Tarot The Heirophant


getting an education
pursuing knowledge
becoming informed
increasing understanding
studying and learning
seeking a deeper meaning
finding out more

having a belief system
sharing a cultural heritage
learning a religious tradition
honoring ritual and ceremony
identifying a world view
following a discipline
knowing where to put your faith

following the rules
taking an orthodox approach
staying within conventional bounds
adapting to the system
fitting in
going along with the program
doing what's expected
being part of the Establishment

identifying with a group
being committed to a cause
devoting energy to a group
joining an organization
working as part of a team
feeling loyal to others
being in an institutionalized setting

OPPOSING CARDS: Some Possibilities

Fool - being "crazy" and unorthodox
Lovers - personal beliefs
Two of Wands - diverging from the crowd, being a pioneer
Seven of Swords - being a lone wolf
Two of Pentacles - being flexible, changing with the times

REINFORCING CARDS: Some Possibilities

Emperor - following rules
Three of Cups - focusing on the group
Three of Pentacles - working in a team or group
Eight of Pentacles - learning, studying
Ten of Pentacles - conforming, following rules, conservative


Except in rare cases, every human grows and develops within a culture. We learn by living with others. The Hierophant represents such official learning, especially in groups. A Hierophant is someone who interprets secret knowledge. On Card 5 we see a religious figure in a formal church setting. He is wearing the elaborate vestments of his office. His task is to bring the two initiates into the church so they can take up their appointed roles.

Besides churches, there are schools, clubs, teams, companies, and societies. The Hierophant represents all of these because his realm is structured groups with rules and assigned roles. Such environments emphasize belief systems - facts, rules, procedures, and ritual. Members are rewarded for following conventions. They develop a group identity. The Hierophant is one of three cards that focuses on the group. (The 3 of Cups and the 3 of Pentacles are the others.)

In readings, the Hierophant often represents learning with experts or knowledgeable teachers. This card also stands for institutions and their values. The Hierophant is a symbol of the need to conform to rules or fixed situations. His appearance in a reading can show that you are struggling with a force that is not innovative, free-spirited or individual. Groups can be enriching or stifling, depending on circumstances. Sometimes we need to follow a program or embrace tradition, other times, we need to trust ourselves.

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