window: chaos, rebellion, and free-flow of wisdom. While this situation may sound entirely beneficial to some, structure in the sharing of wisdom is much preferred to free-flow, and systems are more effective when they’re in place than they are when they’re in ruins. Watch out for rejection or a shifting in values. In upside-down position, the card implies resistance against the rules. For example, it may be at the point where the querent no longer believes the teachings of the church so he wants to quit attending there or that he may be in the verge of resigning from his job. Moreover, this may also portend a scandal that may happen due to immoral practices which can be a cause to expel the person symbolized by The Hierophant from the organization or group he belongs in.


Builders, masons. Establishment. Ethics. Responsibilities. Traditionalists, in both positive and negative associations.


Continuity. Tolerance. Standards. Principles. Charitable acts.


Conspiracy. Secrets. Crimes concealed. Black-listing. Judgemental. Conformist.

Numerology with The Hierophant

The Meaning of 5

The Number 5 is said to represent both health and crisis in health. It is the same number as there are points on a star, which relates to the pentagram (associated with selflessness and goodness) and the pentacle (its inverse, associated with self-focus and variability). 5 is a divine number that reveals a transformation will come; however, it also demonstrates the extremes of that transformation potential.