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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: high priest


Hierophant: One of the trumps of the Major Arcana of the tarot. Numbered V. In the system of Eliphas Levi, it corresponds to the Hebrew letter Heh. In the system of the Golden Dawn, The Hierophant corresponds to the Hebrew letter Vav and the astrological sign of Taurus.

Hierophant: An officer of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. When the temple is set up for Neophytes, the Hierophant (Greek for “initiating priest”) sits in the East, represents the dawning Light, and is the main ritual officer. When a woman holds this office she is called the Hierophatria or Hieropantissa.

High Priest:

A male Witch who, often with a High Priestess, is the leader of a coven. In traditional covens, to achieve this level requires extensive training and experience. In covens that have a three-degree system, a High Priest will have been initiated into the third degree. It is often abbreviated as HP.


The 5th Major Arcanum of the Tarot

Image: Pope or other major religious leader

Hebrew letter: Vav

Divinatory meaning: Authority, Wisdom, Spirituality

Path on the Tree of Life: 16th path connecting Yesod to Tiphareth.

Qabalistic Description. The 5th Key, the 16th Path. Magus of the Eternal Gods. This Path connects Chesed (Mercy) with Chokmah (Wisdom). The primary function of the Hierophant is to tie together the Great Above to that which is Below. The Hierophant is also the Great Teacher of the Mysteries, bringing understanding as the link between sensory experience and inner illumination. Vav means the nail, binding things together.

Card Description.  The Hierophant as High Priest is the counterpart of the High Priestess. As Aries is the house of Mars and the exaltation of the Sun, so Taurus is the house of Venus and the exaltation of the Moon. He is the reflective or mystical aspect of the masculine. He is the thinker as the Emperor is the doer.

His colors unlike those of the Emperor vary considerably. Red, orange, maroon, deep brown, and chestnut brown, suggest veiled thought, interior power, endurance, contemplation and reconciliation. This card frequently indicates the hidden guardianship of the Masters.

Interpretation. Divine wisdom, occult wisdom, manifestation, explanation, teaching. The Hierophant differs from, though resembling in some respects, the meaning of The Magician, The Prophet, and The Lovers.

Psychological Value. You may use this Arcanum when you are eager to act, but have not yet figured out what your true heart’s desire is, or when you are wasting your efforts on things you don’t need, instead of focusing on your truest desires. It helps you develop generosity, sincerity, justice, tact, courtesy and refinement, as well as your sense of order and organization. It can help you to understand how to best present yourself socially. (According to the Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis—Divinity: Zeus;  Greek Letter: Upsilon.)

source: Llewellyn's Complete Book of Psychic Empowerment, by Carl Llewellyn Weschcke & Joe H. Slate (Llewellyn Publications) - Carl Llewellyn Weschcke

Also See: PopeHigh PriestJupiter


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