Learning Tarot: The Hierophant

Element: Earth
Planet: Venus
Astrological Sign: Taurus
Numerology: 5
Timing: Taurus, April 20 – May 20, Winter, and possibly Waning Moon
Hebrew Letter: Vav
Crystals: Jade, Topaz
Herbs: Lemon, Sweet Pea, Lavender, Violet

Keywords: Tradition, Convention, Institutions, Concealment, Deception, Conformity

Reversed Keywords: Nonconformity, Unorthodox, Outside The Box, Existentialist

The Hierophant Tarot Card

The Hierophant is the archetype of education, organized religion and institutions. The Hierophant is also the guide to the world of humans and the spiritual world. The word Hierophant comes from the Greek word ‘hierophantes’ which means ‘one who shows or brings the light.

Often in today’s society, we associate conformity with selling out as if the compromise to fit into the box, whatever that box is, has to do with being weak, afraid of what other’s think or how one will be seen. The Hierophant holds the energetic of conformity, but there is an element of strategy and control to this. There is power and seeming accessible and safe and predictable. Once in the box, there is a power to seeming like the rest, while still holding the kind of information that gives one power.

In this case, the box that the Hierophant is conforming to is a holy one where the authority that comes is from on high or the Divine. The dark side of conforming to this group or this particular box is the tendency to judge those outside of it, particularly if those judged had chosen to not conform at all.

There is also a very paternalistic energetic to this card. Different than the Emperor in that there is an aestheticism towards education and knowledge gathering, but very much in the sense that that knowledge might be withheld ‘for your own good’. It’s an enabling type energy that never facilitates the full freedom and health of the other person even though the intention might be to protect the other from harm or from knowing too much.

This card is a fine line to walk in many respects. There is knowledge and power and it can be used to enlighten or oppress. The responsibility on the shoulders of Hierophant is a big one and it can be at once something to rebel against or something to wield for the powers of good or bad.

History Of The Hierophant

It is said that the Hierophant card was inspired by Pope Clement V who persecuted and allowed the execution of the Knights Templar for straying from the purview of the church in power.


Deck Used:  Rider Waite Tarot

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