Card 5: The Hierophant


In Numerology: 5
Star Sign or Planet: Taurus
Yes or No answer: This card says Maybe
Key dates: April 20 – May 21

The Hierophant in an Upright Position

This card in an upright position shows organized religion and conventional spirituality that follows actual teachings as opposed to intuitive insights. There is education and higher learning when the upright Hierophant is near. He is an advisor, either spiritual, academic, or otherwise and can represent the counsellor within oneself or the counsellor we consult to ensure we are on the right path toward enlightenment. He is morally strong and has his eye set on teaching his pupils the workings of  religion and life. Earthbound, the Hierophant finds comfort in helping out the subjects of God’s kingdom and keeping your spirituality remain intact. The Hierophant shows tradition and following what those who came before us followed in order to attain spiritual understanding of the highest grade. Being of sound judge is helpful and important to mastering one’s spiritual self.

There is a thread of conformity, and even dogma, to everything the Hierophant does, and the querent is advised to adhere to the rules of his teachings when this card appears in a spread. There are undercurrents of social structure and religious hierarchy. The Hierophant speaks to that part of the querent that understands the need for stoic study and worship as opposed to fiery and passionate excitement over learnings. The equality shown by the pairs of items show balance and the need for balance in everything the querent does is vital to his success on his path. The keys beneath his feet show the keys to heaven and the keys to life: all secrets that the Hierophant is willing to share through parables and liturgy. This card can represent preachers, bishops, monks, and ministers. It can also signify a mentor, counsellor, therapist, philosopher, or one who spreads ideas through careful instruction and study. Conservatism.

The Hierophant in a Reversed Position

The reversal of the Hierophant shows where the querent’s attitude has shifted; he is no longer willing to stick to his teachings and has become rebellious. His thinking has turned, and the querent has leanings towards unorthodox thoughts and ideas that fly in the face of convention. The querent or someone around him has become more liberal in his opinions, and thus, more accepting of others who wish to share original and bold ideas that were once considered dangerous. The chains of dogma have been shed, and the querent is able to live according to his own rules instead of those cast onto him by his religion. This reversal shows challenging of old ideas, religious biases, and of authority figures who wish to keep their subjects under their thumb in the name of order. One may find themselves second-guessing their abilities when out in public. Whether this is due to a fear of rejection or a need to please is unclear, but there is restlessness when sharing theories and philosophies with peers. Sharing of ideas happens when the Hierophant is reversed, and some spiritual leaders are concerned about ideas that are dangerous about our counter intuitive. This is especially true when you are trying to avoid being brainwashed by organized religions.

The inverted Hierophant shows ideas that have been upset, particularly those that are tied to religion or conformity. The conservative Hierophant is tested and must remain in his throne although it is hanging upside down. His triple crown may fall from his head, showing that new ideas may cause the old ways and beliefs to give way. This may be necessary in order   for the querent to learn about his true path as it allows for free study of whatever one wishes as opposed to one-track minds that would prefer to preserve the status quo. The Hierophant can also represent a fall from grace of sorts that happens when the mystery of magic is revealed and the ideas of religion are disturbed by free-thought or when they are manipulated into not wanting to go to church. This card in its reversed position invites  the querent to ask questions of his spiritual teachers about his faith, meaning that questioning of one’s faith is the graduation from beginner to novice in the world of organized and unincorporated religion.

Symbolism and History of the Hierophant

The Hierophant is very much like the priest. Here, we see the Hierophant illustrated as the pope. He is seated on his own throne, which is supposed to be like the throne to the kingdom of Heaven. He wears a crown displaying the holy trinity displaying the three aspects of men: father, son, and holy spirit. This card shows the Hierophant making a gesture with his hand. This shows his scholarly nature in all things spiritual, and there may or may not be keys at his feet. There may also be a set of two monks, or low level priests, kneeling at his feet, possibly in prayer. He is dressed in ceremonial clothing with crosses going down the front, showing his patronage of organized religion.

This card is numbered five, which is ironic, considering that there seems to be two of everything: two monks, two fingers in the symbol, two pillars, and two keys. The pairs of things show equilibrium and that in religion there is great equilibrium. He may have a cross in his one hand that shows the highest authority in the church and connectedness with God. His face shows a neutral expression and he displays a regal air of spiritual authority. This is where the fool comes to understand organized religion, education, and philosophies he has not heard before.

Key Terms

Religion, Constraints, Conservative, Invisibility, Questions, Structure, Faith, Initiation, Magic, Seeker of truth, Gnosticism, Spiritual power, Reverence.

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