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The Meaning of
"The Hierophant" Tarot Card

Tradition
What has worked before works equally well now. History holds many answers. Some rules simply cannot be broken. An adherence to tradition, old rules, the cycles of nature and the most fundamental truths.

[ inverted meaning ]
Bad advice is given. Rebellion and non-conformism. A break from a cycle. A line is crossed. A liar.

Advanced tarot interpretation

(Applies to the upright position) The Symbolism of the Tarot Card:

Two well-dressed supplicants contemplate a papal figure in a worshipful attitude. The Hierophant sports a large, opulent crown. He holds up two fingers of one of his hands in benediction of his worshippers, and in his other hand he holds a long scepter topped by a triple cross. His fur-lined robes are adorned with crosses, as are his slippers. Below his feet are two crossed keys. As the High Priestess he is contained between two pillars, but these are two stone pillars of an actual church rather than two pillars of a mythical temple.

The Meaning of the Tarot Card:

The Hierophant is the outward expression of the divine, the embodiment of all of man's interpretations of the divine. Before this deck, this card was commonly called "The Pope", but it was thought that this was too narrow a definition for this card. The word Hierophant derives from Ancient Greece, where it was the title of the Head Priest of one of the more popular cults of the day, the Eleusinian Mysteries. It means one that brings worshippers into the presence of that which is Holy. In this way, unlike the Pope, the Hierophant himself is not claiming holiness, but rather he is teaching and guiding others along the path to holiness. Tradition and education in the ways of society and religion are inherent in this card. The two supplicants before the Hierophant are learning at his feet, hoping to gain access to the same knowledge which has put him upon his throne. His keys are the keys which unlock spiritual knowledge, the keys to understanding divine grace. He is not holding the keys, they are merely at his feet, ready for anyone to pick up and use. His crosier is a powerful symbol of the Trinity, whose power he holds in his hands, either to dispense blessing or to rain down judgment on the heads of the sinful. Tradition and a solid background serve the individual well. The appearance of this card represents powerful assistance from the forces of society and tradition - a hand up will be given from a very wise teacher. The ability to use the power of spirit for the good of man with benevolence and grace.

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