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Deck Creator’s Keywords: mentor, working within the system
Carrie’s Keywords: societal structures,
belief systems, instructor
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The Hierophant Tarot Card Meanings in the Wild Unknown
A crow (or perhaps a raven) is perched upon a key. His beak is open as if he is preaching to us. He seems to have a lot to say! His wings and feathers are ruffled, giving him an air of restlessness. He is unable to relax until he has delivered answers and implemented systems.
To me, the key symbolizes the systems, structures and answers that the Hierophant values so highly. He believes he has THE key – the one thing that will unlock what we all need. But will this key really unlock the universal answers? The Hierophant seems to be convinced that it will. He may not have considered the possibility that we each have our own individual ‘keys’ to our own truth.
A jagged stream of orange and yellow descends from the sky, culminating at a point as it enters the key. These are the colors of vitality and knowledge. This symbolizes the power bestowed upon the key. It is charged with energy from a higher plane. The Hierophant wants to teach us things, and he has faith that his teachings are infused with ultimate knowledge.
The background of the card is filled with thick vertical lines. This stands out as a contrast to the horizontal lines we saw in the Fool, and the spiraling lines of the Magician. The vertical lines convey a heavier energy, there is a sense of rigidity and weight. This is a card of structure, tradition and order.
The Hierophant can symbolize not only organized religion, but schools, businesses, and any kind of societal structure. At his best, the Hierophant brings forth passion-infused teachings and order. At his worst, he becomes convinced that he has the one and only answer, refusing to see other possibilities.
The Hierophant Tarot Card Meanings in General
In many decks the Hierophant is represented by a priest or other religious figure, and in older decks this card was simply titled Le Pape (the Pope). But this card is not just about religion, it is about any sort of group identity. The Hierophant is related to educational systems, political affiliations, and any other philosophical ideologies.
This card sometimes receives a negative connotation for its association with belief systems that are forced upon, but in a positive sense this card reminds us of our power to define our own belief systems. This card can even be associated with mystical or occult belief systems. In fact, it was an influential tarot practitioner named Antoine Court de Gebelin who retitled this card from the Pope to the Hierophant, as the title “hierophant” relates to mystical ancient Greek rituals.
On the shadow side, the Hierophant can speak to conformity and hive mind. Humans are naturally wired to form communities and going against society’s belief systems can be scary or even dangerous. But at its best, the Hierophant shows that group identities can be helpful. We can learn from the right authority figures, and participating in traditions and rituals can help us cultivate our individual sense of self. The Hierophant energy is at its best when it is not about forcing beliefs, but about leading us deeper into our own authentic beliefs.
In a reading
When the Hierophant appears, it may be useful to consider your relationship with societal authority figures. Would it be beneficial for you to engage in ritual or learn from an expert? Or on the other hand, is your individuality being stifled by the pressure to follow the crowd?
This card can also ask you to revisit your own belief systems. Our pre-determined thoughts and viewpoints are always influencing us, and this influence often takes place on an unconscious level. In a reading, this card may be asking you to bring a conscious awareness to how your beliefs are influencing your experience of reality.