The Hierophant Tarot Card Meanings (Upright & Reversed)
Last Updated: February 28, 2023
The Hierophant is card number 5 (V) in modern cartomantic tarot decks and the 6th major arcana trump card (The Fool, number 0, is the first card). Divination practices such as cartomancy can help us make decisions, offer guidance, and help us tune into our intuition when we are at a crossroads in our lives. Understanding the meanings of each tarot card can help you sharpen your interpretative skills so you can get the most out of your readings.
The Hierophant is also known as the High Priest, opposing the High Priestess, or the Pope (in the Marseille Tarot for example). For many tarotists, this card represents authority like that of the High Priestess, but an authority that comes from external sources rather than her internal wisdom. He has studied extensively and his knowledge is recognised by the institution – hence the link to a clerical figure.
The Hierophant is generally shown sitting on a throne representing his power and status. You can see two figures in front of him, representing those receiving his knowledge and guidance. He has one hand pointing to the sky, to show the link between heaven and earth, the macro and the micro – much like The Magician card. With this gesture, he is not only reminding his audience of this relationship, but also he is physically symbolising the bridge between the two, as someone who holds sacred knowledge and who passes it on.
In this article, we will explore the different meanings of the Hierophant Tarot card in various reading contexts as well as the different advice it can offer you.
4 Quick takeaways about this tarot card
- The Hierophant is all about tradition, religion, and conformity.
- The Hierophant can represent a need to conform to societal norms or expectations.
- The Hierophant can also signify teaching, sharing knowledge and wisdom.
- Finally, the Hierophant can represent a need for spiritual guidance.
The Hierophant tarot card key correspondences
Tradition, Knowledge, Education, Institutions
Unconventionality, Rebellion, Innovation, Ignorance
|Yes or No|
Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter due to it’s correspondences
Light aspect: The Teacher, the Virgin / Shadow aspect: The Oppressor, The Engineer
August 23rd to September 21st
Hermes, Osiris, Apis
Le Pape (Tarot de Marseille), and The Master of the Mysteries (Egyptian Tarot).
What does the upright Hierophant (taror card V) mean?
In Latin, major arcana translates to “big secrets” and each of the 22 cards in this section of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck represents an important life lesson we must all face at some point. The Hierophant, arcanum 5, is no different.
When The Hierophant appears in a reading, you are reminded that sometimes tradition is such because it works, in the sense that it provides the structure and framework necessary to the situation. It’s advising you to stick to existing rules and conventions right now, the time for innovations isn’t quite yet! It’s also heavily linked to spiritual and/or religious practices, so maybe this area of your life is coming into focus at the moment.
When pulled in the upright position, The Hierophant is associated with tradition, knowledge, education, and institutions.
What does the upright Hierophant mean in a love reading?
Drawing The Hierophant during a love and relationships spread can indicate a secure, safe, traditional love, one that doesn’t upset the status quo, one that fits in with society’s expectations and representations of what love is. This can also have to do with a relationship that centres on a form of spirituality or education, one where you will be learning together.
The Hierophant represents a figure of wisdom, so this could speak to a need to find that figure for your relationship, like a couples therapist or a podcast on that subject.
What does the upright Hierophant mean in a career reading?
In a career tarot spread, this card can point to success in workgroups, in your education, through study groups or mentorships for example. The fact that The Hierophant is a figure of wisdom can indicate that finding someone with more experience or hierarchy than you to help you reach your goals can be a positive thing for you right now.
The focus on group effort rather than individual drive is strong with this card, this can indicate that now is a great time for collaborations. Its link to education can be a suggestion to work on a particular skill right now, through a group class or simply by finding resources online!
Moneywise, this card can indicate that you should be focused on keeping your money safe in traditional spaces and institutions. The Hierophant’s advice here is to avoid gambling or investing in new ventures or ways of managing money that has yet to prove their efficiency.
What does the upright Hierophant mean in a health reading?
Healthwise, this can be an invitation to visit your doctor – a figure of wisdom and authority inside the institution that is Medicine. This speaks to the traditional approach to health, outside of “alternative” healing methods, so maybe book yourself in for a check-up! This can also be an indication that there is still much to be learnt and understood about health – we’re not saying to WebMD diagnose yourself with brain cancer, but maybe spend some time reading up about a health condition that affects you or a loved one, to help you gain more clarity and insight. Knowledge is power!
The Hierophant card as feelings
“Tried and tested” can be a good thing, “don’t fix it if it’s not broken”, etc. This card is tied to “common sense” – The Hierophant is associated with the zodiac sign Taurus, a fixed earth sign. Fixed means that it is solid and reliable in its permanence and the Earth element relates to all tangible, concrete things in life.
The Hierophant represents an older, wiser figure of a certain authority – not the kind of authority that makes you do things, like The Emperor, but one that counsels and guides you. Listen to what your sensible friend has to say about this – or maybe your nan.
The Hierophant reversal meanings
When reversed, this card’s meaning is clear – now is the time to turn the rules upside down! You’re being called to innovate in an unconventional way, and to disregard tradition. The other cards in a spread can give you more information about the area of your life where this form of rebellion is needed, or what can help you with this. It’s time to unlearn what you’ve been taught and to trust yourself to be your own authority figure in your life.
When pulled in the upright position, The Hierophant is associated with unconventionality, rebellion, innovation, and ignorance
What does the reverse Hierophant mean in a love reading?
Drawing the upside-down Hierophant during a love tarot spread can indicate that the stability of this relationship is starting to feel stale and boring. How can you switch things up? Alternatively, this can speak to different spiritual or religious values: are these differences irredeemable? Can a compromise be found?
What does the inverted Hierophant mean in a career reading?
Maybe you’re feeling the weight of tradition and convention in regards to your work at the moment, or maybe you’re hyper-aware of who’s in charge and who you have to obey right now. Either way, you’re feeling stifled. Try to find some outlet outside of work to explore your need for out of the box thinking, or maybe think about a career change where you have more decision making power. Financially, this could be a good time to explore different and new approaches – maybe look into NFTs? I mean actually understanding what they are is a good start, right?
What does the upside-down Hierophant mean in a health reading?
This could be an indication that you’ve fallen off some kind of wagon – The Hierophant being associated with Taurus, and Venus, it can mean all sorts of excesses, to do with your diet, or drugs and alcohol. How can you find more structure and a healthy routine?
How to use the Hierophant card in your Spellwork
The Hierophant is a great card to work with when you’re doing spell work to help boost your study capacities!
Whether you have exams coming up, a big presentation at work that you need to master, or you’d simply like some help in furthering your witchcraft studies, The Hierophant can help. Spend some time sitting with your card and meditating on what it would feel like to fully embody the stable, wise energy of The Hierophant. Either diffuse the essential oil or burn some rosemary, as the smell of it has been proven to help enhance memory.
Light a green or white candle in front of your card, concentrate on the smell of the rosemary, and take five deep belly breaths while repeating to yourself out loud or in your head: “I embody The Hierophant’s energy, I am wise and knowledgeable, I am strong and stable, I can do this”, five times, between each breath.
Leave the candlelit as you study and feel yourself flow with The Hierophant’s powerful energy!
The Hierophant symbolism with archetype psychology
The Hierophant represents the archetype of the Institution, the whole collection of rules and conventions that are associated with a structured field of human experience. This is why he is shown as a religious figure – for a Pope, a Priest, a Rabbi or an Imam are roles that hold in them the duality of being a human person that embodies their religious institution.
To speak to a priest is to speak to the Church, and as such, The Hierophant is more than a man, he represents the whole of spirituality and traditions.
A Poem to remember the upright meanings
Poems can be a good way to remember information because they often use rhyme and rhythm, which can make them easier to memorize.
Additionally, poems often use vivid imagery and figurative language, which can help to make the information more interesting and engaging.
The Hierophant, a gateway to the divine
A teacher and mentor, a symbol so fine
Standing tall, with a calm, gentle grace
A spiritual guide, to show us the way
A connection to something much higher
A spiritual voice, a magical fire
A link between the earthly and divine
The Hierophant card, so wise and so kind
A symbol of tradition, of knowledge and wisdom
Of faith and belief, of learning and freedom
The Hierophant card, a key to the past
A blessing and guidance, that is sure to last
A Poem to remember the reversal meanings
The Hierophant reversed, a sign of non-conformity,
A challenge to tradition, from the chaos we see.
It’s a call to break away, and to go our own way,
For a chaotic future, let’s toss the old away.
It’s time to break the rules, and create our own fate,
To explore and be creative, and to never hesitate.
To make our own decisions, and set our own pace,
For a brighter future, let’s rid of the old ways.
The Hierophant reversed, it’s time to change the game,
To break away from the past, and no longer be the same.
For a world of progress, let’s rebel and rise,
And take control of our fate, with courage and surprise.
In conclusion, the Hierophant tarot card is a powerful symbol of tradition, knowledge, education, and institutions. When this card appears in your reading, it is often a sign that you need to add some structure to your life in order to overcome an obstacle. Stick to what you know because it works.
Despite its association with mysticism and occultism, the tarot has grown to become much more than a simple “fortune-telling” tool. For many tarot readers, it is a complex system made of symbolic imagery and psychological considerations (Jungian archetypes for example) that can be used for self-exploration, meditation, and personal transformation.
The 22 major arcana cards each correspond to different aspects of the human experience that are universal. They represent the different stages of the “hero’s journey”: our biggest challenges and life lessons, as well as our highest aspirations and greatest potential.
Have you ever had a reading where The Hierophant card appeared? What was the outcome? What does The Hierophant mean to you personally? How do you interpret this card in your own tarot practice? Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below.
If you want to know more about the different tarot cards, feel free to check out our complete list of all 78 tarot cards and their meanings.
Written By Daisy Forrest
Daisy Forrest is a queer, neurodivergant witch, astrologer and writer based in France. She is a qualified workshop organizer and space holder, who’s currently merging her passion for IFS therapy and astrology into her signature coaching offering called Selves. She’s on a journey to heal generational trauma through astrology, tarot, witchcraft, therapy and manifestation. You can find her writing about these themes on Instagram @Daisy Forrest, or on her website daisyforrest.com
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