The Hierophant card can be a little tricky for some people to understand in the Tarot – let’s look at the reasons why!
In most Tarot decks, we see a religious or spiritual-looking figure sitting upon a throne, not too dissimilar to the Emperor who precedes the Hierophant in the Major Arcana. However, they may look similar and stand right next to each other in the deck, but they are very different.
The Emperor represents masculine energy, power, and prestige in a very earthly manner. The Hierophant represents social structure, education, and, ultimately, a connection with a Higher Power.
As such, the Hierophant is a very spiritual Tarot card, and its appearance in a reading can tell us a lot. Let’s learn more about it.
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What Does the Hierophant Card Mean?
The meaning of the Hierophant in a Tarot reading varies but usually falls into one of the following categories:
- Someone in your life is a mentor, and you are the student (or vice versa).
- Tradition and conformity.
- Learning and study.
- Religious, spiritual, or cultural belief systems.
- Being committed to a cause.
- Marriage or commitment.
The Hierophant is the fifth card in the Major Arcana. In numerology, 5 is the number that indicates a lot of energy, which can be a struggle to channel efficiently and productively; it is the number that represents an unwillingness to conform completely.
The Hierophant Tarot card is strongly associated with conforming, following the rules, and playing by the book. It represents the barriers between the physical world and the spiritual world and the struggle that many must go through when choosing to follow the crowd or break away from it.
This is an excellent Tarot card for a mentor and a student and indicates that deep and meaningful learning is underway.
The Hierophant often appears in a reading when someone is questioning the conventions of their own life and embarking on a quest for spiritual study.
What Does the Hierophant Card Mean in Love & Relationships?
The Hierophant card can have several meanings in a relationship reading.
As feelings for someone, the Hierophant card indicates a desire to settle down and conform to a traditional relationship role. Hence the Hierophant is often associated with marriage and long-term relationships.
This Tarot card can highlight restrictions in your relationship or obstacles you face to pair up with someone. The Hierophant is a card that appears when someone must choose between what is socially acceptable and what isn’t, or what is acceptable in a relationship between two people and what isn’t.
In a relationship reading, it can also indicate the need to bring values and tradition into your romantic life.
What Does the Hierophant Card Mean in a Career Reading?
The Hierophant in a career reading often points towards some sort of teaching or mentor role.
This is a good Tarot card for those seeking a career in teaching, education, the spiritual/religious sector, and roles with a clear hierarchy, such as the corporate sector. This Tarot card can also signify carrying on a family business as it is a card of tradition and values.
What About the Hierophant as an Obstacle?
As an obstacle Tarot card, the Hierophant is often about choosing between convention and the unconventional.
This is something that almost everyone faces at some point in their lives. Do you go with what is expected of you? Or do you do what you want to do, no matter what anyone else says?
The Hierophant Tarot card’s deeper meaning is that breaking away from what is old and known paves the way for growth in other ways.
As an obstacle, the Hierophant can also indicate difficulty in learning and absorbing the information you are taught. In such cases, it is usually because there is something about the learning that is not resonating deep inside you, and it is a good idea to do some self-analysis to see why that may be.
Interested in a career reading? Make sure to try out our free 3-card Tarot career reading.
What About the Hierophant in Reverse?
In its most negative light, the Hierophant card can be dogmatic and intolerant to others’ beliefs (a bit like a reversed Knight of Swords).
This can be seen in religious or spiritual movements which demand their followers rigidly follow the rules and beliefs or pay the price for it; it can be seen in educational institutions where the mentor demands the student thinks exactly as he does and does not encourage original or creative thinking; it can be seen in political establishments where freedom of individuality or expression is suppressed.
This is the Hierophant card in reverse, where the Hierophant’s upright qualities of teaching, spiritual guidance, and wise counsel are distorted and perverted somehow.
On an individual level, a reversed Hierophant card can be very positive.
It indicates breaking away from the status quo and becoming your own teacher. There is rebellion in a reversed Hierophant, highlighting a strong-willed character who is not afraid to stand out from the crowd. It shows going against the grain and breaking away from normality and traditions and doing things your own way – marching to the beat of your own drum, as it were!
The Hierophant reversed can show a desire to take learning into your own hands and break away from traditional teaching methods. This famous quote by George Bernard Shaw sums it up very well:
“My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching but prevented me from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself.”
How to Make the Hierophant Card Work For You
Remember that the Hierophant is a card of learning, teaching, wisdom, and guidance, so when you are dealing with any issue in life that surrounds this, the Hierophant is a good Tarot card to help you through it!
You can meditate on the Hierophant card, and the crystals selenite and amethyst are both great for tapping into your own inner wisdom. The Hierophant is a good card to help you connect to your spiritual wisdom. Combined with these crystals, you will find the process much easier.
Pay close attention to the context surrounding your Hierophant card in a reading. It has various meanings attached, and other cards provide a clue for how it works for you.
For example, if your Hierophant card has the 5 of Swords next to it, this can indicate that there is someone in your life who is making you feel inferior using what is perceived to be superior knowledge, and you may feel that mentally you are being defeated in some way.
A Hierophant with a 10 of Pentacles may show that you are carrying on family business and working hard towards reaching your goals.
Use the Hierophant Tarot Card to Your Advantage
There is no denying that we are in a time of great spiritual learning. Each soul is going through its own journey, and we are all learning and experiencing things at different rates.
We can really appreciate the wisdom and guidance of the Hierophant, who helps us understand tradition, social structure, and our own personal spiritual paths. At the same time, we must be wary of the reversed Hierophant, which can be intolerant and condemn individuality.
The Hierophant is a deeply spiritual card and enables us to explore the connection between the spirit world and the physical world; when we can dive into this world at a deeper level, we inevitably explore the depths of ourselves.