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V, The Hierophant

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on February 3, 2011 | Comments (4)

The fives in tarot, including the Hierophant, are about changes or disruptions. Many don’t see this in the Hierophant and consequently, it is a very misunderstood card.

We see a priest or pope teaching acolytes. We assume that he is controlling them, telling them what to do, in the same way that we assume the Emperor is bossing or controlling just because he can or for some other selfish purpose.

What is really going on here, the cause of the strive and uncomfortable feelings, is that this is the card where are our faith, our spiritual beliefs become translated into the mundane world. This is the card where we are asked to walk our talk. And as many of us don’t, or at least fall short of our own ideals, it is much more comfortable to blame others for creating impossibly high standards than to admit we are falling short.

In addition to be asked to walk our talk, in this card, we combine our individual belief with our spiritual community.

Translating the spiritual to the mundane and the personal to communal are both challenging and disruptive activities. There will likely be chaos until the relationship has been sorted.

card image from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti.

Reader Comments

Written By Helen
on February 3rd, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

This is a very good image of the Hierophant, it shows that no matter what ‘religion’ one follows the path leads to the same source. It’s a card that shows how one endeavours to translate that spiritual desire into the physical world. Tt relates to those inner desires we may have to raise ourselves above those conflicting needs that exist in us, in order to reach a higher level of understanding.

Written By Cathy
on February 8th, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

I always think of the Hierophant as representing tradition, whether it be religion, schools, government, whatever. The question is whether you will go along with tradition, chose an alternative path or make up your own.

I appreciate your idea of discomfort when translating the spiritual into the mundane. I can add this to the totality of the Hierophant when it comes up in future readings.

Written By Snowy
on February 10th, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

Seems like the Hierophant image is meant to be a spiritual teacher – and in the era when the RWS deck was made, the Pope or a Christian priest was a the most recognizable choice. Nowadays, an elder medicine woman or an Eastern guru would be just as understandable, and probably more comfortable to the average Pagan.


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