Yes, I knowâ¦everyoneâs most favorite card, right?
Here is the image of the classic RWS Hierophant next to the image from the Tarot of the New Vision (a deck that shows the cards from behind the traditional image):
The High Priestess easily transitioned from the Popess to her current incarnation and is, consequently, one of the cards that most readers relate to. Death often gets changed to Transformation. And even when it doesnât, many readers are quick to diminish the negative and potentially scary aspects of this card: âIt really means change, not physical death!â When the 10 of Swords shows up, we try to shift our querentâs focus to the rising sun in the background.
But not so with the Hierophant. When I discuss this card with my colleagues, their reactions are generally strong and negative. It is understandable. Many of us come to tarot after having bad experiences in organized religion, and a card called The Hierophant and looking like the Pope cannot help but evoke those feelings.
This month, weâre going to discuss The Hierophant, reflect on our feelings about it, look at how our feelings may get in the way of broader concepts and appreciation, and consider if and, if so, how The Hierophant needs to evolve as a tarot archetype.
This month will be all Hierophant all the time. Stick with me. It’s going to be really interesting. I promise.
Each Tuesday and Thursday, Iâll post different images of The Hierophant also known as Key V. Some images will be more traditional and some will be variations, with different names and images. For each one, weâll consider how it is similar or different from traditional images, whether or not it âworks,â and how it might change our interpretation if it came up in a reading.
I know all my readers will play nice. Because people react so strongly, letâs all be mindful of the feelings and opinions of others. Our goal here is to share, further our understanding of ourselves, others, and this card, and to grow.
Here are some questions to get the discussion started:
- What is your initial response when The Hierophant turns up?
- How do you interpret it in a reading for yourself?
- How do you interpret it in a reading for someone else?
- Does your feeling or interpretation change if using a deck that depicts The Hierophant as something other than a pope or renames the card?
- How does your primary reading deck or current favorite deck portray or name this card?